Explain the WHY to Create the BUY
Day to day tasks can get daunting, but whether you are a manager, herdsman or owner of a dairy, we know that the routines that take place on farms are essential to productivity and healthy animals. Being that routines are key, and as our industry shifts to highly efficient animals through the use of genetics, nutrition and technology, we are constantly tweaking these routines to achieve the maximum efficiency. But how do we make people effective and efficient?
Although there are many ways to make a team of employees effective, we will focus on perhaps one of the most powerful, and tactfully crafted skills to create- “buy-in”. First, to gain buy in we must understand where it is created. Buy in ultimately starts at the top; as a manager you must show integrity, enthusiasm, and trust in your team. Perhaps the most important part of gaining buy-in, particularly on farms, is establishing and explaining the WHY not just the HOW. For example: imagine you want to implement a new step in your milking routine: this is more work, more movement in an already tiring day for your milkers. They perhaps think it will now take even longer to milk… until we establish the WHY. The “why” in this situation would be it takes 90-120 seconds for oxytocin to be released by stimulation and signal the mammary gland. We need these extra seconds to achieve that perfect let down.
Often we can use presentations and graphics to show employees, or by hands on with the actual animal so that everyone has a chance to understand the mechanism. Most people are eager to learn and improve their skills and knowledge. When we know the “why” of what we do we are automatically more engaged and apt to do the job correctly. The end of the example will show that they actually reduced milking time because she let down her milk faster and more efficiently, which translates into less work for the milker, which in theory creates buy in. Ultimately, the goals of employee “buy-in” are increase productivity, moral, awareness and creation employee-animal bond.
Next time you are considering changing a task on your farm, think and explain the why and express enthusiasm; this in turn will lead to a more effective team and productive animals.