RANCH MANAGEMENT - They Need To Be Held Accountable

I've argued that when you are self-employed your boss is a lunatic.  It has
nothing to do with intelligence or how hard we work. Most of us are plenty
smart and work hard enough.  The problem is we work on the things we enjoy
and the things we are good at, the $10/hour jobs, while leaving $100 and
$1,000/hour jobs undone. No one holds us accountable.

I've had conversations with several members of ranching families in which a
family member will say something like, We talk about the plan and are
assured that it will be implemented, but there's no follow-through.  We need
a way of holding insert name here  accountable.

I often suggest the family shareholders actually do what their by-laws say
they do, and that's have board meetings where strategy is discussed, goals
are set, performance is evaluated relative to those goals and people are
held accountable. It usually helps to have non-family members (your
attorney, accountant, some other person with businesses experience) on your

That's great, they say.  But when I ask, What targets would you be
accountable for? the optimistic smile turns into a deer-in-the-headlights
stare.   We want others to be held accountable but we neither want to be the
one to hold them accountable nor do we want to be accountable to someone
else.  We like working for a lunatic.

We talk about ranching as though we have to choose between living the
ranching lifestyle or running a ranching business.  It is a false choice. 
The multi-generational ranching lifestyle stinks unless we make the
distinction between our family business and our family. We need professional
management.  Growing up with ½ of your DNA does not predispose your children
to managerial excellence.  If they are going to run the business, they need
to become professional managers. Without professional management, sooner or
later the romanticized lifestyle we dream about will become a nightmare.



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