This week, at the outset of a presentation I gave to a group of progressive cattlemen, I asked them two questions:

  • Looking out over the next 2-3 years, are you excited, neutral or pessimistic about the direction of the cattle industry?
  • Looking out 10-15 years, are you excited, nervous or neutral about the future of the cattle industry?
I think a pretty compelling case can be made for all of the answers in any combination, but I was surprised how evenly distributed the answers truly were considering these were producers who are looked upon as being on the cutting edge of the industry.

Later, it hit me that there is a wide divergence among industry participants in their approach, attitude or mindset about our business.

It is probably too simplistic to call them optimists or pessimists, but I think there is a group that focus on both the possibilities and the opportunities in the future, and those who are resigned to a mindset that says they will have no or little effect on the eventual outcome and they are just along for the ride. They may either like or dislike what they see as the future of the industry, but they're content to let somebody else take action. They merely want to continue what they've done, planning to change when they are forced to.

So do you operate from a viewpoint of possibility or resignation in your business? The following is a very short list of questions that might help you determine your mindset:
  • Do you find it hard to fit strategic planning and market planning into your schedule?
  • Do you avoid developing contacts with industry players, taking time to participate in industry associations and attending education events?
  • Do you have big plans for your operation and what you can achieve? Or are you limited in your perspective?
  • Have you said you were going to take advantage of marketing opportunities, pursue marketing alliances and niches, only to find yourself doing the same old thing time after time?
  • Do you find yourself fretting over the market, the profitability of the business, and the future for producers in your geographic location or size demographic?
  • Do you find yourself saying that if you had more capital, access to more grass, or a better banker, you would implement bold initiatives but are operating under limiting constraints currently?
The list of questions could go on for quite some time, but nothing has the potential to influence the future performance of your operation than embracing the possibility mindset and eliminating the resignation mindset.