Host: Myroodah Station
Written by Chris Daniels
It is not until you have travelled to a less fortunate country that you really appreciate how fortunate you are.
A few years ago my wife Pam and I travelled to Peru in South America for a three week holiday. The majority of the trip was spent with an organised tour group. We spent four days and nights walking the Inca trail through the Andes Mountains camped in tents and at our highest point we went through a pass at 5500m above sea level, a day we will never forget! While we had lunch on the last day we had rain, sleet, sunshine and snow. Through it all we were served a three course meal which was prepared in a tent adjacent to ours that had been carried all day on the back of the donkeys and mules along with everything else we needed.
All along the Inca trail we visited villages and met the contented locals who walked everywhere in sandals. We witnessed their architecture, temples and irrigation systems that were built in the early 1300’s and are still in use today. Some of this has to been seen to be believed. Somehow without wheels they moved 20 tonne rocks into place with joins that you cannot fit a credit card between. The main thing that has stuck with me from that trip has been the quality of their work and how they took their time to get it right. For those of us in a throw away, needed it yesterday world, we can all take home a valuable lesson here. So often we are pressured into making decisions by impatient people who have this imaginary belief that if the decision is not made this second, then the opportunity will be lost forever, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time.” ~Unknown
You may be wondering at this point what this has to do with managing a cattle station and the training of Indigenous staff…
Pam and I are very proud of the fact that we have built a solid foundation here at Myroodah Station in respect to the Indigenous Land Corporation’s training program. This has not happened overnight and it needs attention on a daily basis. It has taken four challenging years to get to this point where we now have 85% of our fulltime stockmen employed here who have come through the ILC’s training program. In the right environment these young men have the ability to perform as well as any stockmen I’ve seen. I have learnt that to get success in my game, you often need to stand your ground and not be pressured by impatient people. Otherwise the standard of what you are trying to achieve is compromised. I see no point in putting the ILC’s stamp of approval and my personal reputation on the line for an outcome that will not withstand the test of time.
Another area we are proud of is our stock handling. As livestock are our core business, the handling of our cattle needs to be very efficient, timely and without injury and stress to both staff and livestock. Our industry has done a lot of work to address these concerns in the last couple of years but we also have the impatient ones amongst us who feel the need to rush everything through or they feel like they aren’t achieving anything. There is a saying that I heard some years ago that I recite to my staff and it is this – “Don’t confuse activity for productivity”. A perfect example of this is when the boss shows up and everyone is running around looking very busy. I tend to question – “Why the rush?” Once again we slow everything down to a constant steady speed with our stock handling and before you know it the job is done and there are no injuries or stress to man or beast.
It is hard for some people to get their head around the idea that if you slow things down you speed things up by becoming more efficient. I can only hope that the impatient people of this world take a step back, take a deep breath and redirect their energy into something more sustainable for the long term.
It is our focus on the quality rather than the quantity that makes this a real success!