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Honored Advisor

What would you do?

I am in a quandary, and have made an action decision, but I would appreciate some input from my friends here.  I will try to describe the problem, tell you my reaction, and the management decision that I have made out ot it.

 

Mike had to cover daughter's chores this morning, as the kids left for a weeklong vacation late yesterday.  As always, he came in after the building checks, in a fume about how "this isn't being done, and that is being neglected".  Honestly, I could have written almost to a word what he was going to say, this has happened so many times before.

 

My reaction was simply to ask, "What did I tell you last time?"

 

Quite frankly, he takes too much of a hands-off approach, then gets all bent out every few months, when he has to cover, and sees that things aren't done to his standards.  I have asked him numerous times before to simply do a once-weekly check, write down what is being missed, and follow up the next week, to see it's been done.  He did it once on his own for a few weeks (less than a month, if I recall correctly), and then dropped the thread. 

 

I got the "I can't turn my back for a minute" and then it's "we can never get away".  That felt like emotional extortion to me, and I blew hot in a heartbeat. 

 

I refuse to be a prisoner here for the rest of my life, just so he doesn't have to do two hours of checking behind the crew, once a week here.  We ahve made a big investment in raising cattel up there, and I do not see how we put that toothpaste back into the tube. 

 

They do not want me back there, because my OCD would wear them all out!

 

No, all you need to do is take an hour or two once a week, walk and make notes, then hand them to her.  Get them back at the end of the week, initialed off, and re-check to see it's all been done. 

 

I have made a comprehensive routine and repairs checklist, so there is no doubt what has to be done.  Took his dictation, and made it into something like my bookwork worksheet.  This is one step further than I have taken this intervention before. 

 

Unlike before, too, I will be collecting these sheets, to enforce that it's being done.   Should I have to do this? No.  Do I? Absolutely. 

 

I would not cut him any slack this morning.  He knows this is his job, and he admitted that I was right, I'd told him before, and he knows the only way I can function is with written documentation now.  He apologized for the blackmail about going to the getaway.   

 

Is there anything else or better you can suggest, than what I have done?  I adore them both, but this is the kind of stuff that kills me. 

 

 

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Senior Contributor

Re: What would you do?

I think you did what you have to do, given that you have had this happen in the past.   I actually think its a good idea to have the checklist but wonder how hard it will be to enforce the follow thru.   I hope it works for you.   It must be a guy thing because I think I have heard the same statements made here over things/chores.   

 

Couple of points to ponder..  or excuses for them....  #1.. are they just not doing it the way he wants it done or has always done it in the past?  Maybe they have found a different way of accomplishing the same goal.  Or maybe what he is complaining about is not necessary in the grand scheme of things.   #2.  Is there enough time and labor to get it all done   #3. Do they have enough ownership to care?     

 

Good Luck to you and let us know if this works...   I might try to implement a similar system!

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Honored Advisor

Re: What would you do?

Answers are that one or ywo issues are " the way they do it". That he has to get over, as long as things get done. I had him ductatevthe checklist items to me, and I designed the Workflow/ Week of_________. Sheets.

Had him proof for improvements, printed out enough for 3-4 months, saved the file to print out more. I will give him a master to photocopy.

One was a very worrisome point for me, so not negotiable. People just putting other things before their work they are paid to do. There is a lot of blaming/ fingerpointing, and I hate that s$&t. Stand up for your own screwups. The checklist will address that, by just one number on it.

The rest is not an ownership issue, it is an attentional one. Somebody is going to have to stop chatting on a cell phone so much, put it down, and get the work done. Period.

The checklist and a couple of other measures will let me knkw if it has sunk on. I have been relying on him, and he was putting his mind elsewhere. That has to stop today.

He did apologize, and I think really undersyands that I will nkt be bullied or blackmailed emotionally over this going forward. He has to " man up", and not just toss a hissyfit.

Thanks for your thoughts. I will try to issue a progress report in a few weeks. This is the kind of totally unnecessary stress that just has to quit..
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Senior Contributor

Re: What would you do?

You may want to read up on Jolene Brown's "Family First Business or Business First Family".  Google Jolene Brown. She is on facebook and does seminars all over the country.  Her website has lots of information on it too.

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Honored Advisor

Re: What would you do?

Great suggestion.

I think this eas one of those times when I finally said to myslef that I needed to lay a business -first solution onto this family business. It is SO frustrating when two people who are basically SO much alike cannot get themselves onto the same page.

This plays into our succession plans as well. I brought that up to Mike yesterday...you cannot turn over an asset like this farming operation to be run ragged.
We weren't ready for it at our daughter's age, either; but, she basically has 4-5 years to earn her chops, or end up an employee forever. I think it's time to communicate that fact.
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Re: What would you do?

