One of the keys to success in the cattle business is minimizing risk. Avoiding risk is a great management tactic but it can also have the unintended consequence of preventing you from trying innovative and new approaches to management or marketing.

Avoiding risk is often interpreted as avoiding doing anything you might do poorly. Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker extraordinaire, puts a different take to the tried and true statement that anything worth doing is worth doing well. He says, "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly -- until you can learn to do it well."

The message is simple: if you determine a change in management, marketing, etc., can be advantageous to your operation, then attempt it. Of course, one needs to learn all they can about any new skill set that will be required, but be willing to accept that few things in life are simple the first time you do them.

Baseball slugger Barry Bond's first at-bat wasn't a homerun, but doing something less than perfect is usually the first step in eventually doing something well.

Managing risk must be a top priority. After all, no one can afford a 50% calf crop, for example. But, managing risk should not preclude anything but the status quo.