Managerial Lessons you get from Farming

I've cracked 6-SIgma. Now thinking of moving onto Mindfulness!

I’ve cracked 6-Sigma. Now thinking of moving onto Mindfulness!

When I left school, I worked for 5 years as a butcher. At the time I’d a big interest in cattle breeds and spent a good bit of time in the old Cattle Markets around the North Circular Road in Dublin. It seems almost unbelievable now that Drovers brought cattle into the city centre (on foot). I’m glad they did as it allowed me to get a better understanding of animal confirmation (what type of animals yield the most meat). On the milk side, I also learned that a Friesian cow produces about 22 litres of milk a day. Then someone came along and asked the obvious: “Could we get those cows to ‘up their game’?”

Jim Bashford: I’ve known Jim Bashford for 20+ years. Based in County Meath, he sells cattle feed. During the summer, cattle roam the land and eat for free. But, in the winter months their diet is supplemented. Jim, with his food science background, has long been interested in changing the diet of cattle to produce better outcomes e.g. more milk. Does it work? Well, with proper care and diet, that 22 litres a day, incredibly, can become 70+ litres. That’s one-third of the cows producing the same amount of milk (less Vets bills, reduction in Greenhouse Gases, less minding and so on). You could label it a win:win:win.

Desert Production: A couple of years back, when working on a management consulting project in Saudi Arabia, I’d seen cattle that could produce 40+ litres. These animals, living in a controlled environment, could produce almost double the milk that cattle roaming around the Golden Vale in Tipperary could deliver. At the time I was amazed. Then Jim Bashford comes along with a formula to raise that by a further 50%. Gold Medal Olympic Athlete Cows. And all perfectly natural and healthy. Sing along now: “Oh, the cattle are (not) standing like statues” (apologies to the Oaklohoma

So What? Now that the cattle are starting to ‘up their game’, what does that mean for the rest of us? Innovation is not something that’s exclusive to Google or LinkedIn. It permeates every single business and not-for-profit organisation on the planet. If you’re not moving ahead, you’re falling behind. An Executive that’s not shifting the productivity needle is actually blocking the road. Deadwood. Delaying faster and better people coming up behind. You can’t just keep on, keeping on, like some outdated Nashville hit. It’s a simple idea. Change or die. The choice isn’t yours!


PS Lighter Note: PUN0GRAPHY (courtesy of Mick Sludds)

* I tried to catch some fog and mist

* When chemists die, they barium

* Jokes about German sausage are the wurst

* Soldiers who survive mustard gas and pepper spray are seasoned veterans

* My friend’s addicted to brake fluid. Says he can stop any time

* Girl said she knew me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

* Reading a book about Helium. Can’t put it down.

* Did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words

* They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O

*When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble

*What does a clock do when it’s hungry? Goes back four seconds

*Broken pencils are absolutely pointless

*What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus

*Dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx

*Velcro – now there’s a rip off!

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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