Imagine the perfect operation. Is that your ranch?

Troy Marshall

July 16, 2015

3 Min Read
Imagine the perfect operation. Is that your ranch?

Before you build a masterpiece, something of lasting and intrinsic value, you have to design it.  That seems overly simplistic and obvious, yet many of us, when it comes to our ranch and ranching enterprise, go through the daily chores almost as if we were living by chance.

Therefore, it only makes sense that we sit down and determine what it is we are trying to create. That’s hard to do in the daily press of getting the to-do list done, but you have to know what you want your ranch to look like and where you want it to go before you can begin the process of creating it. So, we all need to ask the question, “What does our perfect ranch look like?” 

It may seem odd to think about “creating” a ranch that’s been around for many years, perhaps many generations. But that’s what you’re doing as you consider your long-term plans, ideas, and different business models. And I’m not talking about the appearance of your ranch when I talk about what it looks like. Rather, I am asking what your day-to-day life looks like now and what it might look like 10-20 years from now. This includes your family, your relationships and your finances, in addition to all the things we normally think of like ranch condition and the cowherd.  

Many experts recommended the process of beginning with the end in mind, then working backward. It makes sense to have a compelling vision for your ranch, not only to make sure you’re working toward it each day, but also to make sure that management decisions are aligned with achieving your longer-term goals.

These are not simple questions we have to ask ourselves—what matters most, what are our priorities, what is the vision that makes us come alive, dream and want to expend incredible effort every day? It is about asking what the purpose of our lives and our ranch is. What is our legacy? What do we want to be remembered for? What do we truly want to achieve?  These questions are simple, but simple doesn’t necessarily correlate with easy.  

Read the stories of those who have been successful and these are the questions they have answered, so why do we tend to avoid answering them? I don’t know that answer, but I guess in my case, I assumed that I had pretty well answered all those questions already. However, when I started that process, I discovered that it was more about the people I would help and the relationships I would develop that was truly important.

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I was also a bit shocked to learn that it is not just about the strategies to achieve our vision, but also the person we become by pursuing our goals. Life that is an endless series of to-do lists does not typically lead to greatness. Greatness needs to be guided by something more powerful—that vision we create in our mind. It isn’t about completing tasks; it is about creating something meaningful and worthwhile. There is virtue in speed and efficiency, but the world is full of people who get things done fast and with little cost. The vision we follow must separate us from the pack. 

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of and the Penton Agriculture Group.


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