Dave Pratt

Good people? What’s that supposed to mean? Compared to what? Bad people? With the exception of the Hillside Strangler and Jack the Ripper, I’m hesitant to label very many people as “bad.”

I often hear employers complain that it is hard to find good help. I rarely hear them ask how they can be better bosses. Personally, I think most people want to do a good job. I don’t think employees want to be inefficient or wreck equipment. Why then do we have such a hard time finding and keeping highly effective employees?

You might be ranching for profit if your spouse doesn’t have to work in town so you can have health insurance.
If you are making a profit you ought to be able to pay yourself whatever it would cost to replace yourself and the business ought to be able to provide a benefits package, including health insurance.

A young rancher needed to increase turnover and was preparing a bid for a large lease. When he discussed his proposal with his Executive Link board he explained, “I don’t want to come off as too inexperienced. I don’t want him to think that I don’t know what I’m doing.” Someone on his board offered some great advice.

Have you ever noticed that when you see, taste or smell something awful, that you want others to share in the experience? Get a whiff of a skunk or a rotting carcass and you are likely to say, “PU! Smell that!” A friend of mine found the written equivalent of a skunk.

Earlier this month a lot of ranchers in TX, OK and KS experienced a nightmare. Driven by winds of 50 mph and more, they lost grass, infrastructure and livestock to intense, fast-moving wild fires. I’ve heard from several Ranching For Profit Alumni whose entire ranches burned. They spent the day after these devastating fires evaluating losses, euthanizing suffering animals, and taking steps to ensure that the animals that survived were taken care of. I’m not aware of any alumni who lost their home or who were injured. It’s hard to call that “luck,” but what else can you call it when others lost their homes and even their lives?

My Mom and Dad separated when I was four or five. They divorced several years later. It was a long time ago but, as I remember, my sister and I saw Dad every other weekend when we were in elementary school, and with less frequency when we were in high school. I’m glad he was part of our lives … but I’m also glad he wasn’t a bigger part of our lives.

In the Executive Link Professional Development Program we’ve been exploring the concepts in Good To Great in which Jim Collins describes common characteristics of 11 uncommon companies. What made these companies uncommon was that they had produced only average results, as measured by stock market returns for 15 years, then produced great results (at least three times higher than the stock market average) for the next 15 years.

Charismatic leaders need to decide if the legacy they want to leave is one of an individual who did great things or of a great company that lasted long after they were gone. The research shows that you can’t do both.

In Robert Kreigel’s book, If It Ain’t Broke…Break It! he argues convincingly that the time to make change is when things are going great. When times are good we have time, money, energy and options. Unfortunately, we usually wait until we are in crisis and are out of time, money, energy and options before we even think about change.