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Alright. It’s time. I grew up working on my dad’s farm, and even spent about 3 years in adulthood working on it too. Along the way I picked up some leadership principles, and each year I blog about some of those ideas in a series titled Lessons from the Farm. So let’s kick off our 4th Annual Lessons from the Farm!

When I was growing up my dad had a work pickup we affectionately called “the red pickup”. I know, you’re thinking there must be a story, but there’s not. It was red, so we named it accordingly.

But in the red pickup, we had an air compressor. This was a self sustaining compressor, which meant it did not require electricity, but instead ran on gas. The reason for this is when you have a flat tire in the field, it’s easier to crank the air compressor and air up the tire.

In fact, every day spent on the tractor started this way. We would crank the tractor and while it warmed up, we would check the tires on the plow. Sometimes you could tell as soon as you pulled up, but other times it was kind of tricky. Then, once we found the low tires (if there were any), we would air them up.

During my second stint at Henson Farms, my dad told me about a local farmer who didn’t use an air compressor. His reasoning? Because if you have a tire that’s going flat, you need to address the problem and get the flat fixed.

Seems kind of obvious, right?

Why would we continue to do the same thing, knowing that our actions would cause us to have to do the same thing again the next time? A tire doesn’t magically lose air over night. If a tire is flat, or low, that means there’s a leak. And guess what? More air won’t fix the leak. It will only delay the damage. Why not try to fix it?

Because it’s easier in the moment. The ease of the air compressor is you can be finished in minutes, whereas removing the tire and taking it to town to get fixed required time. But which action cost more time in the long run?

The same is true in our leadership. We perpetually have low or flat tires that we simply address as quickly and painlessly as possible, only working to ensure we will have to meet the need again and again.

That’s why we have to learn to address the real issue, not the one staring us in the face.

What tire are you simply airing up this week? What steps can you take to address the real issue and see if you can’t make progress along the way.


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