Failure is the Best Way to Move Forward, Kieron Hales Ep 89

In the first episode we learned that Kieron Hales, Managing Partner of Cornman Farms, is multi-talented and is moved to creating a family. He intentionally looks to garner the input of his team through lean and open book practices. This week we look at the results of this inspiration and intentionality. The biggest lesson, he didn’t know anything when he started and failure is the best way to move the company forward.

Listen into the end of my conversation with Kieron and I’ll catch you on the other side.

The Big Board at Cornman Farms – Open Book Management at Work

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Next up for Cornman:

  1. Make Cornman Farms more of a culinary destination
  2. Hiring a chef
  3. Leave the grounds better than they found it. Working on their 200 year vision. He wants to change out 100-200 year old trees that are aren’t so hard on the ground cover.
  4. Seasonal and winter menus
  5. Develop animal and plant options at the farm
  6. Add more classes


Events at Cornman Farms

Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

Tom Holt – Falling Sideways – has a quirky ending

The Life of Pi – different ending. He likes quirky changes in his life.

He has 8,500 cookbooks – needless to say, he gets some inspiration from them.

Elizabeth David

The Time Life Magazine Cookbook Series

Joy by the Menlo innovations team – Menlo Innovation Interviews on the Inspired and Intentional Business Show.

Willow art and fences –

Notes taken during the editing of the episode

Business – what has he learned in the first 3 years? How little he knew about running a business.

Also, his business plans and proformas were all valuable but meant little once the business began.

His pricing model didn’t meet customer expectations in this market. He needed to change it, which he did.

He thought everyone would stay with him forever…they don’t. He’s always looking for family, based on his own family background.

He didn’t realize he would become the brand and the face of the farm.

Where do you start to improve your company? Try something small, maybe even starting in your personal life to test it out. Be it lean or bottom line change.

If  you can’t get people on board perhaps it’s time for you to change where you’re working.

Don’t worry about failing. He gives an example of labelling food for re-order and how it didn’t work out at first. But they tweaked it and no

An example of a change that worked: counting cutlery by weight instead of counting individually.

What’s something he wants to put out there that are struggling to work through – who knows, perhaps a listener could help: They are open in the winter and need to get more business there. Give them a call and see what they can do for your winter event.

They are cash positive after 3 years. And they’re on their way to positive operating income.