Cooperation Tools for Farm and Marketing Associations

4. How do we get to where we want to go?

  • Work steps

    You can download the content of this section as a Word file → here.

    The following definitions of terms should serve as a basis for working together with a common understanding. The terms do not have to be used exactly aswritten. Their use should be adapted to the needs of individual communities.

    Mission statement: a powerful, often challenging medium to long term guiding statement for the next 5-10 years, formulated as briefly and concisely as possible, which does not contain any concrete goals or action steps.

    Strategy: states how the company will move in the direction of the mission statement on both a multi-year (approx. 3-5 ) and annual basis. Associated goals and action steps are mutually agreed upon, as what is needed to implement the strategy.

    Goals: describe what exactly is to be achieved and how. They are specific, measurable, actionable, and time bound. They are formulated in a motivating and concrete way. Associated targets/measures/indicators are usually planned at least annually as part of the annual planning meeting.

    Measures: measures to achieve the goals/objectives are derived from the goals/objectives themselves; these describe the task, who is responsible, and the timeline for completion.

    Why are we asking „how do we get to where we want to go“?

    Successfully moving the company forward in a desired direction is satisfying, establishes a community, creates capacity, and inspires further development. In general, reaching the future we envision is only achieved by moving away from "we should" and "we must" and towards creating the possibilities we want by planning and implementing concrete goals and measures. Clarification, specification and implementation strengthen a community. Warning: getting stuck in the draft and dreaming stages without taking concrete action can have a demotivating and weakening effect in the long term.

    What recommendations do we have for addressing the question „How do we get to where we want to go“?

    1. Ask the question every time new shareholders/responsible individuals join the cooperative.
    2. Plans should be completely revised, rewritten, so that new partners/members see themselves and their ideas in the organisation.
    3. The creation, revision and review of goals and measures as an ongoing process. In the annual planning, the completion of last year's goals is evaluated, the multi-year goals are checked for consistency, and goals and measures for the coming year are set.
    4. It’s helpful to maintain some liveliness and flexibility. When a goal is reached, something new might take its place, that the community developed together.

    Work steps

    For the “bigger picture” necessary and desired areas, strategies are decided, multi-year goals are selected, and annual goals and measures are defined. This was articulated in the previous work steps.

    In this work step, work step four, a rough framework is defined for and mainly by the person who takes responsibility for the area. This section exists because of, and is only successful, if the person responsible for it takes ownership of the area and brings energy and liveliness to the tasks. It exists in the space between what all the paricipants of a community want and the outlook of the person responsible for it. Importantly, strategies and goals should have a corresponding time frame, and concrete steps for the next years are formulated.

    1. All necessary and desired areas of the company/community are named.
    2. For each area, everyone will answer togehter: "What motivates us to implement this area?” The answers will connect the areas to the mission statement.
    3. Identifying goals and objectives
      • Strategies, i.e. multi-year goals, interim goals and measures, always have a reference to the overall core mission statement.
      • Next goals are formulated for the individual areas
        • e.g. for the cow operation: motherbonded calf rearing
        • e.g. acquire X new partner enterprises for ...
      • Finally, articulate concrete steps, time frames and responsibilities
        • e.g. "By 2020 we want to convert our chicken farming to dual purpose chicken farming. Intermediate steps towards this goal are ... by ... is responsible ....
        • e.g. “Martin contacts and visits (and discusses possibilities of cooperation) by ... the following companies: ....
        • You can find a simple table template for goal planning in “Materials.”
      • It is important to not only address the technical areas of the enterprise, such as barns, agriculture, and marketing, but also to incorporate social goals into your plan, by answering questions such as:
        • how do we want to interact with each other?
        • what type of meeting culture do we want to create?
        • how do we address generation differences and changes?

    Possible variations and alternatives

    1. Interim Targets
      • Multiannual objectives, intermediate objectives, actions, responsibilities, and goals are more likely to be achieved if there is a well thought out plan in place.
      • To this end, it is helpful to write interim targets for each multi-year goal, identify important indicators, and state a timeline and responsible individual(s).
      • It is important to not take-on too much or too little. You want to feel sufficiently challenged, but not frustrated and overwhelmed. After writing everything down, staying focused once the requirements and pressures of every day life come back requires very individual methods. Possibilities are, among other things, intermediate goals in the appointment calendar or the planning of fixed times per week which are available for checking in about short- medium- and long- term goals. For accountability’s sake, it is helpful to involve other people or tell them about it. When you meet the person, you are reminded again and again of your own plans, or you are even asked about them.
      • A simple table for goal planning can be found under Worksheet.
    2. Destination map
      • A popular method is to plan the pathway to acheiving objectives with cards on the floor (or with smaller cards on a table), preferably together with colleagues or at least one or more trusted persons.
      • Write the multi-year goal that you want to acheive on a moderation card along with the target date. Using more cards, work backwards from this date to identify when the intermediate goals need to be achieved in order to realize the big goal. You can also do this on the floor, stand on the goal card, imagine that it has already been reached and look back from this view to see which intermediate steps are necessary. This can develop a lot of strength, make it easier to find the intermediate goals and give courage for the first steps.
  • Work document

    You can download our work document here:

  • Additional materials for marketing associations

    The following material is intended as general guidance. The legal and fiscal validity must be obtained on your own responsibility.

    Community activity

    Marketing and public relations strategy

    Membership pricing models

    Partnership concept

    Product exclusivity

You can find further documents and materials in German language here.