There are things within our control in this business (effort, commitment and focus to name a few), and many things that are not. If we needed any reminders, we’ve found them recently: trade wars, the Covid-19 pandemic, falling stock and commodity prices, including trading halts. And then there’s the familiar yet always unpredictable face of Mother Nature. 

Mid-March brought us an unprecedented world disruptor and the paralyzing worry that’s threatening all areas of commerce. As business recalibrates its expectations for 2020, I’m reminded of a lecture from a Feb. 1 conference I attended. Dream Big, Think Small Author Jeff Manion debunked the myth of quick success. And the importance of maintaining sometimes slow but forward-moving progress, what he called “ant-like power” (“steady, repeated movement in the right direction over time,” he says). His message became even more timely in recent weeks.

Among many examples to illustrate his point was the 1911 race to the South Pole, and the unique strategy taken by the victorious Norwegians. Regardless of the weather, the Norwegians performed 20-mile marches daily (vs. the Brits’ wild and unpredictable journeys dictated by the weather) as they safely reached their goal. They completed their mission in a calculated, methodical way. 

My notes from the presentation and book included: 

  1. Preparation & Continuous Improvement. “Champions are made when no one is watching” ... “There’s no replacement for steady growth over a sustained period of time.” 
  2. Impact Compounds Daily. Manion notes that you don’t leave a legacy by lunging from one stunning achievement to the next. “It’s through weighing the collective sum of these repeated movements,” he says, that the most profound impact comes.
  3. Chronic Consistency. “Sudden surges of success are usually bracketed by lengthy periods of steady, faithful plodding. People who end up changing the world — in ways big and small — are people who live a life of chronic consistency.”
  4. ‘Great’ Comes from Repeated ‘Goods.’ “Greatness is rarely achieved by doing great things, but instead by doing good things repetitively.”

His observations reminded me of a speech by a Big Ten football coach I’d heard decades ago, who expressed that “All great teams do the mundane (or ‘small things’) with great enthusiasm.”

It’s been said that your typical farm customers have, on average, 40 seasons. Each year is unique and critical in its own way. Despite whatever might be going on in headlines or markets, farmers are counting on your steadfast support. There’s a nobility in a mission of helping hardworking people feed the world, and hopefully, your team feels it with every hour they’re punched in.

There are challenges, to be sure. But as your most veteran staff knows, lasting, sustainable growth and strength isn’t possible absent of challenge. These times will test, teach and “grow” us. In other words, control what you can and be ready to adapt to the rest.

There remains opportunity in every situation. Sometimes it benefits you; other times your competition. But you can’t stop looking for it.

Here are some things you’ll see from our team as we march forward in the coming months.

  • Dealership Minds Summit. Plan now to be with dealer peers of all colors in Omaha this August. You’ll share and vet out strategies to maximize “Profit-Turning Trades” with dealer execs and their used equipment managers.
  • Showcase is Coming! Next up is the annual Product Showcase, alerting you to the newest innovations to help your team confidently share the latest advancements. It also includes primary research on brand loyalty in 2020.
  • 2020 Dealership of the Year. The independent panel of judges is about to start its review of the 2020 nominations. Stay tuned for an in-depth look of best practices in action.