It does seem quite obvious that people skills are a key requirement in growing a business.
But some people seem to have an innate ability to do deals and still get on well with people simultaneously, and as a result, they are able to expand and grow their business.
A farmer friend of mine recently reminded me of some people who were well-known to both of us, who possessed excellent people skills.
Some of their stories go back 20 years or more, and some are more recent, but they all had the same common thread of being good at deal-making and relationship building.
One of these people was a fierce negotiator in almost every transaction. I was on the other end of these deals at times. Negotiations were always conducted with a sense of humour and once the agreement was reached, it was always adhered to.
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This person is unfortunately no longer with us, but the family agribusiness is still going strong, and has substantially grown in size as a result of these deals. We all remember this person with great fondness.
Another agribusiness owner I know has employed many people across the years, after literally starting from nothing 30 years ago, and has achieved everything on his own.
He had some ups and downs along the way, but a driving passion and strong work ethic have got him to where he is now.
This person has a history of doing what look to be obscure deals, but there is always method in his madness. He is happy to take a few steps backwards to make giant leaps forward.
Quite a few of these deals have been as a result of driving about, seeing something interesting out in someone's paddock, jumping the fence, and striking up a conversation.
To him it seems quite normal, but to most people I know, that would be outside their comfort zone.
Another situation my mate reminded of was the farmers that are relentless deal-makers.
Having good people skills will become more and more important.
Again, they build good relationships with those they are dealing with along the way. I suspect this is because they are so open with what they are trying to achieve.
There seems to be a level of trust, as the other party doesn't have to second-guess what they are after, and the whole situation is quite transparent.
These farmers are constantly out and about at clearing sales and other places and, as a result, seem to be in the know before most others when it comes to leasing or buying opportunities. They also seem to have no trouble in attracting quality staff to work for them.
For some businesses, it has been a natural progression from having people skills to growing the business.
In other cases, I believe it has been quite intentional, with a longer-term, fully-articulated business plan acting as the catalyst for growth.
In the latter example, sometimes the people skills have had to be learnt, and this then turned into a factor leading the growth of the business.
As consolidation within the agribusiness sector continues unabated, having good people skills will become more and more important.
Those that get this right will surely prosper.
- Details: bagshawagricconsulting.com.au
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