The Virtues of Speed

For a fascinating example of speed and action combined, just watch what happens in the pits at an Indy car race. As outlined in Fast Company’s book The Rules of Business, there are four primary rules that guide both the driver and his pit crew in their respective roles.


“The faster you go, the more you need to talk.” Everyone needs to be clear about what is going to be done by whom and when. Constant communication is vital. Strong communication can present the difference between success and failure. When you are running a business, sound communication between participants, including key employees is crucial.

“Don’t panic when someone overtakes you early on. Stick with what got you here.” If you complete a goals and disaster agenda outline, you should be well prepared to stay on the track to success. Plan your work and work your plan.

“Whatever it takes, stay in the race. Keep moving and fix problems on the fly whenever possible.” Yes, stuff happens, so stay prepared to make adjustments. Maintaining a positive attitude can often make the difference.

“Make the most of downtime. It is inevitable that there will be some downtime. Make the necessary repairs and reenergize.” I admit that in my hectic professional role this is often one area that I overlook, too. However, we need to take the time to recharge our bodies and brains so that we continue to exhibit clear thinking, i.e. a good night’s sleep and an occasional trip to Starbucks to just think is not a crime…

To survive and thrive, we need to move faster, act more decisively, and respond more courageously. There has never been a better time to increase our efficiencies. Just because you have always done something in your operation, such as raising your heifers on site, does not mean it makes the best sense today. Consider all the relevant factors – cost, environmental pressures, employee impact and other issues. Then decide what works best for you.

Are there some “roadblocks” in your operation? Are there items that are affecting your overall performance or productivity? Could today be the best time to change those items? Are you tracking key efficiency measures such as?

  • Cows per full time employee
  • Pounds of milk per cow per day
  • Feed Cost per cow per day
  • Number of days in milk for your herd (This tells a lot about your breeding, your number of fresh cows and other factors.)

You decide which factors are most relevant for your operation. Compare your results to the rest of the industry but also compare this year’s results to your business performance in prior years. This will tell you whether you are going forward or backward. Knowing this can be critical to your financial results. So, take a close look. I think you’ll be glad you did!