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Nurture Your True Dreams

As children, we all entertain dreams. It might have been to be a professional football player, a world champion cowboy, or a gold medal skater. Many of those dreams fade with time and not much regret, because we never actually invested ourselves in them. In essence, they were really wishes, not dreams.

But at some point, the vision you have for your life becomes real -- who you want to be, how you want to change the world, and what it is you want to achieve.

Barry Dunn, who heads up the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, is a big proponent of applying the balanced-scorecard management approach to ranching. It's not something I'd have embraced when I emerged from grad school with aspirations of creating my own legacy in agriculture like those of my heroes.

But I find myself on the precipice of the magical 40-year-old milestone, and my perspective has changed. I'd hesitate to trade 1,000 of the best registered cows in the world for three happy and well-adjusted kids that love God and their dad. And I'd forego a major bank account for a happy marriage.

If ranching isn't your dream, then stop and pursue what is. If ranching is your dream, I'd recommend looking at the balanced scorecard approach to achieve it. It forces you to begin by articulating a shared vision, which enables you to build a balanced set of goals and strategies to help you achieve that vision. A lot of shattered dreams in this business could be avoided with the balanced scorecard approach.

Learn more by downloading "Using the Balanced Scorecard for Ranch Planning and Management: Setting Strategy and Measuring Performance" at:
-- Troy Marshall