Recently, I have held discussions with two different producers about their level of commitment. One suggested that he had to be insane to tolerate the volatility of the dairy industry with its highs and lows in milk prices and feed costs the past five years. Right now, he is faced with having to buy springers each month… On the other hand, the second dairyman said he could not imagine doing anything else but being a dairy producer. What is the difference between their two outlooks? I believe that the primary difference revolves around their level of commitment.
In their book Great by Choice – Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, authors Jim Collins (who also wrote Built to Last and Good to Great) and Morten T. Hansen (author of Collaboration) talk a great deal about the roles of Resilience, Skills, Commitment to Preparation & Luck, and just how these factors can all play a role in the success or failure of your business. They tell the story of Malcolm Daly, a mountain climber who survived a horrible fall and his ensuing rescue from the side of Thunder Mountain in Alaska, just a few feet below its summit. “Malcolm Daly had been lucky enough to survive the fall, but he also had to be strong, skilled and resilient before the 44 hours of peril after his two-hundred-foot fall.”
They go on to say that “Luck favors the persistent, but you can only persist if you survive.” So, how do we go about surviving and to an even greater degree, thriving?
1.) Start with a plan. Knowing what you want to accomplish, your target date and what steps you will take to get there are necessary ingredients for reaching your objectives. In an interview on DairyLine Radio, I previously stated that the future belongs to those who have a clearly defined plan. Whether you are driving your pickup truck, choosing a spouse or holding a discussion with your banker about expanding your business, you will always be better off with a plan.
2.) Develop some resilience. No one ever said it would be easy to reach your goals in business and in life. However, that doesn’t provide us with a license to walk away, just because it may tough. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
3.) Obtain the skills you need to reach your objectives. It may cost some money, but it is far less expensive than facing a bankruptcy. I have been consulting for sixteen years and served as a commercial loan officer for seven years before that, but I still don’t know everything I need to know to succeed. I use a business coach, too.
4.) Be prepared. As Jim Collins and Morten Hansen state in their book, “There’s an adage that says, ‘Better to be lucky than good.’ And it’s perhaps true – for those who seek to be only good, not much better than average, creating nothing exceptional. But our research brings us to an entirely opposite conclusion for those who aspire to more: it’s far better to be great than lucky.”
5.) Finally, work hard to stay on course with your plan and always know where you are with respect to that plan. There is no alternative, other than to be like the warehouse worker, who, when asked how long he had worked at his current job, replied, “Ever since they threatened to fire me…” Staying on course with your plan will lend itself to far superior results.
To summarize, what’s your level of commitment? When challenges arise, will you be prepared? If having a plan to succeed in your business ever became a crime, would you be “guilty as charged?” If I can help you as you think about developing a bigger and better future, please let me know. Meanwhile, take a minute to go our home page and visit our free Success Tips section. You may find just what you are looking for!