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Management Boot Camp

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Start with Management “Boot Camp”

to Train a Successful General Manager

What does it take to be a successful manager of a progressive well-run farming operation?  At FamilyFarms Group, I run a program that can not only put you on the right track but will also help guide you on the path to future success. I’m here to give you some insider tips on improving your management skills.


The principles and techniques of successfully managing a business apply to pretty much any business.  For example, key managers need to lead by example and deploy proven skills; the operation needs to select, manage, and maintain “level-five people”, etc.   These are just a few of the principles we at FamilyFarms Group teach our farm teams.  (Our customers, or “Teams”, are independent but participate interdependently as part of the FamilyFarms Group or “league”).

The first vital discussion involves all key owners of the farm to determine who is the correct choice to serve as GM for the operation.  That general Manager then attends our three-day boot camp to develop skills in these six essential areas:

  1. Leadership:  The General Manager sets the overall tone and tempo for the business.
  2. People:  The General Manager is responsible for the operation’s people, the business’s  competitive edge!  All people in the organization must be treated legally, fairly and equally.
  3. “Systems” Thinking:  The General Manager must think with a “whole system” view about all topics related to the business.
  4.  Data/Controls:  The General Manager must monitor and protect key assets of the business.
  5.  Business Analysis:  The General Manager must identify and implement incremental and significant ways to improve the business.
  6.  Business Planning:  The General Manager must lead the development of a yearly budget and strategic plan.  The GM is also responsible to follow up on these initiatives to ensure successful completion.

This three-day boot camp is just the beginning of FamilyFarms Group’s General Manager program.  It has been running now for three years and our Teams are seeing good results – we are developing successful GMs.  The GM program offers additional benefits through peer group sharing, benchmarking and focused new idea generation.  As I say to our GMs, “As you get bigger, you only need to choose and implement one good idea at a time to make significant and continuous improvements to your operation.”

Could you use management boot camp?

from COO, Jeff Haferkamp

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