Tag Archives: work

A Great Place To Raise A Family by Dave Pratt

Dave Pratt, owner of Ranch Management Consultants (formerly known as Ranching for Profit) hits it on the head again with another great blog entry.  Although his niche is specifically ranching, the ideas he shares are often for any business.

 

Home > A Great Place To Raise A Family

A Great Place To Raise A Family

I occasionally lead workshops I call Hard Work and Harmony: Effective Relationships In Family Businesses. In it I like to ask participants to explain to the person next to them why they ranch.  Some say they love being their own boss, or love working outdoors and with livestock. Almost all of them say something about loving the lifestyle. Near the top of most people’s lists is, “It’s a great place to raise a family.”

I agree. I grew up on a small place. The biology lessons I learned from tending livestock were more influential than any I ever had in a classroom.  I learned other lessons too. I learned how to work hard and how to be resourceful. But it wasn’t just about work. Our place was a great setting for any adventure my imagination could conjure up. My mom sold it when I was in college and it just about broke my heart.

A ranch can be a great place to raise a family, but it isn’t always. I worked with a rancher shortly after my son, Jack, was born.  When we broke for lunch he asked about my new baby. I told him that when they placed Jack in Kathy’s arms for the first time, I could hardly see him for the tears of joy streaming down my face.  Tears welled up in his eyes too, but they weren’t tears of joy. Trying to hold back a flood of emotion, he told me how he had worked sun up to sun down to build a place “for the generations to come.”  He said that he hadn’t been as involved in his children’s lives as he should have been. As we sat on the hill, he told me that now he rarely hears from his adult children, who want no part of the ranch. A ranch can be a great place to raise a family, but it is not a substitute for our active involvement in family life.

Many ranchers are addicted to work. I’ll bet you’ve even heard some of your colleagues brag about how long and hard they work, proudly proclaiming things like, “I haven’t taken a vacation in 20 years.” They say it as though it is something to be proud of.  When I hear things like that I shake my head wondering, “Are things that bad?” You can’t run a sustainable business on unsustainable effort.

Intentional or not, work can become an excuse to avoid working through the issues every healthy family faces at one point or another.  When work consistently takes precedence over family needs, we set ourselves and our families up for trouble. Engaging in what may be uncomfortable conversations when issues first come up can keep them from growing into big problems.

In the last few months I’ve met a number of people who are learning that lesson the hard way. After decades of avoiding uncomfortable family issues they are facing extremely difficult challenges regarding succession.  Now, without any experience working with one another to resolve small issues, they are hoping to work through the most difficult challenges many of us will ever face. The conversations are made even more difficult because of the hurts that have gone untended and the resentments that have grown from not taking care of the family in the family business.   It’s a tough way to learn that success has more to do with healthy relationships than with conception rates and balance sheets.

I don’t mean to suggest that the physically demanding work that ranches require can be ignored, but it doesn’t have to be all consuming. Many Ranching For Profit School alumni have discovered that the ranch was all consuming only because they allowed it to be that way. After the school they restructured the business to increase profit and liberate their time to put more life in their work/life balance. They still work as hard as anyone, just not as long. Their ranches are great places to raise their families, andthey actually take the time and make the effort to be directly involved in raising them.

To hear how one RFP alumnus decreased the work required to run their ranch while increasing profit and improving their quality of life, click here.

Watch Autism In Love Online for Free – NOW through Apr 10 2016

Great short documentary – I laughed, I cried, I cheered. Dallas, our Aspie son, says “Aaaah, Mom, you’re such girl.’ Well, there ya go….. Free to watch until 10 April 16

Anonymously Autistic

The highly anticipated documentary, Autism In Love can be watched online for free until April 10, 2016 on PBS.org via the link below.

Finding love can be hard enough for anyone, but for those on the autism spectrum, the challenges may seem overwhelming. The disorder can jeopardize the core characteristics of a successful relationship — communication and social interaction. Autism in Love offers a warm and stereotype-shattering look at four people with autism as they pursue and manage romantic relationships.

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/autism-in-love/

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Quotables

“Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work.”  Dr John Trainer

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”  C.S. Lewis

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”  C.S. Lewis

Photo:  St Magnus CathedralKirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

Summer Jobs

“…there is value in recalling the grit and glory of traditional summer work, which has taught generations of teenagers important lessons about life, labor, and even their place in the universe — which turned out to be nowhere as close to the the center as we had imagined.”

Dave Shiflett as quoted from the article “Get A (Real) Summer Job” in the Saturday/Sunday, April 25-26, 2015 Wall Street Journal Review Section.

Daughter, Jessica, working girl!
Daughter, Jessica, working girl!
Sons, Nathan and Dallas, attaching a log chain to an old silo that is to be pulled down.
Sons, Nathan and Dallas, attaching a log chain to an old silo that is to be pulled down.
Christian Finck and Nathan Powell removing and repairing old corral as well as cleaning up and burning rubbish.  Hot job!
Christian Finck and Nathan Powell removing and repairing old corral as well as cleaning up and burning rubbish. Hot job!
Christian chopping out the side of an old self feeder to help get the fire burning.
Christian chopping out the side of an old self feeder to help get the fire burning.
Christian and Dallas burning rubbish and moving panels to set up larger corral.
Christian and Dallas burning rubbish and moving panels to set up larger corral.

Prioritize for Profit

When it’s ridiculously cold outside, sometimes it’s best to just sit and think (once all the work and chores are done).  Here is a thought from a man whom I’ve yet to meet, who has words of wisdom worth pondering taken from his column “Strategic Planning for the Ranch” in Beef magazine

Prioritize for profit rather than convenience.

Sometimes convenience and profit are closely related, other times, they aren’t related at all or may even be antagonistic.  Don’t let your desire for convenience get in the way of improving profit — unless, of course, you’re already profitable enough and convenience can add enough quality of life to offset foregone profit.”

Burke Teichert, a consultant on strategic planning for ranches, retired in 2010 as vice president and general manager of AgReserves Inc.  He resides in Orem, Utah.  Contact him at burketei@comcast.com