Author: Dr. Pete Hammett, Professor


Change is occurring at a fast rate. Shocking, right? No? Of course not. We are all well aware of how rapidly change is sweeping across the food and agribusiness industries, as well as across the world, as we continue to discover advancements and efficiencies daily.

Leading Change

For example, the blockchain phenomenon has recently taken the industry by storm. Blockchain is aiding farmers in overseeing farm inventory, increasing transparency and accountability along the supply chain, encouraging sustainability, and much more. Sure, we do our best to manage changes and disruptions such as this, but understanding how to lead change could revolutionize the way we do business. As an agribusiness professional, it’s in your DNA to build a plan, work a plan. You’ve been doing it since the day you stepped into the professional realm, but there is a difference between managing plans and changes and leading plans and changes.

Change efforts such as mergers and acquisitions and cost-saving initiatives rarely fail because they are poorly managed; they fail because they are poorly led. When one manages change, they accept disruptions and muddle their way through by planning and structuring. When one leads change, they take flight on a cognitive journey and recognize that others are doing the same. A leader of change understands that disruptions ignite a variety of emotional aspects in which everyone reacts to differently. Change impacts each member of a team in a different way, and they must understand how to best help their members navigate these times.

The first step in being a leader of change is understanding how you as an individual react to it. A helpful method in doing so is the Change Style Indicator — a psychometric assessment designed to measure preferred styles in approaching and dealing with change. This assessment identifies strengths and pitfalls of change style characteristics and allows participants to enhance their ability to manage their reaction to change and identify tendencies.

It’s worth taking the time to have your team complete the Change Style Indicator as well. Knowing one’s change style preferences can allow individuals to work together as a team, revising work processes and delivering more satisfactory results. It looks at factors that can impact an organization’s readiness to deal with and sustain change in challenging times.

Once you have a firm grasp on how your members react to change, you can develop a systematic approach to how you will lead each of them through change efforts in the future. The strongest, most effective leaders are ones who note that change is not simply another business transaction, but instead recognize the emotional and psychological processes involved. So, how do you lead change?

Beyond the Blog

Take the Change Style Indicator and learn more about leading change from Dr. Pete Hammett at the ASTA Management Academy on March 2-6, 2020 in West Lafayette, IN. The Academy will provide seed industry professionals with an in-depth look at current issues facing the industry and ways they can apply business management concepts to tackle challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Previous attendees have returned to work able to better identify differentiators, optimize efficiency and rethink how their value is conveyed. Register now to reserve your seat!