2:17 p.m. Karst: When you sit down talk about strategic planning, what are the things you do? How do you get that kick started?
2:18 p.m. Krivanek: When I worked with Standard Oil and its subsidiaries, I hired people like me to come in and do strategic planning. Consultants would come in and be inefficient and create long, complicated and laborious processes that in the end got put on the shelf and never got implemented, or made it so mystical that nobody could figure out what they were doing. What I developed is a business process design just for the produce industry. It is called strategic planning made simple. When I talk to companies, I tell them basically what the process is in its simplest form, it is a gap analysis —where we are now and where we would like to be.
2:22 p.m. Karst: Are there common issues in the management of family produce businesses?
2:23 p.m. Krivanek: In the dynamics of family business, the one thing that makes it crazier than other businesses is that you have more intimate knowledge of the players, so you know “the whatever” about each other and each other's respective clan and the sensitivity level is ratcheted much higher. Work can often be the place where family differences and issues are mediated; sometimes the true purpose of business becomes veiled and the business is really the sustenance of the family versus something outside the four walls, or competing with others in the market place for higher efficiencies, profitability and a grander space. Is doing a strategic plan good for family business? The only thing that trumps personalities and agendas is a shared direction.
That’s what comes first, not just for your family, but for the hundreds of families that will come after. So finding direction, becoming expert and informed enough to make good decisions about direction and then the process of getting behind it and making it happen; once that occurs, and people in the organization share it and they start working on it and they start making it happen and see successes, which always happens. Then people become less about my disagreement with Jimmy and they come more about where we are headed and how do we get there.
2:24 p.m. Karst: If there is one thing produce managers could do, what would be the first thing you would suggest?
2:25 p.m. Krivanek: : I’ve got three things for you. first of all, tell them to create a strategic planning direction. Many managers are struggling with many agendas; they need to stop wasting time with a lot of that and just go boom, “This is where we are headed and let’s go win at this.”