Tell Me What I Want to Hear

Those of us who are Hunters tend to be in a hurry. Hunters are linear; we move from objective to objective in as close to a straight line (allowing for our ADD “squirrels”) as we can. The completion of any goal is merely the first step towards the completion of the next goal.

The farmers who work with and for us are different. They prefer cyclical tasks, with a beginning a middle and an end. Completion preferably means starting the cycle again. They take pride in perfecting their cyclical systems. The production cycle, the budget cycle, the marketing cycle — all have processes that can be mastered with repetition.

farmer on tractorThis doesn’t make farmers drones or automatons. A farmer can be just as competitive as any hunter and just as skilled. He or she is simply part of the large majority that is more comfortable with the known than with the unknown. Hunters like not knowing the complete answer. It is more fun to figure it out.

Hunters choose to experiment, often with a strong suspicion that they will fail at least once before finding an answer to the problem. Farmers prefer to have greater confidence that a satisfactory solution lies at the end of their efforts.

When farmers have to answer to hunters, there is often a communication gap. The hunter seeks an answer to a problem. He or she knows that there are variables, things change, and no answer is permanent or infallible. The farmer’s definition of knowing the answer is knowing the answer.

The hunter answers questions about a plan with confidence, knowing full well that the answer is situational and circumstances may change, in which case there is no obligation to stick with the last iteration. The farmer would prefer not to answer at all until there is a clearly defined pathway to success.

So the hunters asks a farmer for a solution. The farmer says he doesn’t have one. The hunter decides the farmer must be stupid, or at least a weak decision maker. He tells the farmer that it’s his job to come up with answers, or he (hunter) will make the decisions himself.

So next time, the farmer gives a definitive answer rather than be branded as a loser. Neither the decision process nor the probability of success has changed, but the hunter is happy because he heard what he wanted to hear.

Take the Hunter Quiz and see if you are Hunting in a  Farmer’s World.


Ippy SilverHunting in a Farmer’s World has been named  the National Silver Medal Award winner by the Independent Publishers Association as one of the year’s best business books. Thank you!


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One Response to Tell Me What I Want to Hear

  1. David Basri says:

    From a definite hunter, I would agree that farmers prefer cycles and prefer predictability. However, I would also argue that farmers, at least real ones, are some of the best there are at dealing with variables and unpredictability. They know what the optimum cycle should be, and they know that the weather is unlikely to cooperate, the price of fuel is volatile, and they have to plant today to get commodities prices they do not control six months later. Throw a wrench into the engine and most real farmers will figure out a way to fix the fan blade to finish the plowing.

    Hunters might adapt by choosing a different goal or strategy. Farmers adapt by fixing the specific issue to get the cycle back on track.

    The difference in communication style is real. Metaphors only go so far.

    David Basri

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