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Systems Thinking Part 2: Managing People for Maximum Performance

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general-manager-farmers“Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant,” (Peter Drucker).

People skills are an integral part of management because, as manager, you are responsible for the people working under you. Each must be treated legally and fairly. Managers must be keenly aware that the human resources in your business are among its most valuable assets. Losing a good employee is costly on many levels, including morale, time and money.  Finding, hiring and training a new employee is a huge undertaking and not one you want to face more than necessary due to poor management skills.

So, what can you do as a manager to retain good employees and manage them effectively?


Create and model a culture in the workplace that reflects your core values. How important is culture to your success? Peter Drucker got it right in his oft-quoted claim: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” Be sure your culture demonstrates the value you place on good employees.

Manage Your Management

Manage your management team with training, clear expectations, and regular performance reviews; ensure each manager also models the culture you have established for your business.

Earn Trust

Trust must be earned by your demonstration of true caring for the business, workers, customers. Remember that trust can be lost when unacceptable behaviors are tolerated.

Human Resources

Be aware of and compliant with employment laws. Hire Human Resources personnel to monitor your compliance or use an outside HR firm as needed. Do not ignore this area; laws change, and you want to ensure you are up-to-date and compliant at all times.

Hire the Right People

Hire motivated people and regularly remind employees of the importance of their performance in the success of the business. 

Open Communication

Ensure there are open communication channels at all levels of your business. Clear and complete communication should be taking place regularly in all directions – up, down and sideways. Regular standing meetings, weekly and monthly, should be a part of your management style.

Offer Incentives

Provide fair and competitive wages, benefits and incentive plans. Be aware of what is typical in your industry and be sure you are competitive


Ensure employees are aware of expectations/performance goals, and provide feedback through regular performance reviews and follow-up action plans for improvement.

Offer Opportunities for Growth

Provide opportunities for learning and potential for advancement. Reward achievements.

Appreciate Your Assets

In short, value and protect your business’s human capital, one of its most valuable assets

Let me repeat: Do not underestimate the importance of culture in your business. Your business’s culture can help you attract and keep the best employees. Be clear about not only what you do and how you do it, but WHY. Your purpose, beliefs and reason for existence are the answer to “Why?” As the leader, you must seek motivated workers you can inspire to believe in and work for something bigger than themselves. Culture is created by what is said and done, what is believed in and what is tolerated. Be sure you are creating and supporting the culture you want for your business.

People are vitally important to the success of your business. Former auto executive Lee Iacocca summed it up well: “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, products and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”

Be sure to watch for part 3 of this series, the third Management Skillset: “Systems Thinking.” In the meantime, download our FREE ebook to learn more about how human resources can benefit your farm's employees. 

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