I recently was talking with a Client about the achievements he had been enjoying the past two years, despite the downturn in the dairy industry. Suddenly he added, “John, we’ve been getting sound results, especially in comparison to the rest of the industry, but, man, it just seems so slow in comparison to what we used to do 10 years ago…”
I agreed that cash flow had been tighter than any of us would like to see. However, while we may have wanted more profits, we were definitely on track to succeed in a huge way as we moved forward. They had progressed from losing over $1,000,000 in 2015 and in 2016. We started working together in mid-2016, and after completing a debt restructure, boosting our milk per cow per day substantially, and decreasing our labor costs by boosting several efficiency measures, while at the same time keeping other costs in line, we were on our way towards much more positive results with Net Income over $500,000 in each of the following years of 2017 & 2018.
While it is great to want better results, Dan Sullivan, Founder of The Strategic Coach, tells us that we need to be careful about what we compare our results against. He advises that we should always be measuring against where we started, not against some ideal in the future. He likens this approach to measuring your progress on a 20-mile walk. If you are measuring your progress by looking at the horizon, you will be consistently frustrated because it will seem like you are making little or no progress.
Thus, Dan recommends that we always measure our progress against where we started, not some future ideal. In the case of the producer above, instead of measuring his progress against some very desirable objective of earning $2-3 Million per year in the future, it is fine to pursue just such a positive objective. However, to keep your progress toward that goal in perspective, we should always measure our progress against where we started, e.g. when this same business had been losing over $1 Million per year, to minimize frustration with our progress and to keep us pushing forward.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. If you would like to learn more about similar topics and the tactics our Clients have used to improve their outcomes, please apply to join us for our Success Strategies Mastermind Groups. Our next series of Quarterly workshops will begin in July 2019 and are designed to teach more people the Finance & Strategy Concepts that I offer business people. Check them out at: