Beth Ford Talking to Chris Policinski

5 Essential life hacks for driving a global business

It takes unique skills to understand and know how to drive business results to meet challenges

I am excited to post my first Land O’Lakes, Inc. blog post and to be part of this community – sharing and engaging in discussion. To me, one of the best things about working for Land O’Lakes is the vast reach and impact our company has across the country and around the globe. Over the years, we have operated in all 50 states and in more than 50 countries, bringing best-in-class products and much-needed expertise to these markets. Ultimately, we help farmers around the world feed human progress throughout the agriculture and food spectrum – from field to fork.

The complexity of doing business across state lines and international borders is often challenging. From trade and tax laws, to operational challenges and maintaining a competitive hold, it takes unique skills to understand and know how to drive business results to meet these challenges. As COO of Land O’Lakes and leader of our Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, I’ve learned many lessons on how to manage the complexity.

1 – Get comfortable with your experience

Trust your intuition and the experience you bring to your role. Running a complex global operation means having to make sometimes tough and risky decisions that could impact your teams, your customers and the communities in which you do business. Trust in your team, your peers and your experience to help you address each decision individually.

2 – Develop a natural curiosity

Take time every day to explore and think outside the box. Let your natural curiosity take over from time to time and ask a lot of questions. The best leaders understand both what they know and what they don’t. Find the right people who have answers to your questions – inside and outside of your organization – and bring them to the table.

3 – Empower your team

The people you’ve put in place to support the business are your most valuable assets. Invest time regularly in developing and delegating to those around you. You can’t be everywhere at once, especially in a global operations environment and that requires building and maintaining trust in your teams. Empower them to make the right decisions for you and for the business. Ultimately, your success is their success, and their success impacts the business you are leading.

4 – Find ways to integrate

A successful global business requires greater efficiencies and flexibility. It requires better communication across your operations to share best practices and manage resources. Your job is to do what’s right for the business. It’s important to establish an inspired work culture to be creative in streamlining work that positions your company for success five and 10 years down the line.

5 – Welcome innovation

The world grows increasingly competitive each year and innovation and advanced technology are key business drivers for the future. It’s easy to default back to proven practices and what you know, shutting down complex and unproven ideas. But history shows that those new ideas often lead to greater business success and unimagined possibilities. Find ways to embrace the unknown.

These are some of the things I keep in mind every day here at Land O’Lakes. There’s a lot of work to be done in our business, our industries and across the world to help feed human progress. It’s important to understand how you can be a better leader to drive results and when necessary, change.