A Candle Problem

What we face in Agriculture might be described as “A Candle Problem”, a seemingly simple conundrum posed to many folks to analyze their problem-solving abilities. However, it may not be that simple a problem. An interesting take on problem solving is presented in the video by Mr. Dan Pink. Think about problem solving as it pertains to the business of Agriculture, think of the challenges we face to operate and maybe more importantly the challenges we face in motivating people to communicate, collaborate, network and offer solutions. VALOR has put forth the notion in its Objectives the following.

• Enhance awareness, respect, and profitability of Virginia’s diverse agricultural systems
• Develop new partnerships and foster deeper collaboration across Virginia’s organizations, groups, and
sectors
• Improve communication and problem-solving ability of Virginia’s agricultural leaders
• Increase civic engagement and public affairs involvement for Virginia’s agricultural community

Mr. Dan Pink, TED TALK

The Inaugural Group of VALOR Fellows are charged with being the example, leading the charge, or setting the bar or however you want to describe their responsibility in meeting the stated objectives, but more importantly I believe we have a responsibility to motivate others to be willing participants in the process. Both as future VALOR Fellows and as volunteers in their communities all around Virginia.

When problems and challenges are broad and multi-faceted and solutions seem difficult to find, it may be time to approach “The Candle Problem” in a new way. Motivating people to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

A significant portion of our instruction is centered upon self-awareness, personal development and interpersonal skills. These are integral components of our ability to motivate others. Having these skills will enable us to meet our goals.

Whether it is a candle, some matches and a box of thumbtacks or rising fuel and fertilizer prices, lower commodity prices and a tractor and land payment due, there are solutions.

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