By Valerie Duttlinger and Kasey Sheldon, Summit SmartFarms
How many times do you hear about the crazy times we are living in? All of the chaos of the world is overwhelming. We have two choices in this scenario. We can either manage the chaos or be managed by it. This year everyone has fallen into both camps at times, no doubt. Being on the managing side, more often than not, is the place to strive for. When the chaos is managed, we are more productive, engaged and get better results than when the chaos is managing us. This is true in farms, in corporate settings, and even at home. Here are some steps to help manage the chaos:
- Stay calm! People never make good decisions when upset or angry. Starting the morning with a broken water line can get everyone stirred up. If you approach it calmly, those around you will feel that and begin to respond. Calm comes from having confidence in yourself and your team's ability to accomplish the tasks at hand.
- Have a plan and a backup plan! Things rarely go the way that we envision them going. However, not having a plan of attack never helps them go smoothly. Starting each day with a plan helps the entire team work towards the common goal of understanding the most important tasks for the day ahead. A backup plan is often overlooked. If you are someone who needs more time to make decisions and think out plans, they are critical.
- Look at the big picture. Part of managing the chaos means looking at the big picture, not just today. Rushing through heat checking today may save you a few minutes, but it costs more time and certainly will hurt the performance of the farm in the long run. So it wasn't a win
- Be positive. The average person has about 30,000 thoughts per day, and of those, about 80% of them are negative. When we get stuck in a negative mindset, what we believe begins to become a reality. Having a positive attitude attracts positive outcomes. Positive outcomes build on each other, and soon, you can see the hard work paying off! Your staff is more likely to catch your attitude than your cold.
- Distinguish the urgent from the important. In the 1960s, a booklet was published called Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles Hummel. He talked about neglecting important tasks that don't have to be done immediately and instead taking on urgent tasks. Distinguishing between important and urgent tasks is often challenging. There never enough hours in the day to deal with the urgent, and often the important things are never done. Making a nurse litter for pigs falling behind is an urgent task but training team members how to make nurse litters is often pushed to the back burner. When you slow down to train others, you are actually creating more time to focus on the important tasks in the long run.
If we cannot manage the chaos when we take on new initiatives, then they are almost certain to fail. Those new initiatives could be things such as implementing new technology, changing how you do a particular task, improving the onboarding process, the list can go on. All of these are important but not urgent. The important often become urgent at some point and add to the chaos instead of taking away from it. Making time for the important now prevents them from becoming urgent in the future and creating unnecessary chaos. What one step can you take today to start managing the chaos in your life?
Summit SmartFarms is devoted to creating irresistible places to work in agriculture by simplifying the complex by equipping people to optimize performance through technology. If you would like to learn more about how Summit SmartFarms can help your organization, you can email Kasey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Valerie at email@example.com.