Jim van der Poel's Top Tips

DairyNZ Chair Jim van der Poel shares his tips on planning and building a high performing team - why it’s important and how we can be more effective.

Building a high performing team:

Business is always about relationships - no matter who you’re dealing with, family, staff, bankers, partners -  you need to have good relationships with the people you are engaging with. For me this starts with you and your family and making sure you’re doing what you are doing for all the right reasons. Getting ahead, enjoying it and getting satisfaction out of it. It’s also very much about the people in your business, ensuring that they are also enjoying it, the culture is right for them, that they’re remunerated appropriately and that you have a good understanding of their aspirations so that you can help them on their journey.

  • It’s important to make sure that your people are right for you and you are right for them. 
  • Feel each other out during the recruitment process. It’s about getting a sense of the person, whether you’ll work well together and how you’ll gel as part of the team
  • Once placed in a role it’s really important to build a relationship with them - genuinely care - lip service won’t get you anywhere.
  • Build a relationship on a formal and informal level - have a good understanding of what’s happening with your people, around them, and under them if they are EPs or sharemilkers.
  • Understand their aspirations and how you can help them to achieve.
  • Be true to your words. Follow up on what you say you’re going to do.
  • Genuinely care about your people, their family and what’s happening in their lives.
  • Be Proactive. Stay Upfront.  
  • Work together to build a good team.

Have a clear plan:

Jim says the best thing anyone can do is invest in themselves - make yourself valuable to you and your family. Be good at what you do, put yourself in a position where you are valuable to yourself, your family, your employer and any future employer.  Ensure you are in a position to get the right career options.

Grow your own success and have a clear plan. It’s also important to track against your plan - how are you going to measure success? Eg building equity, owning a home, having good family holidays. If you’re part way through the journey and you fall off course, that’s ok. Redefine what success looks like. Change the plan.

What's your plan and how do you bring it to life?

  • Have your own success and goals. 
    Do you want to own a farm? farms? A house in town?
  • Make sure your family, and the people in your business have their own goals too.
    Don’t assume your success is what others aspire to. What are the drivers for them and for you?
  • If setting a plan - what’s the horizon?
    It’ll be horses for courses; different people want different things. Some people are prepared to go without for a few years to get ahead. Some people like to spend a little more and enjoy the ride. Neither is wrong. What’s right for each is part of the journey.
  • Plan in stages
    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time - so plan out what you are going to do first, second, third and so on to edge towards your goals.
  • Be clear as to why you are in farming
    Lifestyle, working with stock, the challenge building equity.  What are your drivers? 
  • Define your own success.
    The difference to achieving your success will be in the follow-through and people themselves tend to be the barrier. There is discipline required in being able to follow through. If you are a good operator and you are good with people and you build your skills and you get those good jobs that's the pathway.
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