We all have faults, or shortfallings. Every single one of us. If we didn’t, then we certainly wouldn’t be human. But how aware of yours are you? Do you work to improve them? Do you look for indications of what they are?
One of the biggest traps for anyone is to believe that they have none. To believe that they have everything under control. And that goes for more than just the individual, but also for businesses and organisations as a whole. Believing that you have everything sorted can leave you very vulnerable to complacency, and ultimately, what will seem like an unexpected failure.
So, whether it is your farming system, your style of staff management, the way you deliver information, time management, quality of workmanship, health & fitness, or work-life balance, we all have something to be working on. Something that we can do better.
As we approach New Year’s Eve (or for the croppers, countless hours on a header or chaser bin) many people start thinking about a new year resolution. In all reality, we know that most of them are crap, and never get followed through. But the timing isn’t bad for reflecting on what you want to achieve in the year ahead. And the best bit is, if you start today, you will already be around 30 days ahead come New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t have to be something big, just something that you have reflected on as being an area for improvement.
The challenge is in recognising the areas to work on, and actually following them through. No matter what your profession, timeliness of activities is almost always the most valuable trait to improve. Whether it is time of sowing for croppers, proactive management of livestock, or delivering information to industry while it is particularly relevant. They all require planning, preparation, and action. There is generally only one barrier to successfully implementing it, and that is the great human art of procrastination.
Almost all major changes are planned for tomorrow, not today. If it were today, they would happen. But the shear nature of human psychology means that there is always tomorrow to start something, and then tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then it is all of a sudden, an emergency. One of the greatest office signs I have seen read “Poor planning on your behalf, doesn’t constitute an emergency on mine”.
Sometimes the best way to discover your areas for improvement is to get outside your own bubble. Ask others, look for evidence of your current level of performance, and establish where you are really at. Recently I had the experience of having to watch a video of myself presenting on stage. I had come away from the event feeling good about the presentation, had some great feedback from attendees and organisers. By all accounts, I had “nailed it”. Until I watched the video back for myself, and tried to find sections I was happy to use on our website. And guess what. Under the real microscope of video and rewind, there were things that I had done wrong. Nothing disastrous, but things that I spend time talking to others about avoiding on stage. There were things that I would do differently from now on, every time I hit the stage, simply because I am more aware of them.
That is a simple example, but sometimes it isn’t until someone or something helps shine the light on us, that we fully realise the areas that we can improve on. It can be a scary proposition, because we rarely actually want the answer that we need to work harder on something. But to be better, we must. No matter how good you might be at what you do, your aim should always be to do it even better next time.
So, what are you going to work on? Be the future you want.