Ruby Lou, I have gone over to youtube and watched a number of Jolene's videos. I went back and wrote what I had written the other day.  Mike and I had anotehr fairly detailed convrsation about this again this morning. 

 

It all amounts to us needing to sit down with our daughter, and see if she's got her heart in taking over in a few years.  We neither one want to work forever.  I can do my bookwork stuff almost in my sleep, and ought to be able to do it as long as I am A)alive; and, B) able to hit the keyboard...not too high a set of standards. 

 

I have it that automated now, and I have the binders of written materials/lessons I started last year, that explain the majority of the job I do.  I have sat her down and made her do certain functions out of the book, to show me that she can follow the directions. 

 

He does not communicate as effectively what his expectations are, and when he takes his mind off for a month or a year, things loosen up.  Then, he has to cover, and the crap hits the ventilation device.  Some of this is just a difference in the way different people accomplish the same duties, but some is not.

 

The truth is, we have had a lot on our plates, and it's time we focus, so she can better focus, too.  I think we need to decided when and how we want to step out, and ask her if she really intends to step up.   

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Re: What would you do?

A couple of questions....just rhetorical so no need to answer on this public forum....How old is your daughter?....Has she ever worked for anyone besides you and Mike?.....Has she had increasing responsibilities in her position?....Does she have skin in the game? Are there financial consequences for HER if her efforts are not sufficient? Is she capable of managing people?

Outside of a family business, professionals are expected to grow into executive management. Sometimes within a family business we just assume a child will grow into executive management/ownership. Not everyone is management material.

Not saying your daughter doesn't have what it takes. Just asking whether she truly wants the path before her.

Please Dont take offense...just giving you something to think about.
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Re: What would you do?

I can totally see the problem.    Tom will walk into the nursery on the day we get pigs.   He hasn't been in there since the last day we got pigs  2 months ago.  He will stop pig moving  to look over a weld  or whether the gate is still up to snuff.    I can put up with doors that don't latch... I'll use baling wire.   But,  if it affects him,  if he has to work around it...  "Katy bar the door,  we must fix it right now,  why have you put up with this,   I'm going for my tools right now.!"  8 hours later  he is complaining that the job takes longer than he thought and he hadn't gotten anything else done.     If it effects  pig safety or pig comfort  I'll get him out there ASAP.  But, if it is my comfort I learned  a long time ago  wait for a slow time.   A rainy day in the summer  to try and get such things fixed. 

I haven't had automatic stops on the nursery augers  for  about 20 years.   If I leave for 2 days and he has to run the nursery augers  he  swears he is going to get the autostops fixed  as soon as possible.      I hate leaving because I know he will find something in one of the hog buildings.  And he will call right then and there and complain... so much fun   being chewed out while trying to eat with friends. 

 

So,  DH and DD need to come to an agreement.   What is ASAP  and what can wait.    Pig comfort and Pig safety are ASAP!    Can she do the repairs herself or does it require Daddy's help  or  skill?    I know I really hate having to call Tom out to help me because I don't know how.    

 

One day I gave an employee the job of writing down  everything they saw that needed to be fixed.  I didn't care how big or how small.  What I was trying for was for them to see  the details that should be dealt with before they became major problems.   They'd been working part time for me for 2 years at that time.   She didn't too well  but, I think it opened up her eyes to not be afraid to say there were things that need to be fixed.  

Honored Advisor

Re: What would you do?

Part of the discussion we have had. We made her intern for our integrator, before alllowing her to work for us. It made her see why we made, and make, certain choices.

She can manage, both animals and people. LA, our typical applicant moght have a lot in common with some of the clientele you work with...lots of issues. We gave her hiring/firing authority two-plus yearsago.. First choice was exkerienced and looked promising, but turned out to have substance abuse problems. Last guy has limits, but tries, and is a decent kid.

This is a LOT what Suey describes. Pigs spend all day trying to tear their houses apart, and often succeed in doing a good bit of damage. SIL has taken on a lot of repairs these last couple of years. Honestly, Mike checked out a lot when Jenna passd. I do, too, but have managed to keep my functions current.

I got on him a year or so ago about stepping back up on his oversight. He had been complaining that his glasses fog up, and he can't see things without them. We have addressed that, and I have told him not to gripe, unless he's done the documentation and still sees slacking.

Honestly, he will half-a$$ almost everything, and see what someone else has missed. I cannot stand to deal with jumping a lawnmower to get it started....get a battery, or fix the alternator, or whatever is wrong. Ours is in the shop now, finally, after I nagged for a month, incessantly...he's been jumping it for five years, at least! .


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Senior Contributor

Re: What would you do?

I see these issues as partly male and female differences.  We just do not think alike and this makes it problematic working together.  Working together in business outside of family farms people learn to overlook some of these things and adjust.

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