A leader must set and articulate clear purpose to build and expand their business.

In the mid-1960s, my dad had an interest in growing grapes and making good wine. He believed that Michigan had the potential to do so. He had no big plans to grow thousands of vines or build a winery, rather he simply wanted a place to spend weekends away from Chicago and start his hobby. 

In 1966 we purchased a run-down farm near the little village of Baroda, about 90 miles from Chicago. We continued to live in Chicago and spent every weekend on the farm. We spent most of our time improving the property. This meant tearing down dilapidated outbuildings, restoring the old peg-and-beam barn, and making the house more habitable. There were a few acres of asparagus and black raspberries, but eventually, this gave way to vineyards. My dad was the first to plant French Vinifera – Chardonnay – in southwest Michigan.

In a few years, our vineyard acreage grew to 15. Most of these were French hybrids, but he also began experimenting with many other varieties. Most of our crop was sold to home winemakers and dad used the balance to make his own wine.

Dad had a vision. He was clear on his purpose and invested his time and resources accordingly. He communicated this purpose to his family and friends. He collaborated with the original founder of Tabor Hill Winery regarding growing grapes and making wine. While later in life he slowed considerably. Dad never wavered from that original vision to have a few acres of grapes and enjoy this as a hobby.

One of the principal roles of a leader is to set and articulate a clear purpose for the organization’s growth. This must be well communicated to garner success. What is your vision or purpose? Is it clear? Are you passionate about it? Are the priorities clear? Do others around you understand it and know how to act on it? 

Today, there are nine full production wineries within a few miles of Baroda. If you ever travel through southwest Michigan, stop at one of our wineries, and try some of our great wines. Let’s raise a glass to my dad’s memory as we do so.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go to LinkedIn to add your comments. 

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,

Steve

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