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“Because personality and behavioural traits are discussed in a group environment everyone can now recognise and is aware of it. The best example is it has made our team conscious that you need to own a problem rather than just moaning about something! As agriculture is playing catch up with other industries and farmers are becoming more professional managing staff, this course is a great start to people’s personal development plans along with improving the performance of everyone in our business – including the family who own the business!!”

Owner, Pilkington Farm

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REAL Success | Agricultural Recruitment | Pilkington Farms
REAL Success | Agricultural Recruitment | Pilkington Farms

Pilkington Farms are a family owned, progressive multi site dairy farming business with units based in Northamptonshire and Warwickshire – Two spring-block calving units with mainly New Zealand Holstein Friesian cows but some crossbreds and one autumn-block calving unit with crossbred cows.

With 1,200 cows milked and 600 heifers on the ground, they rear all their own replacements, producing about 500kg MS a cow at 4.6% fat and 3.6% protein.

Milk is sold to Arla on a manufacturing contract, with one farm being part of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group.

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The Situation

REAL Success worked with the team in 2014 when the business was growing rapidly and support was provided for recruitment and building the teams on the various units. Since then, a number of team changes and different personalities have resulted in new managers and staff on the farms.  Matt Pilkington felt it was the right time to upskill his management team and also re-visit some of the training and learning provided in 2014, with the aim of getting the teams working more effectively together.

The Task

The Managers across all units had not undertaken any formal training courses in leadership and management and whilst attendance at discussion groups and events can provide some support, it was felt that a more formal approach was required to upskill the management team.  The changes in staff, along with some individuals becoming frustrated with others in their teams, also required a re-visit of the personality style assessment process to improve understanding, reduce tensions and improve morale.

Action

  • The unit managers attended the Effective People Management 4 session programme over a five-month period which covered the following:-
    • Your Leadership Style and how this affects performance of your team
    • Productivity and Managing Resources including managing change, handling resistance, planning and organising, time management and delegation
    • Managing Performance including how a leader impacts team performance, giving effective feedback, body language, the importance of accountability and coaching for success.
    • Creating a Positive Working Environment covering developing core values and a positive workplace culture together with dealing with conflict.
  • The Team Dynamics workshop was attended by the entire team and used the VITA Profiling® system to analyse and explain the personality style of each member of the team and how they prefer to communicate and work together.

Results

  • Each member of staff has a booklet containing all of the team’s VITA personality profiles and this is now used as a common reference point when misunderstandings or frustrations occur. Both managers and staff are able to flex their communication styles based on who they are working with on a particular day. This has hugely reduced tensions and improved effective working practices and team morale.
  • Each manager has a folder with a workbook from each part of the People Manager programme and they are able to refer back to important aspects of the training when required. The team have already used the change curve, accountability ladder and passive resistance diagrams and has them pinned up in their staff rest rooms. These have been referred to already in team meetings in a positive way.

If you’re looking to improve the performance of your farm staff like this, we can help.