Personal Development Review – Norton

Day 1, Wednesday, December 6
Submitted by Scribe: Jancey Hall
Chair: Justin Diehm


Major Takeaways of Day:

-Leadership is not limited by title or hierarchy. You can be a leader wherever you are.

-Revisiting a world-changing event, 9/11, & revisiting to see why we do what we do

-We can work on our actions & leadership, but until something happens we don’t know how we’ll act. A character will shine in that situation, good or bad.

-Fess up when you mess up

-You may need a different leadership style for different situations.  Adjust to situations.

-An action is yours until it’s complete, even if you’ve delegated

-Find your Forklift

-Be the Buffalo

Action Items/Homework:

*Read Extreme Ownership

*Have a leadership Philosophy, craft one to suit you and include what is important to you and make it articulable so you can share it

*Watch Hidden Figures – great example of democratic leadership

“24 Hours in the President’s Bunker” – Lt. Col. Robert J. Darling, USMC (Ret)
Lt. Col. Darling flew attack helicopters in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He was selected to fly Marine Helicopter Squadron One for President Clinton and worked for the White House Military Office Airlift Operations Department.  In this capacity, he served the nation as the attack on America was in progress on 9/11 and he shared with us his story & a side of our nation that many of us did not see.  

Darling opened with a note about how the world has truly changed since 9/11. Pearl Harbor & JFK changed lives and the nation. 9/11 changed ours.

He loved flying attach helicopters & didn’t necessarily want to leave the job, but you don’t say no to flying the President’s helicopter.  From there, transferring into logistics meant ensuring that no matter where the President traveled, he had the appropriate assets in place.

Darling painted the scene for him as he started his day in the Eisenhower building next to the White House. At 8:46 they turned on CNN and watched as AA Flight 11 struck the first tower. He walked us thru the day from his office in Eisenhower to being sent into the Presidents Bunker underneath DC to do logistics. President Busch was sent to the air to ensure safety. He walked us thru every detail of the day and the logistics & decisions behind what happened.

Darling left us with this. 16 years later, we are still at war and many say we aren’t winning. There are American’s in all corners of the globe, doing God’s work to keep us safe. We haven’t had another major attack not because we are lucky, but because America is strong. The might and resilience exist and all hands must be on deck to keep fighting.  It takes time to change an ideology. 10-15 percent of a billion people are brainwashed into violence. It will take time but we must keep going.

High Performing Teams- Dave Maurer, Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret.) & John Worden, Optimize Consulting
Together, Maurer and Worden shared with us key components of high-performance teams & leadership styles. The highlights follow.

The purpose of a leader is to set the purpose and direction of the group. You motivate & influence group towards goals.  Regardless of title or position, you can be a leader and influence change. Your job is to empower those below you & pull them up.

Leadership is a choice & you can do it well or you can do it poorly.  The choice is yours and it’s never mastered. To truly lead people, you must have their trust and to do that you must be authentic.

As a leader, you need to look at your team and maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Sometimes that means finding others to fill that role to follow each individual’s strengths and passion. In doing this, the team will thrive.

Although you may know exactly how to do it, allowing someone else to have the opportunity to succeed, the trust will grow between you. If you delegate and congratulate when it’s due, it’ll be the most powerful tool.

Six Leadership Styles: Sometimes need to change according to role & situation

  1. Coercive: Do what I say, top-down decision making. Appropriate for certain time & place, however long term has negative effects.
  2. Authoritative: Come with me. The goal is to mobilize people toward vision with trust going both ways.  Implemented long term, it’s the most successful.
  3. Democratic: What do you think? Highly effective for buy-in and consensus. Works best when generating ideas. You can do this and be authoritative.
  4. Affiliative: Chief motivation officer. Quick to recognize and reward team. If overused, leads to mediocracy.
  5. Pacesetting: Person out in front, ‘do as I do, now.’. High standards and expectations with quick results. There is no time for feedback, there is work to be done. Long haul is unsustainable. Leads to burnout.
  6. Coaching: Try this. Great for growing employees and knowledge or skill set. Helps identify hidden talents & includes lots of feedback. Not good for highly skilled or competent team.

