Regardless of your field of work, sooner or later you have to set goals. How? The first step consists of evaluation; then, comparison. Anything that can be evaluated can be improved. Production, conformity and profitability are elements that can be evaluated with measurable data. By comparing our results with those achieved by others, improvement then becomes possible.
But beware of traps. Focus on one or two things that need improvement, no more. It’s ineffective to try to work on everything at once since the more points you want to improve, the less improvement you will see in each point. This is a fundamental principle and the temptation to ignore it can be strong. By adding something new points under outside influences, all others are weakened. Worst case scenario? Changing the target before reaching the goal!
What this means in reality is that if you choose to improve dairy production for each cow as well as the leukocyte count, focus on these two targets only. If you include conformity criteria and other aspects such as economic factors, your progress will be slower in terms of dairy production and quality. There is a way to work on this without losing touch with other aspects.
Comparing with Better
Your goals need to be clear and well defined. You need to know where you want to go. Some will compare themselves to a group average. Not bad if you’re below that average and your intention is to catch up. Otherwise, the only purpose served is to flatter your ego. You need to compare yourself to better or the best, mainly to see how they achieved their better results. Recently, as I was attending an exhibit, I was thinking to myself that if the goal is simply to be a little above average, winning first place in a specific class is out of the question! You’ll always be lost in the crowd. However, by looking at what the winners are doing, the possibility of winning a red ribbon becomes real.
To increase the average milk produced for each cow from 10,000 to 12,000 kg, it’s best to look at what those who have already achieved 12,000 kg are doing. In the field of sports for example, athletes will look to what their leaders are doing if they want to be part of that elite team one day. Occasionally, some things need to be sacrificed to get to where you want to go.
To expect to change a result, the first thing to do is to change your ways of doing things. It is basically impossible to expect a different result if there are no changes to your methods. Accept to go out of your comfort zone or, sometimes, to go beyond your beliefs to reach your increasingly high goals.
Emulating the best is the surest means of improving yourself. I always find it sad to see that in our society the best are often the object of ‘envy” and ‘jealousy’. Regardless of the field, if people were to spend as much time emulating those they envy as they do nitpicking them, achieving goals or improving a given situation would be that much faster. And that would be incredible!
My message is simple: Find your own models based on your personal goals and follow their example… Success is sure to follow.