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As you hold this in your hands, you might be stressed by the many irritations of a long harvest, or the queries of your kids who are having a hard time adjusting to their new dynamics at school.

What would it look like if you could find a tool to help you understand yourself better, and make your farm team more harmonious?  This year I’ve added Ken Keis’s book “Why aren’t you more like me?” to my coaching toolbox, along with the personality style assessments his company CRG offers.

Ken Keis grew up on a dairy farm, so he can relate to the intricacies of the farm family conflicts inherent in working and living so close together. Ken’s thirty years of consulting with personality style assessments has made him a world leader in a tool that really has brought my farm family clients to attention.

“Elaine, I wished we would have done this 30 years ago”, says the cattleman who now understands his son is not angry, just really expressive with his body and emotions as he gets his points across.

“Wow, no wonder Mom is the best at the books, she is so high for details (cognitive analysis), now I understand why we frustrate her when we don’t give her the receipts on time.”

“Yes, this is my dad you are describing, his need to get things done (behavioural action) is twice as intense as the next generation’s!”

As a farm family coach, I am using the Personality Style Indicator (PSI) as tool to help families understand their differences in style. This affects how they impact their environment, view time, people and things. Some folks are more task  focused, and some are more people focused. It also relates to those of us who are verbal, and the non-verbal types.

Farm women typically are seen as the “thoughtful” style, with a high degree of interpersonal harmony needs. They are also usually “practical” and “balanced” in their style. But we are all different.

Why is this important?

less irritation:  When you understand your bent towards getting things done on the farm (tasks) and how you interact with people, you will not irritate each other so badly. You will actually understand what stresses the other person out, and learn to adapt your expectations of them. When our  family did the assessment this summer, we sat down as  a group to discuss what we had discovered about our tendencies. This gives us a lot more patience instead of triggering anger.

appreciation of your self and others. : Lack of appreciation on farms is a huge problem in the human side of agriculture. When you understand that someone has a high score for interpersonal harmony, but you don’t, you can make adjustments in your speaking and your actions.  My style is influential which means I “treat people with more sensitivity that many businesspeople who focus on results but tend not to notice the feelings of others.”

stop feeling offended and emotionally hooked.  Many folks laugh when I tell the story of my husband watching me cry. He questions me with : “Is this about me?”

If my response is “No.” Then he says, “have a good cry.”  Many times farm families are “driving each other crazy” with assumptions and emotional triggers that don’t have a sound base of reality. When you understand the personality styles of your farm team you get to know that what is offensive to you, might not even register on their emotional radar ! So you begin to ask better non-threatening questions like “What does this mean to you, or is this true for you?”  You are also able to have tough conversations that come from curiosity and not judgment, which is a very good conflict resolution strategy.

select the right job style for yourself.  My score for cognitive analysis would be considered low at 23, which is why I , as a “good” farm wife have never and will never do the books. Back in l995 when I started writing this column, the income was designated for a hired book keeper who did score high on “C”, someone who acts cautiously to avoid errors, engages in critical analysis, and wants to insure the books balance.  Ken’s company www.crgleader.com also offers a job style indicator, so that you can insure that the personality style of your employee or team member is well suited to the job’s tasks and responsibilities.

We’re happier when we live our lives based on our core values.  I know that I value spirituality, independence, creativity, honesty, and integrity. I also did a values test with Ken’s group. What causes stress in farm families is when core values are not aligned with actions of the farm team. If you  value family harmony, then why are you not talking to resolve your conflicts ? If you value honesty, then why are people not being held accountable for unethical actions?

Style assessment is complex, yet when it is approached in a systematic manner, it becomes more manageable and offers you a tool for increased clarity in self-understanding and improved relationships. I am certain that many farm families would benefit from adding a PSI to their tool box. You can go to my website to www.elainefroese.com/contact to request coaching , and to set up a call to learn more about the PSI. You can also go to www.whyarentyoumorelikeme.com to order the book, which comes with one free assessment ($30 book, assessment is valued at $45). The e-book is under 20 dollars.

Is it worth 30 bucks to start improving relationships on your farm ? YES!!

Ken Keis says that it makes intuitive sense that if you understand your personal style preferences, and why you respond the way you do to others, you will generally increase the chances of reaching your potential, personally, and on the farm. I agree.

If you are a farm advisor, you might want to sign up for October training to use the assessment. As farms get larger, with more employees to manage, folks need tools in their HR (human resources) box.   Enjoy your team!

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.

$15

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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