A couple of months ago, Pastor Shane from my church was teaching from Exodus and veered off to talk about reading your Bible, and he was fired up. During that sermon, he said two things that have stuck with me. First, and this part is irrelevant to this week's thoughts but still important, he said, "If you want to hear God talk to you, read your Bible out loud." The response in the church was a collective gut punch mixed with chortling. The second was an analogy that forms the basis of this week's thoughts. He had a bowl filled with water, an eye dropper, and a couple of dry sponges sitting on a table. As he demonstrated, he explained that most of us think that reading your Bible works like dunking a sponge in water. You get in it one time; it absorbs everything and comes out overflowing. Unfortunately, that's not the case. He then pivoted to depict reality using the eye dropper and the sponge. He said, "Maybe you start reading your Bible for a few days" and placed a drop on a dry sponge for each day. He explained how many of us quit the habit after a few days, and what we absorbed dries back up, and sometimes even becomes harder than before. He concluded the analogy by demonstrating what it looks like if you begin reading consistently, again adding a drop for each day. After a couple of months, the sponge had taken in enough to saturate and begin overflowing. With that visualization, let's look at how it applies to our business.
At Ag Partners we have three key priorities, and I believe that two of them align with the drop-on-a-sponge analogy. As we explore them, I think you'll agree.
Within this initiative, we have four specific areas of focus:
- CLARITY – embrace it and hold each other accountable.
- OWNERSHIP – when you know the why, you'll know the way.
- ATTITUDE – take ownership with intentionality. Don't rent it, own it!
- LEADERSHIP – be positive in finding success.
One specific focus within this initiative:
Center every decision we make around an exceptional customer experience.
Now that we're on the same page about our initiatives, I think it will start to become obvious how the analogy aligns. These focuses can't (and won't) be every once-in-a-while events. One great customer interaction doesn't equal an exceptional experience for every one of our customers and owning a situation every now and then isn't the culture we covet. Owning whatever situation we are in every single day is the key to a culture that allows our Ag Partners family's diverse talents and personalities to thrive in an atmosphere where we cheer each other on and support each other in our personal and professional journeys. Greatness in these two initiatives takes effort and application day after day, and I've been seeing it. I love watching the sponge continue to fill. I love seeing or hearing about an AgCEPTIONAL nominee going above and beyond. I love watching our team come early and stay late to ensure that our customers' orders are fulfilled. I love fighting through technological innovations to provide our customers and employees with an easier interface experience. I can honestly say that there are days when I see the sponge beginning to spill over.
That leads me to this week's challenge: Be a drop on the sponge. Whatever you do and wherever you are, make the decision to be all-in every single day! Be the reason that someone's sponge overflows. I promise that if you do, you'll find that your sponge absorbs even more.
I’m thankful that you were willing to go to work today, that you took the time to read this, and for being a part of what makes Ag Partners the world’s greatest cooperative!
Have an amazing day!