What is your current reality? In agriculture, this changes all the time. I believe the most powerful tool at our disposal is observation. However are we using this tool as well as we could?
We all seem to have very busy lifestyles now. There are time demands from business, family, community, education, legislation etc. Therefore, we are always having to choose between a number of pressing tasks and a long list of things that you need or want to do. Sound familiar?
As a result, we rarely give our selves permission to pause, even for a moment to take a look around. To see what is happening. To take the pulse of our country. If our country and animals could talk, what are they trying to tell us?
We usually get time to do this when we are walking a mob of stock. What if you're not doing much of the mustering/stock moves anymore?
I often hear people say, "I'm driving around the place all the time". I'm sorry, you aren't really taking the pulse of your land at 100km/h with the windows wound up and the wireless on.
I suggest we need to think of the time we could spend pausing to take a real look around as an investment, not a job to do in your spare time (be honest, the spare time jobs list is getting kinda long). This time is an investment in keeping your finger on the pulse so that you know what your current reality is.
If you've got your finger really on the pulse then you'll see what adjustments need to be made and when. This means the timing of your decisions will be better. This means you'll feel more in control as you proactively make decisions.
A sheep producer just told me that he made a decision that was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars because he went for a drive to check feed quality and amount instead of being on the board at shearing time. He took the time to trust the team to shear while he looked at the overall business and realised the feed wasn't what he expected. Why did he get a surprise? He had been too busy running around doing all the other tasks that he hadn't taken the time to have a real look.
So, add on some time next time you go for a water run to stop and take a good look around with your team.
- David is chief of delivery for agricultural consulting and education company, RCS Australia. www.rcsaustralia.com.au 1800 356 004