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Leadership Course Standards

 Organizational Leadership and Communications is an applied-knowledge course for students interested in learning more about the attributes and skills of successful leaders in the Agriculture industry. This course covers organizational behavior, communication, management, and leadership topics. Students in this course participate in activities that will assist them in the development of communication and interpersonal skills transferrable to any agribusiness application.

Career Awareness

1) Use local news media, organizational websites, and real-time labor market information to investigate occupations in business leadership and communications. Compare and contrast the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for employment, as well as the typical level of education required.

2) Demonstrate the ability to prepare basic personal and business records to complete taxes, employment, and SAE related applications, including resume, budgets, income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, profit and loss statements, and equity statements.

Organizational Structure and Performance

3) Consult case studies, business journals, and news articles to determine the relationships between organizational performance and human capital, social capital, organizational learning, total quality management, and customer satisfaction. Analyze case studies to identify the elements supporting high-performing organizations and describe how successful agribusinesses incorporate them.

4) Define organizational behavior, citing examples from agricultural businesses currently in operation. Produce a narrative or annotated timeline analyzing the major developments and features of the agriculture industry that have influenced changes in organizational behavior over the past century. These features include but are not limited to: scientific advancements, transportation of goods, labor market shifts, labor organization, the rise of large corporations, subsidies, automation, information technology, and globalization.

5) Compare and contrast characteristics of models of organizational change. Analyze a case study in which an organization faced an unplanned change and develop a written argument supporting transformational change as a preventive measure.  

6) Differentiate between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and summarize how each influences employee productivity. Develop a list of strategies for motivating individuals or groups and write business scenarios in which the strategies apply.

7) Create an annotated graphic (such as a flowchart, table, or mind map) illustrating the stages of team development. Draw conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of group decision-making and evaluate the potential effectiveness of group decision-making at each stage.


8) Practice effective verbal and nonverbal communication for use in business environments via role-plays. Contrast communication appropriate for an agribusiness environment versus an informal setting.

9) Recognize the consequences of poor communication skills and describe the importance of effective communication among team members. Apply concepts of giving and receiving oral and written instructions to accomplish a complex task.  

10) Define constructive criticism; analyze potential conflicts involved in giving and receiving feedback; and create a plan for engaging in productive dialogue. Role-play work-related feedback as an employer and as an employee. Demonstrate active listening and appropriate response skills.

11) Cite evidence to support the idea that conflict is a normal part of work relationships. Compare and contrast assertive and aggressive communication in conflicts. Apply concepts pertaining to different methods for handling conflicts by participating in role-play exercises and constructively critiquing the practices of others.  

12) Analyze the potential customer impact of sample verbal, print, and electronic communications in agribusiness. Examine case studies in which various forms of communication have facilitated or hampered effective business operations.  

Management and Leadership

13) Develop a hypothesis surrounding the character traits and interpersonal skills needed by effective agribusiness managers. Determine which individual traits and skills can be developed and create a plan for personal growth. Example traits and skills include but are not limited to: enthusiasm, effective communication, decision making, risk evaluation, self-discipline, integrity, lifelong learning, and teamwork.  

14) Analyze the outcomes of case studies or current events and critique how organizational leaders managed people and made decisions. Write a narrative advocating alternative management strategies that would benefit the organization and which lead to either a better financial outcome or improved employee motivation.  

15) Define organizational culture and evaluate the role of business leaders in establishing and maintaining a workplace in which employees work cooperatively with others from diverse backgrounds.

16) Research a variety of project management models and create a visual representation to show important connections and distinctions between the essential phases of each model. Select one model and modify it to meet the needs of a sample organization; justify its application in an agribusiness setting.  

17) Research professional ethical standards from recognized national organizations (such as the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Business Cooperative Service). Synthesize principles from the standards to create a personal code of agribusiness ethics designed to address professional, ethical, and legal issues such as:

a. Conducting business with friends, relatives, or competitors

b. Sales incentives

c. Pricing policies

d. Illegal practices

e. Behavior toward customers, employees, and shareholders

18) Demonstrate knowledge of basic parliamentary procedures by planning and conducting a simulated annual or monthly stockholders meeting for a small agricultural corporation or cooperative. Develop an agenda and take official minutes. Identify meeting materials to be used, including data and reports, and outline the responsibilities of organizational leadership in facilitating the meeting.

19) Formulate a hypothesis about the relationship between the stages of innovation adoption (knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, confirmation) and the rate of innovation adoption (innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority, laggard). Analyze the role that opinion leaders play in the adoption process. Write coherent arguments based on evidence from real-world examples to support the hypothesis.

20) Analyze case studies of stakeholder resistance to change, identify the causes, and propose measures for overcoming resistance.

21) Compare and contrast theories of persuasion and influence (reciprocity, commitment, social proof, liking, authority, scarcity) and apply these theories to agricultural sales and marketing communications.

22) Synthesize the understanding of stakeholder resistance, adoption models, and persuasion theories. Develop a sales plan for a new agricultural product or service (such as commodity trading to farmers). Deliver a focused, coherent presentation on the plan.




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