We use key performance indicators to assess the health of a business. Some evaluate economic and financial health. Others measure labor productivity. Still others measure the health of the ecosystem. Last week I added a new key performance indicator for measuring business success to my list.
I spent an evening with Craig and Connie French after a 2-day workshop I led in Malta, Montana. Craig and Connie took the Ranching For Profit School in 2016 and participated in Executive Link for a couple of years. Craig gave me a quick tour of the ranch and talked enthusiastically about some of the results they’ve seen since attending the school. Among other things, using cell grazing led to an 80% increase in the stocking rate. Craig attributed some of that to better utilization and the rest to increasing the carrying capacity. Connie added, “That’s been like getting a new ranch for free.” There are still some challenges with water quality and distribution, but Craig seemed confident that they could lick those problems without too much trouble.
Over dinner that night, as I summarized the results Craig had shared with me earlier, Connie added, “And he’s whistling again.” She explained that, while trailing some heifers home from Craig’s folks place, he started whistling. With tears in her eyes, she said “I hadn’t heard him do that in years.”
Whistling may not be a conventional business metric, but I can’t imagine a more meaningful measure of success.