Just Another Day at the Office…

Kevin communing with Red Angus
cattle at Kniebel Farm.

If you know anything about Midan, you know it’s not just an empty slogan when we say that we live, breathe and dream about meat.

Our recent annual Team Meeting bears this out in spades. While some companies jet off to Vegas or escape to Disney World to get away from the office, Midan takes a completely different approach: we head to America’s heartland. When the team first heard we were going to Manhattan for this year’s retreat, we were kind of stunned. Then we realized it was Manhattan, Kansas. Ah, that’s more like it.

While the annual meeting is a prime chance to bond with teammates, it’s also an important time to reconnect with the land and livestock. For us, continuing education happens out in the field — literally. As an eight-year veteran of Midan, I’ve toured more than a few cattle and hog farms and have learned that it’s not only what you see on the farm, but whom you meet there that reminds us of why we do what we do.

[Read more…]

On the Inside Looking In.

Think about your first day on the job. Chances are it went something like this:

Fill out paperwork, read a training manual, meet with HR, have IT set up your computer, meet a bunch of people and immediately forget their names….maybe a group lunch? With a few exceptions, this is a pretty by-the-book rundown of the onboarding process.

Midan is one of those exceptions.

Now, we’ve covered the culture of Midan from the perspective of a new hire before. There’s one important part that bears repeating: as part of the hiring process, you meet with everyone. Ev-ry-one. Be it by phone, Skype, in-person or on-site, you are gonna have a chat with the whole staff. Simply put, this is a master class in interviewing.

This could also be considered utter madness if it didn’t work so well. And it really does—by the time you come on board, you’ve interviewed them as much as they have you. At some point in the process, the shiny new “interview personality” breaks down and you’re just you, having a chat with another person. I didn’t know it at the time, but this instills a certain confidence that I’ve never experienced coming into a company. How cool is that?

Back to that first day. Mine consisted of walking out the door at 5 AM to head to the airport and hop a flight from Chicago to Nashville. Let that soak in for a minute. Yeah, my first day on the job happened to coincide with the annual Midan team meeting, held at the amazing Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Having the more mechanical introductions out of the way, I resigned myself to sit back and take it all in over the next few days.

Throughout meetings, what struck me was the two-way street that developed. I saw transparency that allowed people to talk about what was stressing them out, what needed to change and what their hopes for Midan Marketing were.

What I saw was a great team working towards something greater. That’s not just motivational poster tripe, either. As with any gathering of people, there are bound to be road bumps, miscommunication, and a real need to be heard. So to watch all this come at you in real time, to see dynamics shift and watch people leave with a resolve to do better…well, I stand by that statement.

The main takeaway here is twofold: 1) Pay attention to the place that goes beyond the normal interview/team building stuff. There’s likely something exciting and different happening. 2) Problems in a team are normal; it’s how they get addressed that make a place extraordinary.

So that was Day 1. Oh, and then we went line dancing.


To learn more about the Midan Team Meeting, view our photos here: https://www.facebook.com/MidanMarketing


Preparing the Next Generation of Marketers with Brahmans, Buggies and Books

By Michael Uetz

Once a year we close our offices and gather our team members in the same location.  For some companies, getting everyone in the same place wouldn’t be a big deal.  For us, it is.  We work out of two offices in two different states and have three more individuals in home offices in other states. Once a year we are all together for a few of days of work and fun. The objectives for this year’s meeting were two-fold: 1) to review Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, in order to ensure all team members understand and embrace his teachings for building an effective team, and 2) to allow team members to spend some casual time getting to know one another better.

Midan adopted the team building learnings from Lencioni’s book a number of years ago. In it, he identifies five pitfalls that teams often fall prey to that prevent effective teamwork. Those pitfalls are absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. Following his team building recommendations, over the years we believe we’ve developed an incredibly effective team that, as a result, delivers better results for our clients. We revisit Lencioni’s book every year during our team meeting, as it provides a great opportunity for the team members who have been with us for a long time to review the key learnings for team building, and it allows our new members to hear about and participate in the program.. Once again this year, our team’s discussion was inspiring. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read Lencioni’s book, I highly recommend it.

Another given for each of our team meetings is an industry tour of some sort. In the past we’ve visited cattle, hog and dairy operations.. Our goal is to educate team members on all aspects of the meat industry. While many of our team members grew up in agriculture, some did not. Our  team members that weren’t labeled as youngsters as “farm kids” are hired for their marketing/communications and/or research expertise. These tours allow us to introduce them to the meat industry and gain not only an understanding of its structure, but also instill in them an appreciation for those who raise and care for the animals that feed our nation and the world.

This year’s team meeting was held in Orlando, FL and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit KEMPFER CATTLE CO., (a family cow/calf operation), located just south of Orlando in Saint Cloud. Kempfer Cattle Co. is currently being managed by fourth and fifth generation family members who are determined to make a difference in all that they do. While their operation is well diversified, including a saw mill, hunting operation and sod farm, in addition to their purebred Brahman and commercial cattle programs, the core of this family operation lies in producing the best beef they possibly can. Their purebred Brahman program includes genetics research designed to improve the tenderness and quality of their Brahman beef. They’ve taken on this challenge not only as a way to ensure opportunities for the next generations of Kempfers on the ranch, but also to improve the Brahman breed and make it a high demand item for Florida and other warm climate producers to raise and market.

But as important as their work in genetics and diversification, what struck me from our visit to the ranch was the family’s commitment to continue to build a solid foundation upon which future generations of Kempfers will be able to stay involved in agriculture as long as they have the desire. You could not help but feel the passion this family has for their cattle, the land, and this way of life. Billy and Reed (fourth generation), Henry,  George and Jimmy (fifth generation) spent half a day with our Midan team sharing details of their operation, its long history, and the challenges and opportunities it provided to all family members over the years. We discussed current industry issues, breed genetics improvements, challenges in inheritance opportunities, the importance of diversification, and the logistics of raising, feeding and marketing cattle in up markets and down. We rode what the team affectionately called “Swamp Buggies” across acres and acres of land to look over their pure-bred and commercial herds and saw firsthand the result of all their hard work. It was an incredible day, and an amazing opportunity for the Midan team.

At the end of our day as our team debriefed on our experience at Kempfer Cattle Co., I could tell that this family had provided us with the ideal opportunity to share with our team an example of why we do what we do day in and day out. We do it for families like the Kempfers. We do it in order to assist in creating opportunity for all those men and women who work the land and raise their animals in an effort to do what they love on a daily basis, but also to develop products that feed a hungry world. To the Kempfer family and all the other farmers and ranchers out there who do the same every day, we thank you for all you do and wish you success and longevity.

The Value of a Personal Mission Statement

Most companies today know the value of a company mission statement. It clarifies what the company is all about. It states more than a mission, it identifies the core purpose of a company. At Midan Marketing, we review a business book every few months. During one of these reviews, we covered The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. This book has been around since the 1980’s and is still as relevant today as it was when it was written. [Read more…]

How do you spend your 168?

We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, totaling to 168 hours a week. How we choose to spend it is up to us.

The Midan Marketing team recently got together for our annual team meeting in Statesville, N.C. (Yay team go!). We discussed many topics, but the one that I was especially interested in was work/life balance and time management. [Read more…]