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P2 Relationship Business

This February, the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) co-hosted a three-day Avian Influenza and Broiler Movement event and tabletop exercise. For one participant, the experience showed that all businesses are--at the core--relationship businesses, and that common problems can also serve as opportunities. P2 New CAHFS Colors

The following article was first published in the Feathered Pen, the newsletter for the Midwest Poultry Consortium. We are positing it in P2, because it highlights the need and value of collaboration, from a private sector partner point of view.

Every Business is a Relationship Business

Lexann Reischl, Corporate Relations Manager, GNP Company

If you’ve been working in business for any amount of time, it’s likely you’ve heard the phrase, “Every business is a relationship business.” But what does that exactly mean? And—is it really true? I recently had the privilege of experiencing a real-life example of this phrase’s spirit, and I can tell you that it IS true. And, how the value of the experience for all involved will likely prove priceless in the long run. Following are key takeaways that I personally gathered that may be of interest.

Birds of a Feather
To start, this past February, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the University of Minnesota brought together nearly 65 people from across the nation to participate in an unprecedented three-day event around Avian Influenza prevention and management. The goal of the event was to showcase the effectiveness of the Minnesota H5/H7 Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Response Plan with the Emergency Disease Management Plan Committee (EDMC) for federal government officials and to build relationships with those officials ahead of a potential disease event. Whether we know it or not, our ability to work together in Minnesota, as birds of a feather—whether turkey, chicken or egg—is uniquely Minnesotan, a phenomenon not generally experienced in other states. A powerful advantage for Minnesota’s poultry industry, the event will help mitigate the future risk of business disruption for companies, customers, and consumers alike.

Challenges are the Birthplaces of Opportunity & Collaboration
Bill Gates’ first business failed. Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old. Benjamin Franklin’s parents could only afford to keep him in school until his tenth birthday. But all of these men went on to achieve great things. And, had things come easy, we may never have had Microsoft®, the theory of relativity, or bifocal lenses.
When it comes to Avian Influenza preparedness in Minnesota, our challenge starts with the fact that its human residents aren’t the only ones who find beauty in our State or choose to become snow birds in the winter. So do millions of wild, migratory birds. Just like many of us, these birds choose to take the scenic route through Minnesota on their way to warmer winter and cooler summer destinations. As an industry, this means an increased diligence and shared best practices to keep influenza viruses from entering our facilities.
It’s this common challenge that has made us better collaborators, from the start. With facilities so close to one another, preventing disease isn’t just one company’s responsibility—it’s become all of our responsibilities. During this event, we were able to demonstrate, firsthand, the effectiveness of our biosecurity and collaboration with one another to prevent disease, given our proximity to one another.

Key Takeaway and Call to Action: What common problem or opportunity does your company share with others? Looking at the same problem through different eyes can spark new ideas, innovation, and partnerships.

Shared Values & Common Ground Start with People
Read the news or listen to headlines and one would think the entire country is run by mechanisms, from Big Government to Academia to Corporate Farming, churning out policy, white papers, and products. Truth is, no matter the sector or type of industry, each begins and ends with people. And that’s a powerful concept.

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