January 09, 2017

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks, welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. We’re going to have a great show today. We’re going to talk, It’s going to be kind of a cross between a Christmas list, New Year’s resolutions and moving forward and some of the things that I see on farms and ranches on a day-to-day basis like producers wanting to do better. Thanks for joining us, and stay tuned for the show.

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(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks. Welcome to DocTalk. Dr. Dan here. First of all, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. We’ve all got a lot of good things going on in our lives. We’ve had some tough times, some good times in 2016, and we’re moving into 2017. I thought, you know, I’d like to do a show that’s maybe a little more personal. Something that we can spend some time together. It’s not going to be a cookie cutter or something that one size that fits all. I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions, talk about moving on, moving to the next project or goal on your farm and ranch. I think that some of the things that we get caught up in as far as beef producers, farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and, I don’t know, maybe someone who owns a pizza shop, we all have the same issues – trying to figure out what projects we want to do. I walk into my house or walk out onto a farm, and you see things that you want to fix. What we tend to want to do is eat the elephant in one bite. We start on a whole bunch of different projects and don’t get them finished because we’re going to fix everything this year at once. Where we’re at in the commitment curve, where we’re at on starting projects, sticking to them and finishing them. One of the things that you can do to stay out of paralyzed indecision, which to me is the start, looking at your production unit, your operation or your family ranch as a total unit. You say, “I want to fix all these things this year,” gets us trapped in paralyzed indecision because we don’t know which one to grab a hold of first. We try to grab a hold of them all. What I would really suggest we do is we pick out one, two or three bites that we want to take and really follow through on them. Probably the best example in the beef industry to me is when we decided we wanted to change injection sites. We focused on continuing education. We focused on providing wet labs. We really made that a priority of moving injection sites from the top butt to the neck. When we do that, we were very successful. New Year’s Resolutions date back to the Julius Caesar time period. Really, what New Year’s Resolutions were a time for a new start and a fresh start. At the end of the year, they decided, “We had some bad things happen this year. Let’s forget about the past. Let’s partition that off and let’s move on to a new year, to a new set, new resolutions.” It’s really about moving forward. About New Year’s Resolutions and making a resolution for your farm or ranch, one of the things that has interested me is that 45% of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions and only 8% of the people that set New Year’s Resolutions actually follow through and are successful. Most importantly, the people who write them down, or the people who make a New Year’s Resolution, they’re 10 times more likely to actually accomplish that resolution or accomplish that project than someone who doesn’t set one at all. While the odds are not in our favor [Laughs] of succeeding and getting this project done or this new paradigm in your farm or ranch, if you write it down, and if you make it a known goal for you, to your family and the people working around you, you have 10 times more chance of actually accomplishing that goal than you would if you don’t do it at all. What we’re going to do here today is, we’re going to talk about setting those New Year’s Resolutions for your farm or ranch, setting some new goals, giving you some ideas. Thanks for watching the show. We’ll see you here after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks. Welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here. I’m at Kansas State University. We’re talking about New Year’s Resolutions or moving forward in your operations. In 1950, Norman Vincent Peale wrote an article in the St. Petersburg Times on New Year’s Resolutions. He had heard a physician at Yale give a talk about an ocean liner that came across the Atlantic Ocean. With the press of a button, the captain on that ocean liner could hit a button and it would wall off the bulkhead underneath the ship if there would become a leak. What those dropping doors would do is they would seal off one area of the ship and allow the ship to stay afloat. He likened that to being able to let go of the past and to be able to shut a door on the past. When you think about New Year’s Resolutions, and Norman Vincent Peale said he was against New Year’s Resolutions because he felt if it was something that was worth being a resolution, you should be doing it everyday not just once a year. It’s really about taking a moment in time that we’re going to wall off the bulkhead, forget about some of the things in the past and start working forward towards new goals. What I see on operations, one thing we can’t forget about is our experiences of handling cattle. Things that we did right or wrong in the past of management practices. Things that we did during storms, droughts and things to that nature because that’s learning and taking those types of educational opportunities or managerial practices forward. When I see on ranches, farms, ranches, veterinary clinics and things to that nature and things that we really need to shut that bulkhead and wall off in the past are things that are human-to-human interactions in our work places. I guess that’s one of the things that if before we can move forward with new goals with the same team, if we have things that are in the past that maybe that person didn’t show up for work on time or maybe that something didn’t happen, we need to either talk about it now and move past that so that we can work together as a team towards new goals or we need to have a new team. I think that those are some of the things that I think about in moving forward by letting go of the past. When we start to think about this, for me the hardest part and I’ll use myself as an example, the hardest part for me is forgiving, forgetting and letting go. I’m really good at charging on to the new project. I’m really good at committing to the new project. It’s something that I have to constantly work on with our team members. I tend to think about things that happened in the past. When you start to get pass that, that’s when especially with your team and with the people that work with you on your farm ranch or veterinary clinic. Starting there and then moving forward is when we’re going to be able to start setting goals and moving to the mark. When you see it in Biblical terms it says, “Forgetting those things that are behind us in reaching forward to those things that are before. I will press forward to the mark.” We got to forget, we got to set things that we’re going to do tomorrow