When I talk about an industry every one is included. This means the very good, the good, the average, and the very bad. While you are reading this, realize that you are one of the very good. However, the livestock industry does not have many good managers, which is why it could be such a good business to be in. When we look around it looks like there are lots of industries that do not have good managers. The auto, financial, and home building industries have done things with very poor management.
Why are managers getting worse? This is easy. They either do not know the basics or do not care about them. To manage you must know the basic things that are important to that business. Everything we are involved with will have some things that need to be done. If you are raising a crop or animals there are some basic things that need to be done. It does not matter how smart or educated we are these things still need to be done. Over the years we have tried to substitute education for experience. The basics are mostly learned from proper experience. I said proper because doing something wrong will not teach how the basics need to be done. When we substitute education for experience many of the basics are forgotten, ignored or even lost.
Technology is another thing that is being used like it is the answer to everything. Technology is wonderful, it is amazing what it can do. But, and this is a big but, it is only as good as the people that design and/or use it. A lot of the new things that are being done or changes that are being made are very good. However, it doesn’t matter how good they are, in almost every situation we still need some knowledge of the basic things. The people that manage the financial industry are well educated and have access to all the best technology, yet by ignoring almost all of the sound principles of economics they were able to create a first class mess. Education and technology are not the problem. It is just not having a good understanding of the basics of the business they are in.
What does it take to be a good manager? First he should know how to properly do the work that is required. Then he should either do the work himself or see that someone else does. If he can’t do the work or see that it is done properly, then it is not good enough to just hire someone to do the work. We need the job done and someone to see that it is done right.
A worker will do a job. A manager should say what the job is and then see that it is done right. Many times workers are told to do a job then nobody is around to make sure it is done correctly. And then the person, who thinks he is a manager, will say “They should have known how.” No, if they knew how they would be a manager or owner themselves. A good manager does not expect someone to do a job right, they see that the job is done right. A good manager knows what work needs to be done, puts the right person on the job, and is around enough to see it is done correctly. He is there when the job is finished and takes the person to the next job. This makes for happy workers and the job is completed the way the owner wants.
Today we are trying to manage by telephone or some other type of communication. The person who thinks he is a manager does not see what is done. He can only hope that the work is being done right or that the worker is a good manager.
If the worker is a good manager then we don’t need the person that is trying to manage by telephone. This is why we end up with way too many managers. What we need are managers who do their job, then there could be less managers and more workers. In this way we could get more work done, work done better and more profitable.
How can we learn to be better? Understand the business and learn what needs to be done. It is not that important that you are able to do the jobs. It is very important that you know how it should be done. Then see that it is done right. If people do not know the basic principles of the business it will be difficult for them to learn to be a manager. Learn how the jobs should be done. Then learn how these jobs fit with the other things that have to be done. A manager’s job is to make things better.
Remember, easier is not often better. Better is almost always easier. We have spent so many years trying to do things faster or easier that it has taken us away from some of the basic principles that keep things working right.
Manage right, then you can Smile and Mean it.