Back to Basics

I was thinking about my business partners this morning and what they do when not coaching business executives, implementing successful and sustainable change, and improving company communications by getting people on the same page.

You see, my partners live out in Blackfoot Idaho, where Lee owns a small ranch with a few head of cattle.  He has some friends who own very large ranches.  Last week Lee and Nick were out with the other ranchers driving cattle on horseback, cutting out cows and calves to wean the calves, and moving them to different pastures.  As a perk, they got to see some incredible sunsets and a lot of big sky country.  When you think about getting back to basics, life can’t get much more basic than tending herd from on top of a horse.

Has herding cattle changed over the last three hundred years?  The process; probably not.  The technology; maybe for some who use ATVs, helicopters, and scientifically formulated feed to manage very large herds.  The boundaries; the amount of open range land; you bet.  Cattlemen and women have had to adapt to radically changing conditions and a new market, but they still have to wean calves from their mothers, and make sure the herd is fed and cared for until ready for market.  If they tend to the basics well, and adapt to the new market situation, they may profit from the sale of healthy cattle to provide food for the rest of us.

Some recent business stories focused on the substantial loss of manufacturing jobs over the last decade.  The prognosis for recovering those jobs is not good.  Many writers predict that we have experienced a major shift much as the move from the agricultural to the industrial era more than a century ago.

Should your business be getting back to basics?  Have you weathered the economic storms of the past couple of years?  How did your business survive?  How will it survive?  How will you adapt to changing economic times?  Does the move from a manufacturing to a service economy affect your business model?  Are you ready to meet a freshening economy head on?  Have you tended to the basics of running a successful business?  Or have business activities and processes gotten away from you during the turbulence we’ve experienced lately?

Maybe it’s time for you to climb back in the saddle and take a good look over your business.  Are your mission, vision, and values sound?  Are the business plan and strategy complete, current and targeted at a new marketplace?  Are your processes and systems lean and well tuned?  Is your organization structure appropriate for the task at hand?  Are your people prepared for the challenges ahead and are their efforts in harmony with your business objectives?

Lee and the other ranchers work together to manage their herds.  Would you like some company while surveying yours?  Maybe a little help with the assessment, just to keep you focused on the basics?  If so, give me a call.

Peace my friends,