and we got to go after the things that we write down on the mark. More after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here. We’re talking about setting New Year’s Resolutions. I set them. I try to set them all the time and move forward. Now we’re going to get to the part that I think is easier for most and that’s, “Okay, I want to sit down. I want to write down some goals and commit to them.” Well, one of the things on farms and ranches, veterinary clinics, any kind of business you have, the first you thing you have to do is prioritize. A professor walks into a classroom and he sets some big rocks, some little rocks, some sand on the table and he takes a mason jar and he sets it out. He says, “All right, I want to put all of these components in this jar. Which ones would you put in first?” What it comes down to is you have to put the big rocks in first, followed by the smaller rocks and then you put in the sand, which will fill in around the cracks. What this represents is the bigger rocks are your priorities and those are things that you have to put in the Mason jar first. When you start to think about things on your ranch or in your feedlot that-, or dairy, hog operations and you start to think about the big rocks. Animal health, environmental stewardship, food safety and security, performance and efficiency, all of these different things are part of your core or part of your core values. I start to figure out what are our core values. What would be a priority or what would be a project within those core areas would be one that we’re going to work on this year. You whittle it down to the sand or to some of those things that once you’ve covered the basics then you can start to develop more projects and simpler projects, but we really need to focus on the core. Let’s take an example of animal handling or animal welfare on your farm and ranch. One of the first things would be a simple goal, would be Beef Quality Assurance Certified. You and your ranch members ought to look at some other type of training that you say, “I’m going to get better in this area.” If you’re going to, look for opportunities with your Extension Services. Talk to your veterinarian, talk to your nutritionist about opportunities to glean knowledge in these topic areas. I could think of lots of them when it comes to AI efficiency, when I think to pregnancy conception rates, when I think about the nutrition of my cowherd and really dialing in on our nutrition. Starting to work on cutting expenses and improving performance, the adoption of technology within your farm and ranch, whether it’s the capabilities of looking at record systems, drones, different technology products whether it’s steroid implants, developing a program to improve the food efficiency, new vaccination protocols, things to that nature. Just some things that I’m spitballing that all wind being in the core of the big rocks. Animal health, production efficiency and profitability of your ranch, income streams cost, things to those natures that are going to be things that are going to come back to you and things that we can work on as a team. You have to make sure the team is on board; you have to write the goals down, you have to track and report back to yourself on how you are making progress on these goals. When we come back, we are going to do a wrap up on New Year’s Resolutions for the farm and ranch. I really appreciate you joining me on DocTalk all these years, I’ll see you after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan with you from Kansas State University. Again, as I signed off I said thanks; I’ll sign on by saying thanks. This is a lot of fun. I love it when people come up and say “Hey” to us in the airports or when we’re doing production meetings, producers meetings across the country. We are talking about New Year’s Resolutions. We are talking about making a list. You have to write it down. You have to set smart attainable goals. You have to get the team on board. The one thing when I was at Cactus Feeders, we were setting goals and one of our Human Resources persons came in and we were talking about developing these new projects, developing young people on our farms and on our feedlots and understanding what they go through. Really what struck me as great was this commitment curve. You can see here on this commitment curve, on the Y-axis we have the level of commitment and we have time after we start the project or start the new job there on the X-axis. What happens is, when we start a job or a project, our commitment level is really high. At the beginning we are kind of in a honeymoon phase, right on the project, of the job and our commitment level’s high, we call this point in time in the job or project, ‘Uninformed optimism.’ [Laughs] Okay, we really don’t know yet what this is all going to entail, but everybody’s excited we’re starting anew and we’re moving forward. We get in to that project and time starts going on and we start to see that it’s maybe not as easy, maybe not as glamorous as what we thought it was going to be, but your commitment level starts to drop. This is when most projects are abandoned. This is when most jobs are changed. You have to have an understanding as regardless of the project or regardless of the job, you are going to go through this uninformed optimism, peak at the beginning followed by this trough of commitment that is called ‘Informed pessimism, all right? You ever been there? I have. You get to informed pessimism and that’s when we quit. The people who don’t quit, the people that can fight through this point and understand where you’re at on this project of being in that informed pessimism, you can see the commitment levels starts to drop. That’s when good managers, that’s when good farm operators get their employees around the table and say, “I understand this isn’t as easy, but the goal in mind is something that’s going to be better for our cattle, it’s something that going to be better for you and in the long run as far as the amount of time we have to spend on farm or ranch. It’s going to allow us to do other things once we solve this.” After you fight through the informed pessimism, our commitment level starts to rise again. We get to ‘Informed realism.’ We start to understand that this is really working. This is making improvements. It’s bringing back margin to the farm. It’s improving our animal welfare; it’s improving the health of performance. All these things that we want to do for the animals that take care of us. At the end of the, as you continue to build and develop these, you get to ‘Informed optimism. Understanding that commitment curve, wall-off the past, set new goals, write them down, figure out how you’re going to keep track of success, and then getting the team on board, understanding the commitment curve as you go forward are all important things in this year’s New Year’s Resolution. Remember, always work with your local veterinarian. If you want to know more about us, you can find us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Thanks for watching DocTalk and I’ll see you down the road.

Closed Captioning brought to you by AgriLabs, the Perfect Pairing of Performance and Value.

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