How often do you hear someone quoting the latest benchmarking results and telling you the type of enterprise you should run to be most profitable? Don’t get me wrong that stuff is important, but just how important is it?
I am here to tell you that the last thing you want to be is a commodity chaser. That is, the person that changes their enterprise because someone said there is more money in this other one over here. At the same time you don’t want to be the stick in the mud that is so stubborn that “change” isn’t even in your vocabulary.
So what should you be? The best bloody version of you that you can be. Doing something that you are passionate about. Something that you are good at. Something that you love.
We see it everyday. If someone is trying to manage an enterprise that they aren’t passionate about, it just doesn’t perform as well as it should. At the same time we see enterprises that according to benchmarking aren’t as good as the others, but the sheer passion and drive of the individual makes it a profitable option.
So my question to you is “why do you do what you do?” Or more to the point, what gets you out of bed each morning? Are you trying to be in the bottom 20%, or maybe just aiming to be average? I highly doubt it. A man once drowned while trying to cross a river with an average depth of just six inches. Don’t be average.
I saw a quote recently that suggested that 80% of farmers believe they are in the top 20% (sorry to whoever’s quote that is, I can’t find it now!). That’s far from ideal, and suggests that there is a clear role for benchmarking to tell you where you sit.
That’s great for where you are now, but in setting goals for the future you should understand what is scientifically and practically possible, and set your own goals. Aim big, achieve big. An industry achieving mediocrity is not something to base your own future on.
So back to what you do. There is more change happening right now than I have ever seen in the industry. Merinos changing to prime lamb operations, croppers bringing sheep back into the mix, cattle leaving mixed operations, while re-entering others.
There is real fear for the Merino due to the mass exodus that has been happening in recent years. And I suspect plenty in the industry will be relaxing with the thought that the recent jump in prices will help drive people back to the Merino. I am here to tell you that, while it might help, I doubt it will actually stem the flow.
Put simply, many people are just sick of Merinos. It’s not a money thing. It is a personal achievement thing. How much can you achieve with an animal that has been bred for 100+ years for traits that are antagonistic with survival, growth, fertility, and general do-ability (a word I hate, but that actually does appear to mean something in the case of the Merino).
If the Merino industry wants to stem the bleeding, then stand up, take some ownership and make the progress required to breed a strong, robust animal that doesn’t require mulesing, that marks plenty of lambs, and gives its owners genuine satisfaction rather than lingering despair.
Obviously there are some out there doing just this, but it is a lonely few, not an industry. Our industry needs leaders, and plenty of them. Leaders don’t need titles, just the ability to inspire others through their actions. This isn’t just a crack at the poor merinos, but our industry as a whole.
Stand up. Show some leadership. Take some ownership. Forget Tradition. It’s time for change.
You will find more challenging thoughts like this at our upcoming event -
Achieve More Forum – Inverleigh March 31st 2017 – for more details visit