You are a leader because you earned it.

-Communicate clearly

-Build trust

-Hold yourself & others accountable

20 Points for Successful Leadership- Dave Maurer
Thru stories, Maurer stressed the 20 points for successful leadership. The highlights of his points follow. Stories are a great way to communicate leadership.  As leaders, you must have some values, some principles.

-Craft your Leadership Philosophy

1) Include a list of what’s important: values, principals, what makes you mad/glad, trust,  

And risk

2) Make it Articulable- you can share it. ‘A man’s got to know his limitations’ Clint Eastwood

-Know your strengths and weakness so you know what will make you a better leader & what will

hold you back

  1. Always Act with Integrity and Honesty

-A standard ignored is a new standard set

  1. Respond
  2. Anticipate

-Always have a plan B

  1. Follow-Up

-An action is yours until it’s complete

  1. Identify Problems and Solutions
  2. Demonstrate Personal Accountability
  3. Work Hard

-Embrace the Suck

  1. Show a Sense of Urgency
  2. Foster Person Discipline
  3. Lead by Example and Follow Well and Faithfully
  4. Be Loyal in All Directions
  5. Be Consistent and Clear
  6. Show Gratitude and Respect for Others

-Follow the Platinum Rule- Do unto others as they want to be done unto them

  1. Build Teamwork and Collaboration
  2. Promote a Common Purpose
  3. Infuse Passion
  4. Cultivate Your Reputation
  5. Display a Seriousness of Purpose and a Sense of Humor
  6. Continue to Grow

Oreo cookies were invented in 1912 and they are America’s #1 cookie. They still change, they still advertise. You are never so good you can stop growing.

  1. Care for Those in Your Charge

Cows vs Buffalo

Cows run away from the story and are in the storm longer. Buffalo run into the storm and face it head on.

Look for the Forklift

Retired marine with ranking drives a forklift at Lowes. It makes him happy and it’s what he wants right now.

Think about you, your strengths, weakness, & skills. Where do you want to take it? What makes you happy?

Dinner at Christ & Tina Tanners

Ken Rahjes, Kansas House of Representatives 110th District
Rahjes reflected on his journey and twists and turns to emphasize the importance of being engaged. The highlights follow.

We in KARL are a group that can make a difference.  In agriculture, we continue to allow ourselves to be silenced and we must engage our people & tell our story. We must share our story, specifically to those who don’t understand ag.

They say Rural America is dying. How are we supposed to maintain? To just live and be engaged is important. Rural can compete, we just need to be given the chance.

We’ve got to have Faith. We have to have our Family, those we are born into and those we make for ourselves. We have to have a good Attitude which may change for the situation. You can succeed or fail based on Attitude.

Gary Doane
Doane discussed his recent trip to Cuba and shared some key thoughts:

You can watch things on TV, but you can’t see the whole picture tell you are there for yourself

Make friends, see progress, and get a view of how others see the U.S.


Day 2, Thursday, December 7
Submitted by Scribe: Brian Eilert
Bullseye Event Center, Norton, Kansas
Chair: Kellen Liebsch

Icebreaker: Jill Zimmerman broke the class into four groups and introduced a Jenga Ice Breaker game with a twist of an unknown class member as sabotage to the Jenga game.  The lesson learned was to see how one person can affect culture in a negative way for the whole organization.  The Jenga game was fun and we could see who had the steady hands in the class.

Culture and Onboarding – Julia & Terry Nelson
Company Culture – Define it and live it! -Everyone has a culture –written down or not.

Who we are and what we stand for –Culture


Nelson farms Culture:

  1. Safety First – STAR (Stop, Think, Assess, React) – Go over “Near Misses”
  2. Teamwork
  3. Communication
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Accountability
  6. Solution Oriented
  7. Heritage and Growth

Education is important – Needs to be ongoing and continuous for your entire life.

Onboarding – A defined process for new employee orientation.  

Nelson farms gave a checklist of Onboarding guidelines through the first 90 days of a new employee hire.

Drug testing for Nelson Farms is mandatory for every employee.  One strike and your out policy for all employees tested at random.

