Growth Mindset: The Key to Resilience and Continuous Improvement

April 02, 2024

In the dairy industry, uncertainty is a constant; so fostering a growth mindset and prioritizing learning and leadership development have been essential to continuous improvement at Foremost Farms, a major dairy manufacturing business and member cooperative.

Our team of talented dairy and functional professionals have used their experience, knowledge and leadership skills to help us navigate through uncertain times, enabling us to weather storms and continue to become stronger than ever. I’ve also witnessed the transformative potential of investing in our people to cultivate their leadership skills.

Embracing a growth mindset isn’t just a trend; it’s a philosophy that is shaping our culture. It’s about being open to new ideas and new ways of thinking to solve tough challenges. We’ve embedded this mindset into our MVP (our Mission, Values and Purpose) and Leadership Framework, encouraging each other to be One Team that embraces and innovates to meet challenges, learns from failures and continuously seeks opportunities for growth. By believing abilities and knowledge can be developed through curiosity, sharing knowledge and hard work, we have achieved remarkable results through continuous improvement across Foremost Farms.

We believe in an unwavering commitment to investing in employee development, which we also extend to a cohort of interns each summer – allowing them to learn from the best mentors in the dairy business and giving our professionals the opportunity to teach. We firmly believe nurturing leadership skills at all levels of the organization is essential for driving innovation, fostering engagement and evolving our cooperative. Through training programs, mentorship initiatives and ongoing learning opportunities, we empower employees to unleash their full potential and become leaders in their respective roles.

The results of our leadership development is evident when thinking about how Foremost Farms faced disruptions of the past few years, financial challenges, volatile market conditions, staffing, relocation and other organizational changes. Our leaders at every level demonstrated resilience, creativity and agility. They worked cross-functionally, brainstormed innovative solutions and adapted to mitigate risks and act on emerging opportunities. They became more strategic and customer-centric and cut out waste. Foremost Farms acted as a team of leaders.

The journey of Foremost Farms underscores the critical importance of fostering a growth mindset, prioritizing lifelong learning and investing in employees to build leadership skills. These elements drive individual and organizational continuous improvement and also serve as powerful catalysts for resilience, innovation and success in navigating through the most challenging of times.

Contributed by Greg Schlafer, President and CEO of Foremost Farms USA, a dairy cooperative and major dairy food and ingredients manufacture. Schlafer has more than 30 years of experience in executive management and strategic decision-making roles at leading food manufacturing companies and has a proven track record of business and leadership success.