How to be the Smartest Person in the Field or the Room

March 25, 2014

After spending a day and a half at the Western Corn Belt 2014 Precision Ag Conference, I’m pretty sure farming is more complex than rocket science.

What do you need to master?

Drainage. Drought. Genetics. Weed resistance. Variable rate application. Multi-hybrid planting. Yield monitoring. Soil nutrition. And drones.

The only sensible response is to ask for assistance. Agronomists, consultants, extension agents and representatives from many companies are available to guide growers. But some farmers don’t like the feeling that they’re giving up control or needing help.

It’s a lot like agrimarketing.

The sheer quantity of considerations and variables can be mind-boggling. To market successfully, you need to master branding. Positioning. Price points. Competitive analysis. Market share. Strategy. Creative. Media. Demographics. Psychographics. And the influence of the Web on everything else.

Again, the only way to make sense of marketing is to ask for assistance. As professional communicators, we have the experience to cut through to the key issues in short order.

But, like farmers, some business operators and marketing department executives don’t like the feeling that they’re giving up control or needing help.

Several leading business writers have said, “Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself.” Farmers, marketers, managers – all of us – would do well to heed this advice.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It doesn’t mean you can’t be the all-star of the team. It just means you’re smart.

The truth is that when you surround yourself with people who know more than you do about farming or marketing or anything else, you’ll learn from them. You’ll appear smarter yourself. And you’ll achieve more success.