A Tale of Two Conversations

Between a Farmer and Jolene

Come with me to the real-world scenario of gathering the family for a meeting. The outcome is dependent on the goals defined and the words chosen. 

Conversation #1

Farmer

We're having a family meeting tomorrow morning - Mom, Dad, sisters, brother and me.

Jolene

What is the agenda?

Farmer

Well, we don't have one.

Jolene

What is the specific purpose of the gathering?

Farmer

Well, Dad and Mom are in their 80's and we've got to get things done.

Jolene

What type of things?

Farmer

They're still living on the farm and it's hard for them to get around in that big old house. And Dad's still trying to farm. Both are problems. Dad and Mom still own a lot of the land we farm and some of the big equipment. We have to figure out what's going to happen.

Jolene

Are Dad and Mom of sound mind…able to discern and make decisions

Farmer

So far. But they now pretty much do what we tell them to do.

Jolene

Who's the "we"?

Farmer

Whichever of us kids is around them and talking.

Jolene

Are you 'kids' on the same page, agreeing to and telling them the same thing?

Farmer

Not really.

Jolene

Who do you think will be leading the conversation topics tomorrow?

Farmer

Me. I told them they all had to show up.

Jolene

What do you want as an outcome to this family gathering?

Farmer

I'd like to know what's in Mom's and Dad's wills.

Jolene

I think this is going to be a short meeting. Good luck. Would you like another way to approach your gathering? 

Conversation #2

Farmer

We're having a family meeting tomorrow morning - Mom, Dad, sisters, brother and me.

Jolene

What is the agenda?

Farmer

Dad and Mom are in their 80's and we kids were talking after our Christmas gathering. We're concerned about their health and safety. We brainstormed some ideas and wrote down some ideas. What we found is that we kids all have different goals, worries and needs, but there are some things we all agree on.

Jolene

What is it you adult children plan to share with Mom and Dad?

Farmer

We agreed we want Mom and Dad ...

… to have the lifestyle and living they deserve. They worked so hard and have given so much. We want them to celebrate, be at peace and have what they want and need. We want them to enjoy each day.

… to tell us their worries or fears and provide answers or support.

… to be and feel safe and have help around home that they might need. And if it becomes too hard for them to be at home, we will help them figure out the next step of living.

… to know how much we admire and respect them. They started on the farm with nothing but faith, each other, a dream and debt. And they built an amazing farming business and raised four of us kids.  We'd like to know how they did that. What were their biggest challenges? What were their biggest celebrations? We want them to know they are important and always needed.

… to help them find good advisors so they can legally and financially feel secure, make decisions about the continuation or future of the farm business, and do what they want with any assets that remain after their death.

… to have a time with them and their attorney to hear those wishes and terms so that we individually might prepare for any affect the decisions have on us.

… to know we love them. We are grateful that they gave us a good upbringing, strong values, a faithful marriage and their love."

Jolene

Who do you think will be leading the conversation topics tomorrow?

Farmer

Well, I'll probably start it, but each of us has a copy of what we talked about. We'll take turns.

Jolene

You certainly have earned respect. You are honoring the family by doing this family business right!

 

Which of these two scenarios reflect your family and business?

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. Jolene's books, "Holy Crap! I Married a Farmer!" Joy-filled Lessons Connecting Our Sisters in Agricultureand Sometimes You Need More Than a 2x4! How-to-tips to successfully grow a family business are available online at www.JoleneBrown.com.  For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at Jolene@JoleneBrown.com.

Full Rights Consent.  Jolene Brown LLC, West Branch, Iowa, USA, maintains full rights to utilize the content and/or format of all materials submitted by her for the www.PinkTractor.com website in any future speaking, writing, audio, video or electronic format.

Copyright © 2018 Jolene Brown, LLC. All Rights Reserved

 

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