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Managing Through

by Dallas Mount


The COVID-19 crisis sweeping the world is on everyone’s mind. We at RMC are making adjustments in our work to help slow the spread. It is easy to get caught up in the negative thinking about how this is impacting markets or impacting our normal routines. However, let’s pause and consider how we as individuals and agriculturalists can respond in a positive way.

Allan Crockett recently led a continuing education program at our winter Executive Link (EL) meetings where he shared the accountability ladder that makes a distinction between being a victim and being accountable for your decisions.

Right now so much of what we see, are responses by people operating from a mindset at the bottom of the ladder. My challenge to you is to pull your business up the ladder and take responsibility for how you position your business to respond to these challenges.  

At the New England EL meeting, as this crisis was just starting to unfold, each business completed a COVID-19 Implications Wheel. The Implications Wheel was developed by Joel Barker’s group and is a tool we use to explore outcomes and responses of potential situations. The Implications Wheel asks you to consider potential scenarios as if they have happened and then think through how you might respond.

In the example above, the scenarios developed are that the COVID-19 fallout continues through May 1, July 1 and November 1. Then second and third order outcomes are developed. With each outcome you think through how your business will respond. The example shown is just a start. It will likely take 2-4 full size flip chart pages to fully develop an implications wheel. The last step is thinking through each scenario and outcome then scoring it based on probability and impact to the business. The exercise puts power in your hands as a business owner and allows your mind to look for opportunities in each scenario and develop strategies to manage the downsides.

When the New England EL members completed this, it was exciting to see how each business found real opportunities to serve new and existing clients, maintain cash flow and position themselves for opportunities that are bound to present themselves.  

Here is a small sample of some ideas that came out of the exercise:

  • Connect with consumers on food production
  • Develop direct marketing outlet
  • Expand during times of depressed prices
  • Develop recipes with online tutorials for family meal prep to accompany products
  • ID key Working on the Business (WOTB) tasks to replace freshly cancelled commitments
  • Source new products for direct sales
  • Build online presence
  • Donate meat to the needy 
  • Hold ranch team strategy sessions 
  • Incorporate homeschooling activities into ranch life
  • Have kids develop new enterprise
  • Pre-buy inputs from businesses facing cash flow crunch

As Stan Parsons, founder of RMC said, “It isn’t the situation, but your response that counts.” Let’s focus our energies on the things we can control. What actions will you take in the next 1, 3 and 6 months to position your business?

Our thoughts are with those that this virus affects directly. We will emerge from this more resilient, but in a new reality. Operating at the top of the ladder puts you in the driver’s seat of your business.

4 Responses to “Managing Through”

March 25, 2020 at 6:44 am, Ron Sealock said:

First time I’ve seen that ladder. LOVE that ladder.


March 25, 2020 at 7:15 am, Kent Hunter said:

This is the silver lining. Great article and perfect timing


March 25, 2020 at 7:47 am, Luke Perman said:

Could you explain the numbers on the Implication Wheel? 1/7, 3/7, 50/1, etc. Thanks


March 25, 2020 at 8:15 am, Dallas said:

Hi Luke. We teach a scoring system of 1, 3, 5, 50 for importance or in this case impact to the business. Where 1 is a non-issue or insignificant and 50 is a make or break for a business. On probability we use 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9. Where 1 is very unlikely and 9 is a sure thing.


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