Jolene Brown: The Best of Both Worlds

There was a definite divide at the kitchen table. On one side were the parents in their 50's; on the other side, their son and daughter-in-law in their mid-20's. Not only were they physically distant…they were on opposite ends of important decisions. Though respectful of each other, tension was building as farm challenges were discussed.  Each generation worked very hard to document their position, absolutely positive that their platform was the best. Therefore the decision "was made."  A=A or B=B, but there will be no "A+B=C".

It was time for a bit of insight…and levity… so I handed each a note:

To the parents: "I may not be smart, but I sure am experienced!" 

To the adult children: "I may not be experienced, but I sure am smart!"

And then I offered, "What if we were both smart and experienced? Wouldn't that be a smarter foundation for these decisions? What if fresh learning and dream-laden ideas were combined with experience, wisdom and practical knowledge?"

We took a short break and when we returned, the camaraderie was back, answers to questions were really heard, risk was logically analyzed, and steps for "Plan C" evolved.

Whether in a board room, or sitting at a kitchen table, removing ego and pride in order to listen and learn is one of the top characteristics of today's successful ag business leaders. They know that often the best advice is the stuff they don't want to hear, yet each knows the value of turning to a mentor, or team of mentors, with the purpose of being challenged, stretched and advised. They want to learn from the experiences of others.

Successful leaders in today's family businesses also know they face rapid change - global and political influences on their markets, rules and regulations, a distancing relationship between food customer and food creator, technology adaptation, and the transition of management, leadership and ownership of the farm business.

Old ways of doing things may not work. It's important to look for fresh solutions and out-of- the-box opportunities. Let's appreciate those with a "Why not?" and "How else?" style of thinking. Let's appreciate those with a "Been there. Done that." successful track record.   

There is valuable synergy when the best of both worlds, wise experience and fresh learning, are combined. Not only are decisions made with more commitment to follow-through, there is also renewed energy, increased loyalty, better results, and everyone has a lot more fun.

Here's what I know…

School is never out for the pro and the teacher just might be the "child" invited into the business!

Nothing replaces the school of hard knocks, and protecting the business from repeat pain is a good thing.

It's a blessed business and family when they actually combine the best of both worlds.

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at,

Full Rights Consent.  Jolene Brown LLC, West Branch, Iowa, USA, maintains full rights to utilize the content and/or format of all materials submitted by her for the website in any future speaking, writing, audio, video or electronic format.

Copyright © 2014 Jolene Brown, LLC. All Rights Reserved Reproduction granted for by Jolene Brown

Share This

You may also like:

Hi there. Jolene Brown here. You can tell by the setting and the sounds that the seasons on the Brown farm have certainly changed. And that means the marathon of harvest has just begun.


Our families, our health, our communities, this crazy harvest we just are trying to complete...Be careful that you do not get compassion fatigue. Find out more with Jolene Brown.  


See our Gift Guide HERE.

Check out all the perfect gifts for your Pink Tractor ladies...even if that's you! 

Shop Now!


Jolene Brown dives deep into three gaps you can mind around the holidays with your family members, to allow this season to move along smoothly.


It is the spirit of Christmas that drives the Neubauers, even in the long, hot, sweaty summers when there is much work to be done. 


Believe it or not, the holiday season can be a time when people report their highest stress. Read this article on tips to manage holiday stress.


When folks who don't ranch or who aren't involved in ag see a cow, they don't "really" see her.


It’s the time when eager students get a feel for life on campus as they begin the college selection process.


The Christmas season always brings in a new year. We are reminded in this blog the clock keeps ticking and we become reflective.


Machinery breakdowns can be extremely expensive to fix - costing time and money. Pink Tractor provides a list of tips to help with future breakdowns.