Farming and Leadership

I'm an Oklahoma boy. Always will be. Grew up in Oklahoma just outside of Tulsa (Bristow- ever been there?) When you grow up in Oklahoma, especially as a boy, you learn about farming at an early age, even if you don't live on a farm. It's just in the DNA of your childhood in small towns in Oklahoma. 

It's hard-wired into my DNA. My grandparents were farmers/ranchers. I learned a lot from them- many things that now are life lessons and have shaped me as a leader, but at the time seemed unimportant. 

Now as I look back, especially when it comes to leadership, there are a number of lessons from Farming that apply to my world as a leader- and I believe are applicable to all of us as leaders. Here are a few: 

1. Farming, just like Leadership, is both an ART and a SCIENCE. If you focus on one over the other, you'll mess it up. 

2. Farming and Leadership require intuitiveness- the right hunches at the right time. Making the right decision is many times not about being "right" but instead just making a decision. 

3. The idea of "seasons" is incredibly important to a farmer; leaders also have to understand the concept of a season, especially as it relates to the season of a project or your team and the rhythm of your year. If you don't allow your team to rest from a season of intensity, you'll burn em out- same with a field; it's called crop rotation. 

4. Cultivating a great harvest takes a lot of work. You don't just plant a seed and it automatically turns into fruit. You have to do the work "under the soil" to get the fruit "above the soil." Patience. 

There are more, but we'll save those for Part II next week.