My View From The Country

War, Marriage & The Cattle Business

There are some common themes to success in war, marriage and the cattle business.

Military strategists strongly adhere to the principle of maneuver. It essentially holds that one should be clear about the goal, but flexible about achieving it.

Anyone who is, or has been, married understands the importance of flexibility. From a cattle industry standpoint, flexibility is a given, especially in times like today where things are changing rapidly. The goals don’t have to change, but it’s rare when the path to get there doesn’t change frequently.

Changing course without changing destination is the key. In marriage and in business, it’s easy sometimes to change goals when a change of course is dictated. All the gurus claim the key to being able to adjust is the desire to seek and accept feedback, as well as a willingness to make the corrections to get oneself or one’s organization back on the chosen path. Fail to listen to your spouse, your customers or the industry, and you’ll soon find yourself in a very precarious position. The trick is to keep moving forward, modifying your plans as the changing conditions dictate.

The military has always understood and appreciated the need for intelligence as a critical component in success. One can’t make a good decision without the facts; and having the facts means having accurate information.

We all tend to want to see the world as we want it to be, or to pick and choose the facts that fit our paradigm. Intelligence gathering, however, is about getting the real facts, regardless of whether they support our position. Self-help entrepreneur Brian Tracy says “the quality of the decisions you make will be in direct proportion to the amount of time you take to gather timely and accurate information.”

A third military principle is economy of force. This means that you expend only the resources necessary to achieve the objective. It also means you commit sufficient resources to achieve the objective once you have decided upon it. In an ironic way this means that you understand your time and resources are limited, you can’t commit everything to everything, and what you commit to you, you must do extremely well.

We all have to make sure we are putting our efforts into the right things. Is it important? Will it make a difference? Where you expend your efforts, and how you conduct yourself in the activities you engage in, reveals your priorities.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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