Put a ‘stop-doing’ list on your ‘to-do’ list

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One of my roles in Wyoming is as an instructor of the Ranching for Profit School, a product of RCS’s US based sister company, Ranch Management Consultants (RMC).  Our mission is similar, but delivery and scale are different so I’m here to learn from RCS and get out on some stations to learn from you as well.  I just finished the GrazingforProfit™ (GFP) school with Dr. Terry McCosker as the primary instructor.  Wow, what a life changing experience! 

One of my primary learnings from the GFP school is that the major issues for Australian and American agricultural business are largely the same.  Most – well let’s face it, maybe all – of the issues can come back to people.  I think my RMC colleague, Allan Crocket has it right when he says “Everything is a people issue”.  I’m going to share with you two strategies our clients have found invaluable for managing the only person we really have control over – ourselves.  If you are part of the mob (see, I’m catching on) who struggles with self-discipline and prioritisation, maybe these strategies will help.   

1. Make a ‘stop-doing’ list

At the Ranching for Profit School we ask participants to identify constraints that may get in the way of implementing their actions plans when they return home.  Many people identify time as a major constraint. However, if you step back and think about it, time really isn’t the constraint, is it?  After all, each of us only have 24 hours in a day.  The constraint is how we choose to manage the demands on our time. 

Many of the things we do on a daily basis are out of routine or based on a paradigm that they must be done.  At the GFP School, Terry brought up the 80/20 rule which says 20% of the things we do create 80% of our results.  If that is true, then the converse must also be true – 80% of the things we do create only 20% of our results. To manage our time for the best results, we must shift paradigms – identify and stop doing those things that are part of the less fruitful 80% and spend more time on the high value 20%. To achieve this, you might find it useful to create a ‘stop-doing list’. What would be the consequence if you stopped doing this task?  Is this something that someone else could be trained up to do? I’m guessing that one time or another we have all made a ‘to-do list’, but how many of us have made a ‘stop-doing list’? Making your stop-doing list is likely something your partner and others in the business can help you create.

2. Identify the value behind the WOTB task

I’ve often seen ExecutiveLink™ action plans outline strategies to make ‘Working On The Business’ (WOTB) time part of a person’s routine.  For me, forcing someone to do WOTB is generally an ineffective strategy.  It isn’t the WOTB that is the motivator, but the results that the WOTB can create.  I’ve found it effective to identify the dollar or quality of life value that the WOTB action results in. For example, let’s say the action is to complete gross margins on all enterprises.  We would then ask ourselves “how long would this take?”  Let’s assume that (being overly generous) it would take two mornings or eight hours in total.  The next question is, if we did that, what kind of value would it create for the business?  Being conservative, let’s assume having gross margins would allow us to make an $80,000 improvement in the business. Easy math gives you $1,000/hr for the WOTB time.  Having identified that figure is pretty darn motivating to me! You might try identifying the value to your business and the estimated time for the items on your action plan for your next WOTB.

I’m reminded of the three-legged pot that Terry used to describe the elements of an agricultural business and the agenda of the GFP School.  He said the people are in the pot, and it isn’t the people’s job to support the business, but rather the business’ job to support the people.  If you are struggling to make this change and get out from under the pot, I hope these two strategies will help.  Making this change isn’t easy, but this quote comes to mind, “If we always do the easy thing, life will be hard, but if we do the hard thing, life can be easy.”  

I look forward to meeting many of you at the Caloundra EL gathering.

Article by

Dallas Mount
Instructor and Facilitator
Ranch Management Consultants

Other February Newsletter articles

The Critical Date Cometh (for Many)
By Dr. Terry McCosker

The Importance of Production Records
By Samantha Anderson