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Conference attendees gain tools, insights on leading with focus

Nearly 800 people – including directors, managers and new leaders from across the cooperative system – gathered at the Your CHS Experience Cooperative Leadership Conference in Las Vegas in early February to strengthen their skills and network with peers. The theme of the meeting was “Leading with Focus,” an idea that CHS President and CEO Carl Casale emphasized as he encouraged board members and ag leaders to think strategically for the long-term in order to serve the growing needs of farmers and ranchers.  

“Cooperatives need to be visionaries during this time of transformation and challenge in our industries,” said Casale, who advised attendees to “control the controllables” and look for ways to work together to be successful as a cooperative system.

Other presentation highlights include:
  • John Foley, former lead solo pilot of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, discussed building teamwork, including the four facets of a high trust contract – beliefs, briefs, contracts and debrief – and the 4 P’s (process, product, people and purpose larger than self)
  • Vikram Mansharamani, Yale University lecturer and author, gave perspectives on factors that are driving global change, including population growth, global demographics, food demand, technology and innovation
  •  Joseph Grenny, best-selling author of “Crucial Conversations,” explained that the health of a team or organization is a function of the average lag time between identifying problems and discussing them, and he gave advice on approaching critical conversations
  • Myles Shaver, University of Minnesota professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship, emphasized the importance of having a clear strategy/focus as a guide to saying no when you’re presented with more good ideas than you can afford to pursue
  • Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications, provided an up-to-the-minute update on what’s happening in Washington, D.C., and the implications for agriculture
  • Mike Pearson, host of Public Television’s Market to Market, outlined some good news and not-so-good news regarding the market outlook for crop and livestock producers
  • A panel of agribusiness leaders presented insights on decision-making and leading through change, including comments on why “the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror” (i.e., the importance of changing your focus from the past to what’s ahead)

View and download event photos here. 

Use the Your CHS Experience mobile app to access links to takeaway tools, summaries and answers to some questions from the sessions. (To download the app, search for “CHS Inc events” from the app store.)