Kincannon & Reed, a proud endorser of the Decade of Ag Vision, was honored to sponsor USFRA’s Honor the Harvest event last week where Managing Partner Jon Leafstedt spoke about diversity’s impact and innovative leadership in organizations.
K&R brings 40 years of experience in recruiting executives in the food and agriculture industries. We’ve seen a lot of change. The past five years, we have placed more than 600 leaders from production to packaging. Each one aware of their impact on the future, the need to make a choice for sustainability – and for some, sustainability is their sole focus for the organization.
We’ve also seen what makes an organization thrive. Organizations that meet their goals through collaboration, innovation, and a focus on the future as much as the present. Whether you are on the farm, in the factory, or a part of the C-Suite, we’ve noticed three things that impact organizations:
First, a clear vision and a focused mission. Much like the focus of USFRA and all the organizations who have committed to the Decade of Ag, organizations who are mission driven can attract strong leadership who deliver, impacting not just the organization but our industry.
Secondly, as we look at successful organizations across the food and agriculture industries and leaders we’ve been involved with, we’ve found, fostering a diverse workforce is also a differential. As an industry, we continue to serve a more diverse consumer, and work to solve more complex problems. We know a vibrant, innovative workforce is built on a diversity of ideas and perspectives. This means we need to bring employees and leaders with different backgrounds, abilities, experiences, and cultures to the table.
Not only the right thing to do, but a commitment to diversity also brings greater results. Boston Consulting research found that companies reporting above-average diversity on leadership teams also reported “innovation revenue” 19 percent higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity.
Coming together during the Honor the Harvest Forums facilitates a diverse group of members from all sectors of the food value chain with a diversity of ideas and solutions. While time is precious for all of us, engaging in this forum will not just align USFRA but we will all bring back unique ideas and perspectives to our individual organizations.
Finally, every day we see organizations that are thriving are innovating. They are not standing still, and they are not getting distracted. These organizations are learning new ways to work and serve customers in the food value chain. They are also working diligently to attract, motivate, and most importantly retain quality leaders and employees.
Innovation today is not limited to product or service solutions, but also to people solutions. Sustainable organizations are taking a serious look at their workforce and how these individuals contribute best to the organization. We anticipate the future will bring roles we don’t know about today, that there will be more co-role agreements where two individuals are sharing responsibilities, compensation and benefit structures will begin to look differently, and what motivates individuals to join organizations will continue to evolve, just as what prompts them to stay will continue to change.
We applaud the farmers and ranchers and every leader across the food value chain who are bringing innovation and sustainability to our world. As we reflect today on the past 40 years and discuss how Mission, Vision, Diversity, and Innovation are making significant differences for successful organizations, we can’t help thinking about the next 40 years.
To hear Jon’s thoughts on innovative leadership and the impact of diversity in organizations across the food value chain, check out the video below.