A common trait among successful farm business managers is the desire to improve their business management skills, and in turn, their farm. However, one mistake people make, is assuming a manager is a manager simply because his or her title says so. That isn’t always the case.

A successful dairy farm business manager will possess many attributes. Just as we attempt to objectively assess individual enterprises on a dairy to make management changes to improve profitability, we also need to objectively assess management skills to improve those areas as well.

For many dairy farmers, managing cows and other possessions comes more easily; but managing people can cause stress. As dairy partnerships grow to include multiple family members, stress is compounded when the people needing management are linked by bloodline and/or marriage.

Get a skill assessment
In order to help dairy farm managers improve their business acumen and identify professional development opportunities, the University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX) Assessment Center for Dairy Farm Managers/Owners assesses management skill levels by identifying and evaluating individual managerial and leadership capabilities. The UWEX Management Assessment Center assesses a manager’s strengths and weaknesses in nine dairy farm business areas:

  • Leadership
  • Managing resources
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Decision-making
  • Planning and organizing
  • Initiative

In addition to evaluating individual behaviors in these nine critical business areas, the management assessment center features individual and group simulations involving challenges that a manager or owner may encounter. It also assesses and offers the opportunity to interact with and learn from other farm managers and owners. At the end of the two-day program, participants receive personalized feedback designed to improve their management abilities to help initiate the development of personal action strategies.

A key to growing a dairy business is growing the individuals in the business, regardless if it’s the cow pusher or the operation’s overall manager. In fact, it’s probably more important for the manager, since he or she will frequently be the glass ceiling that caps all other improvement or growth.

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© Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
May 29, 2017

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