Who do you trust?
We all have a level of trust within our immediate family. We have a level of trust with our business partners. We have a level of trust within our best and most long-term friendships. We also have trust in our doctors or pastors. But do you trust all of the people with whom you do business? Do you trust your veterinarian? Your feed supplier? Packer? Trucker? Risk management company? The list is endless. I recently attended a seminar where a speaker focused on the concept of trust. He said, “A lack of trust is your biggest expense.” Not too many years ago, a farm business had gross sales in the few hundred thousand to a couple million. Now, farms have expanded and gross sales have risen to the tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Family operations have changed immensely to accommodate their growth and the risks have become huge based on the dollar volume. I have heard many people in our industry say, “This is not fun anymore.” Or they ask, “I am going through all these dollars for what?” Livestock production has so much pressure from both a financial and environmental risk that it is exhausting. With all that is at stake, should we do business with someone we don’t trust? The speaker explained several pillars of trust. A few of these pillars in particular stood out to me.
- Consistency: This one’s easy to understand and we just need to do it.
- Clarity: Ask at least three times how we can change tomorrow or today.
- Compassion: Do not overestimate the power of actually caring.
- Character: Train to do what we ought to do instead of what we want to do.
- Contribution: You have to see the results.
- Competence: You have to have the ability and desire to learn.
- Commitment: This one is the hardest to teach. You don’t get commitment without giving commitment.
Some of these comments relate to changing ourselves to gain trust as well. The expense comes with lack of efficiency as we associate with people – either people we employ or people we do business with – who haven’t earned our trust…or we haven’t earned theirs. The important thing I came away with is the understanding of trust and values I have in the company I work for and the producers we are fortunate enough to serve in this industry. At Vita Plus, we have a list of Values that have become our culture as an employee-owned company. The values are Safety, Teamwork, Commitment, Quality, Communication, Attitude and Performance. Trust is a big factor in our success as a company as these Values are lived. With all that is at stake today in the agricultural industry and your business, I am sure that you want to partner with those you trust. It is a key factor in our success and wellbeing as we continue to grow our industry. One of the speaker’s final comments was a definition of trust. “Trust: We trust those who say they are sorry seldom because the mean it when they do.” About the author: Jim Garrison is an account manager with the Vita Plus swine team. He earned his degree from Mankato State University and has been involved in the agriculture and feed industry for 24 years. He started his work with Vita Plus in 1996 and since that time he has worked exclusively with swine. Garrison’s other interests include outdoor activities, such as boating, camping, fishing and upland game hunting. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, Joni, and three children Chelsea, 20, Mara, 18, and Joshua, 9.