Waiting To Dance

by Dave Pratt via Ranching for Profit Blog

At the Ranching For Profit School we teach a four step strategic planning process to help business owners create a shared vision for their ranch and a plan to achieve it. It starts with the very simple question, “ Looking into the future five or ten years, what do you want?”  When we say you, we mean you.  Many of us try to answer the question by thinking about what everyone else wants. But the question isn’t, “What do you think your spouse, your parents, your siblings or your children want?”  The question is, “What do you want.”  By drawing out of each person what they want and discussing the underlying needs, we create a picture of what the collective you, the stakeholders in the business, want. It is a very powerful process.

Mom and Dad often struggle with this process. They haven’t really thought about what they want for a long time. They have spent the last 20 years thinking about what the kids want and, depending on their situation, what their aging parents need.  Thinking of themselves first doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes they even feel a little guilty about it.

I’ve seen it one hundred times. The Kids are 22 and 17. Mom and Dad are 50’ish and aren’t sure what the kids really want.  The kids don’t know themselves. At that age, most of us didn’t either.  It was a time in most of our lives when we discovered the world out there and discovered ourselves, testing our boundaries and learning what we were capable of.

Mom and Dad would like the kids to be part of the ranch someday, if that’s what the kids decide they want. But the kids aren’t ready to decide. So Mom and Dad wait.  Creating a vision and planning get put on hold. Without a vision to inspire them and a plan to guide them, they drift. Ironically what they are doing (or aren’t doing) in hopes that the kids will come back makes it less likely that the kids will want to, or be able to, come back.

When I meet people who are waiting for their kids to decide, I picture a high school dance.  I imagine a boy who’d like to dance with a pretty girl but is too shy to ask. He sits waiting and hoping that she will walk across the room and ask him.  Fat chance. The longer he sits there the less likely it becomes.  If he were to just start dancing with someone, she might be more inclined to say, “Yes.” Seeing that he knows how to cut a rug and have fun makes him an even more attractive partner. Even if she says, “No” he still got to dance.

There’s nothing more debilitating than indecision.  Sitting on the side lines while the world around us changes, without establishing a goal or enacting a plan, is like waiting for that girl to ask you to dance.  If you create a business that you are passionate about it will become a magnet for the next generation.  They may even ask if they can join the dance.

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Books by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume

CoverA Handbook for Ranch Managers A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Managing the Working Ranch. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.

Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Amazon.com. Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on Amazon.com

To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here

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The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits.  Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.

Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Amazon.com. Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on Amazon.com

To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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