Who is on your bus? –Terry Nelson
It’s all about the systems.  You can manage 10-10,000 employees if you have the right systems in place.

“Bus Model”   – Maximum of five (5) manager’s report to the business driver.  (Example CLO, COO, CFO, CIO) and then five managers report to each of those managers.  Everyone has five or fewer managers report to them.  Written report (metric) is needed from each manager for feedback.

CEO – Bus Driver

-Inspect all numbers


-Grandfather Rule – All bad news is reported immediately and sent up the line to CEO.

-Hit problems head-on – They never solve themselves

-Always Communicate

Different roles on the Bus
Driver/Coaching Role – To be a leader and motivate their team while guiding the entire team towards working together to achieve goals at full potential.

Co-Driver/Assistant Coach Role – To be a co-leader, be the creativity behind motivating the team and encourage individual growth to help them achieve their full potential to meet goals set for them.

Rider/Team Captain Role:  Be a strong teammate by being one of the hardest workers on the team, displaying a high level of commitment, focus, intensity, passion and effort.

Rider/Team Member Role:  Be to work on time, bring a positive attitude and positive team interactions by not participating in negative behaviors.

Cardinal Rules for Leaders

  • Be safe at all times
  • Take all information up
  • Praise in public; coach in private
  • Avoid being passive-aggressive. Goal is assertive
  • Once a leader, always a student
  • Don’t’ ask someone to do a task without providing the proper training tools
  • Manage yourself, things, projects and time.  Lead others
  • Cannot manage what you don’t measure
  • Inspect and coach regularly
  • Don’t go up with a problem without bringing a possible solution
  • Lead with expectation and consequences.  
  • Never ask an employee to lie, cheat or steal
  • Be adaptable, flexible and accountable
  • Let people make mistakes, give a second chance
  • Work smart (look for win/win solutions) don’t burn bridges
  • 80% of your time should be devoted to coaching your team.

Managing Common Workplace Behaviors – Terry Nelson & Janet Sell
Workplace Behaviors

  1. Passive – Not a leader (Avoids Conflict)
  2. Assertive – Feels comfortable in own skin
  3. Aggressive
  4. Passive/Aggressive – 80 percent of Workforce

The super-effective leader is Assertive –Wants feedback & always asking questions.

Recommended book to read – Extreme Ownership

Tour – First State Bank of Norton – “Also Ran Gallery”  – a picture gallery of people who ran to become the President of the United States but came in second.  

Authentic Leadership – Defining your leadership style – John Worden
Leadership – Fair/Sincere/Honest  -What do you value and make your own?

John asked each member of the Karl class why we signed up to be a Karl member.

Terry’s Top Ten Values John’s Top Ten Values

10) It is all about you (take care of yourself) Be a positive presence

9)  Life is not a Dress Rehearsal (You only live once) Be real

8)  Morals and Ethics Richer Life, better leader

7)  If you don’t have anything nice to say –Don’t say it Have Goals you are passionate about

6)  Victim roles (Recognize, Understand and Avoid) Define how you want to measure your life

5)  It is Not about You Have a clear purpose on the desired outcomes that you want

4)  Forgiveness Know your values.

3)  Faith, Hope, and Love Have a team

2)  Adversities Present Opportunities It is almost impossible to create a perfect plan or business

1)  Play Offense Over time you get the reputation you deserve

Wildcard:  Appreciation, Grateful, Celebration Humility

Coaching/Delegating/Mentoring – John Worden
Coaching – unlocking a person’s potential to maximize his or her own performance.

Focusing on improving an individual’s performance and the development of new skills is the goal of effective coaching.

-Demonstrate the behavior you want others to exhibit

-Communication is everything

  • 2/3 of language is perceived  with what our body says
  • 30 percent of language is perceived with how we say it
  • 5 percent is the actual words

-Dealing with difficult conversations:  Listen, Listen, Listen


-Go into meeting with at least two people – One to talk and the other to watch body language

-Don’t go in unprepared

-Name the problem right from the start

-Debrief after

The Delegating Process:

  1. Set and prioritize clear goals
  2. Give the employee a context for the task
  3. Grant enough authority and provide enough resources to get the work done.
  4. Get a commitment of responsibility and accountability and agree with the employee on a completion date.

