If you’ve been through the Ranching For Profit School you recognize the importance of working ON the business (WOTB). If blocking out time for WOTB is challenging for you, you aren’t alone. Scheduling adequate time to work on the businesses is often THE most difficult challenge RFP graduates face when they get home.
The problem is, when someone leaves the Ranching For Profit School they step right back into the environment they left a week earlier. Actually, it’s worse than when they left because, in addition to all of the normal chores and crises to deal with, there is a week of chores and crises to catch up on!
Returning to face this reality often makes the idea of carving out time for WOTB seem impossible. Unfortunately, without dedicated time for WOTB nothing will change. Your ranch will remain a collection of expensive assets and a lot of physically demanding, low-paying jobs UNTIL you take the time to work on your business, not just in it. I recommend 2 mornings a week for WOTB.
Why mornings? Most of us are most productive in the mornings. The morning is our $100 per hour time. We need to do our $100 per hour work (WOTB) in our $100 per hour time. Prime time for prime work. Unfortunately, most of us start our days doing $10 per hour jobs in our $100 per hour time. If we ever get around to the $100 per hour work, we try to do it in our $10 per hour time. It’s no wonder we stay stuck.
In an Executive Link meeting I facilitated last week, the board recommended several actions for a member. They wrote the actions on a flip chart. Even though coaching videos and step-by-step guidelines for each recommended action are available on RFP Online, I could tell that the tasks on the flip chart looked daunting to the member. I think they even looked daunting to the board members who recommended them.
We’d already talked about the importance of taking two mornings a week for WOTB. I knew the board members found that daunting too. In fact, the member with the list of actions had said he could devote two mornings a week in August and September to WOTB, but he didn’t think the demands of the ranch would allow it the rest of the year.
But you can accomplish a lot in 18 mornings.
The first action on the flip chart was to identify strategies to produce the results described in their vision. I said they could probably get that done in one morning.
Of course, identifying the strategies isn’t enough. They need to project enterprise gross margins for best case, worst case and most likely case scenarios to see if the strategies will actually work. Running these projections could take three or four mornings.
Once the most promising strategies are identified they should draft an implementation timeline to show who’s going to do what, when. That will become their strategic plan. That’s probably going to take another morning or two.
They’d been talking about hiring help, so I walked through the process of identifying effectiveness areas (1 morning), creating positions and drafting an organization chart (another morning) and writing position agreements (2-3 mornings).
Breaking actions into individual tasks and seeing that eighteen mornings was more than enough to accomplish them changed things. The member went from feeling overwhelmed to feeling eager to start. I think it also reinforced the importance of scheduling two mornings each week for WOTB.
I’ll be leading the RFP Coffee Shop discussion for RFP Online and EL Members on August 3rd at 1 – 2 pm mountain time. I plan to start the conversation picking up where this column leaves off. We will discuss strategies for overcoming constraints to WOTB and anything else that’s on your mind.