Over the past few months (well years probably), I have been asking ‘why’, quite a lot! I love asking ‘why’ because I get the insight into so many peoples points of view. If I don’t ask ‘why’, how do I know all the possible answers? and can I expect to progress?
Without the question, how can we expect to get answers? Is this not when things start to stagnate, and progress is haltered? It is very comfortable to keep doing ‘what we have always done’ because there is an element of risk doing something different. What if it doesn’t work? Will I just end up broke?
Neophobia, or fear of the new, will deter most species from trying something unknown. Think of introducing lambs to grain having never seen it – they don’t go flying up and guts themselves – they don’t even know what it is! So what do we do, we slowly introduce it to them so they get used to it and get to recognise it as food. And when they do, they benefit from it.
Through out my travels so far this year, I have met people who have very strong beliefs in something. So strong in fact that I ask myself whether it is actually realistic or practical. Content aside, the thing I love about people with an opinion, is it makes me think about what my opinion is and why.
If everyone sitting around a board table had the same opinion – do you think we would get any progression? It only takes one person to disagree to start a discussion. And when we have discussion – we have people asking ‘why’ and progress will start.
While studying my topic this year – looking at how individual animal management can maximise efficiency gains on commercial sheep properties through measuring and objective decisions – it is quite interesting observing the differences in responses. From people who can’t possibly see how it can be any better than what we currently do, to people who will go out of their way to help, offer ideas and experiences and encourage some great conversation.
‘We just have to keep doing what we are doing to increase efficiency – we’ll get there’ was one persons response to my study topic. Can we really solve a problem by doing the same thing that got us here in the first place?? It doesn’t make much sense to me but I am always up for discussion! With the current production rate of some of the key performance indicators such as number of lambs weaned not increasing all that much in the past 30 years, I’m not convinced we can solve the problem by doing the same thing.
How often do you hear people in the chicken, pork or dairy industries talking about how good their production was 50 years ago – yet it is what the sheep industry prides itself on. The sheep industry has a wonderful history and tradition, and should be respected, but do we need to go broke over it?
I had a marvellous week last week driving through NSW into QLD catching up with some of the great minds – who are pushing the traditional thinking – and doing a fantastic job at it. I thank each of them for their time and support and ‘having the conversation’. My trip in NZ for the next two weeks will add to this and I can’t wait to start talking to some of the great minds in this part of the world!!