Mentor:  Provides expert advice and guidance.  It is about growing and developing the person beyond just the job.

Incentives – Terry Nelson
Let Incentive programs drive the bus

Short-term incentives – monthly goals to achieve.  (Make sure everything is written down – metric)

Long-term incentives – Longevity bonus program

It’s not always about the money – Find out what motivates each person.

Board Service Panel Discussion:  Carolyn Harms, Jerry McReynolds, Steve Baccus:  Moderator John Worden

-All speakers talked about getting on a board that you are passionate about and not just being a number.

-Review financials of both non-profit and for-profit boards before accepting a role on the board.

-Make decisions on what is best for members of the organization and not what is best for you as a board member

-Don’t be a rubber stamp board.  Ask questions and due diligence – Make informed decisions and don’t approve unless you think it is the best approach.

-Always make sure board has directors and officer’s liability insurance or carry some yourself.

-Purpose of boards – Set direction for the CEO (Do not let board members run the day-to-day operations of the business)  It is the CEO’s job to hire and fire employees.

-Biggest threats to boards – 1) Non-participation from board members or just don’t even show up.  2)  Single issue candidates

-Board members need to strategic plan and evaluate the mission of the board.  Again find a board you are passionate about and get involved.

Day 3, Friday, December 8
Submitted by Scribe Jancey Hall

Major Takeaways of Day:


-Adversity can bring out the best in you

-The more you grow those under you & the better they become, the better they make you

-Utilizing resources & diversification helps to keep you growing

-You need to be strategic, but at the same time take advantage of opportunities as they arise


Rebuilding After Disaster- Julia Nelson & Terry Nelson

On June 6, 2017, a fire sparked at Husky Hogs in the north farrowing barn where they were replacing cool cells. The fire spread fast and within 15 minutes the farrowing barn was engulfed. Eight local fire departments, 30 trucks, and local farmers all joined forces to help contain and extinguish the fire. Although a devastating loss of 2,000 sows & 7,000 piglets, it could have been much worse.

After the fire ended, the follow up had to come immediately. Notifying and working with insurance to hiring an attorney and forensics accountant to determine long term economic impacts. Working with KDHE, an immediate debris clean-up process, and adjusting for pig flow were all crucial first steps and took a lot of effort and care.

They also had to ensure they were the ones speaking to the media. In order to ensure their story was told and told correctly, they had to control the narrative. They also emphasized the good that came from having an appreciation dinner to thank all those who stepped up to help control & extinguish the fire.

From there the now what comes fast. Do you rebuild? Do you change & expand? Do you change your system? The bigger the adversity the bigger the opportunity. After looking at all the possible risks and hurdles, they have chosen to expand their operation from 7,000 sows to be 11,000 sows with the philosophy, ‘if you’re not growing, you’re dying’.

Nelson Ag Entities
Nelson Ag Entities employees 85 people and is looking to increase that to just over 100 people throughout their various entities.  When asked about their why and their drive both Julia & Terry reflect on the people and the pride they have in them and what they are able to do for their community. A brief summary of their entities and what we had the opportunity to see follows.

Almena Ag & Fertilizer Plant:

-everything is inside to ensure security & containment

-allows for diversity in operation as well as to the way to integrate needs to cover their acres

-in case of fertilizer issues, they must have storage for 133 percent of their needs

-operate by an escort policy. To ensure their story is told properly, if someone visits the farm, they must be escorted

Truck Wash & Maintenance:

-disease spread is a big issue in the pork industry, a break of PED could kill every pig born for 5 weeks

-every time a truck comes back from taking a load of hogs it goes thru the wash and bake process

-truck wash is separated from the rest of the farm to prevent disease spread

Prairie Valley Feeders:

-20,000 head capacity

-can process two different batches of cattle at once

Nelson Farms:

-Crop rotation includes silage, wheat, corn, soybeans

-utilize fertilizer from livestock entities

Husky Hogs:

-New barns will be the most state of the art sow farm in the world

-Gestation pens will be implemented

-Flush pits every 3 days which helps keep smell controlled