Insights from our team

Beating the Drag of Change in Ag: Part One

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Elizabeth Hargrave

Business Development Manager @ Hectre
  • Understanding change
  • Being in charge vs. being in control
  • Change fatigue
  • Even before the covid-19 events of the past few weeks, the agricultural industry was facing unprecedented levels of change. Farmers are experiencing changes in legislation, climate, global exports, and technology, among many others. These changes are felt regardless of crop type or operation size. Some farmers thrive in an ever-changing environment and others dread every change, no matter the size. 

    Regardless of industry or person, the scariest part of change is typically the perceived lack of control. 

    Let’s take a closer look. 

    I once read an argument that you can never fully be in control, but you can be in charge. Think of it. When faced with unprecedented changes like we are seeing today in the covid-19 crisis, there is clearly no control. And yet, every day we take charge of this new reality and move forward the best we can. Some days are better than others.  

    On those days of exhaustion when it feels like things are beginning to spiral out of control, it’s helpful for us to realize that we are experiencing what is called change fatigue. It is a very normal part of any industry experiencing major changes.

    What is change fatigue? It’s that general sense of apathy or passive resignation towards changes. 

    It’s important to realize that this resistance and resignation often doesn’t stem from one particular change. It is a result of people being overwhelmed by the amount and speed of change that is happening over the course of time. 

    For any given change: 

    • We only have so much time and emotional capacity to absorb the change
    • We only have so much time and emotional capacity to care about the success of implementing a change

    Understanding how and why people react to change will be key to understanding what changes you and your operation can and should take on at any given time.  

    Take, for example, this change curve illustration. Regardless of the industry or change, people react similarly to change because it affects their lives in one way or another. 

    For every change in a person’s life, they go through this change curve. It starts with anxiety and moves through multiple stages before landing at growth. Some people go through the change curve more quickly than others. And of course, some changes don’t require much time from anyone.

    Keep in mind, this is just the curve for a single change. To illustrate how many changes are being processed at any given time, let’s review just how much change occurs before you and your employees even step foot into the field or office.

    Here are some examples of common changes- some positive, some negative.

     

    Okay, now let’s step into the office or field and think of examples of changes coming up there:

     

    As you can see, this is a lot! And as you know, each of these changes comes with an investment – whether it’s time, money, or both. We’re pretty resilient people and get through it, but it just gets to be a slog. 

    Taking action helps beat the drag. This week, take time to:

    1. Name all the changes in your environment
    2. Figure out where you can “take charge”
    3. Figure out whether any action is needed at this point (Yes/No)

    If Yes, name the action you will take and when you need to act to move the ball forward

    If No, put a reminder in your calendar to revisit at a later date

    In Part Two we’ll talk about:

    How to help alleviate change fatigue

    How to get your families and employees involved in your change efforts

    Working with Hectre. When we work with farmers, we see their whole picture and ask about other changes going on in their lives. As with anything, timing is everything and we help you understand when it’s a good time to make the change over to automating your orchard processes and how to do it. Contact us for more information!

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