Tom Wall, The Dairy Coach
Tom Wall, The Dairy Coach

And just like that, we’re already a month into the new year. So what’s new?

During the first week of January, we hear a lot of about how to make effective New Year’s resolutions. Then, during the first week of February, we hear about how most people have already given up on them. Yeah, I’m guilty. I start out with good intentions, but then life gets in the way and all of the other “important stuff” fills up my schedule. Sound familiar?

So if that’s the pattern you fall into, how do you plan to change it? How are you going to make life different in 2015? Not just different … better. What are you doing to make things better for your dairy and all the people who depend on it?

If you’re like most people, you struggle with changing. Most of us barely have the time and energy to do all the things we need to do as it is. The last thing we need to do is rock the boat and take a chance on the unknown! But here’s the thing … if you don’t start making some of those tough decisions that you know you need to make, the challenges that keep you up at night won’t go away. Every “new year” will be more of the same.

The hardest part

Besides finding the time, energy and courage to make some changes, you still need to overcome the biggest obstacle. What do you think that is? In my experience, the hardest part of changing is taking the first step. Whenever we look at something that’s new and unknown, it often seems like too daunting of a task and we don’t know where to start. We drag our feet and allow our busy schedules to become our justification for not starting at all.

So how do you start making the necessary changes to improve your dairy and your life away from work?

Take a break

When you spend most of your waking hours working, you’re often too close to the action to identify what truly needs to change. If that’s the case, it’s time to get away so you can come back and see what’s happening with a fresh set of eyes. If you’re convinced you’re too busy to get away, ask some people you trust from outside your dairy to give you an unbiased assessment of what they see. If you discover their advice is right, then you know what to do.

Start delegating

In order to find time to do all the high-level tasks that only a dairy owner can do, it’s critical that you free up some space on your To-Do list. You might be thinking “nobody around here can do the work I do.” And for the most part, that’s probably true. I hardly believe you don’t have someone on your team that you could teach to do some of your “lower-end” tasks.

However, if you’re right, one of the first tough decisions you might have to make is a personnel change. If you truly don’t have people that you need to count on to take over some of your work, you might not have the right people on your team.

Or maybe the problem lies with you. Have you become stuck in your ways and unwilling to trust others and help them grow?

Whatever the answer, if you can’t rely on your people, you’re going to be in the same place next year as you are today.

Just say ‘no’

For the longest time, I’ve believed that saying “yes” is the best way to find new opportunities. I still think that’s somewhat true. But lately I’m learning that saying “no” is the only way to protect the time that’s needed to focus on the opportunities that are truly “future-focused”. Instead of trying to give your time to everyone who wants a piece of it

every day, you need to decide who and what is a good investment for your time and energy so you can focus on what’s truly important.

The new year is a well underway. It’s time to seize the day!

Dairy CoachTM Tom Wall helps dairy managers create and implement simple employee management systems that work. For more coaching tips, visit www.dairycoach.com.