Beef Tips

Category: Management Minute

August 2019 Management Minute

“Customer Service”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Good customer service is essential to any business or organization. It does not matter if it is a restaurant or a tow truck service, having staff members who leave customers or anyone who encounters your business with that “wow that was great” feeling directly influences the bottom line. Customer service has become more important than ever as more consumers are gathering information and making purchasing decisions based on social media. What is customer service? Customer service is simply defined as the assistance provided by a company to those who purchase the goods or services it provides. Now on to the tough part, how do we as businesses or organizations provide that assistance?

Susan Ward (www.thebalancesmb.com) offers a few simple things that businesses can do to improve their customer service experiences. First, answer the phone. Potential customers want to talk to a person and don’t want to leave a message. Second, don’t make promises you can’t keep. As the old saying goes “say what you are going to do and do what you said you were going to”. Third, listen. Simply listening to what a potential customer needs is important, there is nothing worse than listening to a sales pitch for something you don’t want. Fourth, be helpful even if you don’t make the sale today. The service provided today has the potential to turn in to something much larger in the future. Fifth, train your staff to do something extra, like showing the customer where the product is located. Lastly, empower your staff to offer something extra without asking permission.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

Management Minute

“Think Safety this Summer, Agriculture is a High Risk Occupation”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Most of you reading this are likely involved in agriculture in some capacity. Do you think being a farmer or rancher is a high risk occupation?

The reality is that farming and ranching is a high risk occupation. A 2017 report from the U. S. Department of Labor contains some staggering statistics and emphasizes the need for safety. There were 5147 fatal workrelated injuries in 2017. Farmers, ranchers, and agriculture managers were the second greatest civilian occupation with regard to fatal work-related injuries; with 258 reported fatalities in 2017.

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June 2019 Management Minute

“Tell Me Something Good”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

I recently came across an interesting statistic attributed to the Gallup organization that suggests that 75% of us are at some level of disengagement with life. That essentially means that 25% of those surveyed were satisfied (happy) with where they were at in life. Does this carry over into the workplace? Absolutely.

Clint Swindall of Verbalocity Inc., a personal development company, breaks it down a bit further. “There are three types of people in an organization: 32 percent who are engaged, 50 percent who are disengaged and 18 percent who are actively disengaged. The actively disengaged people are called the “Oh No’s” because they dread being asked to work. The engaged people are called the “Oh Yes’s” because they will do whatever is asked of them with enthusiasm no matter what the task is.”

As humans it is really easy for us to get caught up in the negativity around us. Let’s face it…it is really difficult for most of us (75%) to see the opportunity in a given situation whether it is in our professional or personal life. What do you discuss at work or at home at the dinner table? The good stuff that happens during your day or the things that could have been better?

So the bigger question is what do we do about it? Clint Swindall suggests that we replace the traditional greeting of “How are you?” with “Tell me something good.” I can assure you that you will receive some really odd looks the first time you try it. However, some people will be more than willing to share something good about what is going on at work or at home. It will take some time, but maybe some of those “Oh No’s” will become “Oh Yes’s” in the workplace.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

May 2019 Management Minute

“Hiring the Best Person”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Whether you are a small business with just a few employees or a larger enterprise with several employees, hiring the right person for a position is essential. Making a good hiring decision can inspire others and improve the operations productivity. The unfortunate truth is that the number of qualified applicants for most skilled position isn’t large. “Good people are truly hard to find.”  So what can you as a potential employer do to attract and hire the best person for a position? There are many thoughts on this topic.  However, most experts agree that knowing what you are looking for and clearly stating the roles and responsibilities of the position is a great place to start. Applicants want/need to know the expectations of the position. Another point of consensus on the topic is to involve others in the hiring process. Allowing the candidates to interact with others in the organization through tours, or an informal dinner, can be a great way to know whether a person is a good fit.  An informal setting often allows an employer to gather more information about the applicant than the traditional interview questions can allow. People spend a great deal of time at work, thus co-workers, colleagues and the culture of the organization is important to both parties. Additionally, different people have different perspectives on the applicants, and usually there is some degree of consensus. Lastly, be prepared to move quickly with a competitive offer. The best people will usually have multiple opportunities.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

April 2019 Management Minute

“Leadership Styles”
By: Justin Waggoner

The most commonly recognized leadership styles are authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. However, there may be seven to twelve different leadership styles that include styles such as transformational, transactional, servant, charismatic, and situational. Although some of these leadership styles are unique, there is also some degree of similarities or overlap as well and in some cases, a leader may change their leadership styles to fit the situation (situational). The concept of situational leadership was first recognized by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard (author of the “One Minute Manager”). They recognized that successful leaders often adapted their leadership style or styles to the individual or group they were leading. Collectively these different leadership styles remind us that leadership is complicated and we still have a lot to learn about leadership. For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

March 2019 Management Minute

“Leadership”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

What is leadership? And what makes a leader effective? The term leadership is simply defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization” or the “ability to lead other people.” History has given us a number of examples of excellent leaders who have motivated groups or organizations to accomplish tremendous acts against overwhelming odds. Pick one. Any leader of your choice. What made this individual a great leader? Could we concisely come up with a list of traits or characteristics that made this individual an excellent leader? Now pick another. Do your two leaders have anything in common? What made these leaders effective? Although leadership has been the focus of tremendous study and numerous books, we still do not understand it. However, I would contend that the one thing all great leaders share is that they helped those they were leading get better and accomplish bigger things than those individuals thought was possible. As a leader, “What are you doing to help your people get better at what they do?”

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

February 2019 Management Minute

“Corporate Culture”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Corporate or organizational culture is one of “buzzwords” in today’s business community. Although it is not a new term by any means (originating in the 1960s), it has undoubtedly received more attention, as tech giants have created unconventional employee centered environments. So what does corporate or organizational culture mean, and what is the role of a leader or manager in an organization’s culture? Many different sources define corporate culture as the shared beliefs, values, standards, systems, policies and perceptions held by employees. Informally the culture of company may be characterized by asking the company’s employees a few questions. What words best describe the organization? What behaviors or efforts are rewarded? What is the company’s No. 1 priority? In some cases, two very different cultures may exist within an organization: a formal corporate culture, i.e. mission statements, core values statements and an informal corporate culture (views of the employees). Corporate culture is generally thought of as progressing from the top down, where leadership initiates and stewards the corporate culture by hiring and promoting individuals who represent/embrace the corporate culture. More importantly, managers and leaders must model the corporate culture in their interactions with both customers and employees. Corporate culture may be healthy or unhealthy. Is the culture of your organization positively contributing to the business? As a manager, does the corporate culture align with your values and beliefs? Are you incentivizing and rewarding employees for doing the right thing?

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu

January 2019 Management Minute

“What’s Your Mission?”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Have you ever given any thought to what your organization, farm, feedlot or operation is really about? Do you have a mission statement, a set of core values that you believe your organization or operation embodies? Previously, I used to think that mission statements and core value statements were idealistic and a waste of thought. However, my attitude has changed. These statements provide the organization with a foundation, a clear objective that serves to guide the organization as it makes decisions that hopefully move the organization forward into the future. Regardless of the size of the enterprise, putting some thought into what an organization or business is really about has value. These statements do not have to be long or dramatic. I recently visited a family livestock operation in which the sign on the front lawn (along a major highway) simply said “Our Family Feeding Yours.” This simple statement tells everyone that drives by that this is a family operation that is foremost engaged in the process of sustaining not only themselves but other people. So challenge yourself a bit and ask yourself, “Why do you (or your business) do what you do?” What is your mission?

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

December 2018 Management Minute

“Reflection with a Purpose”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Although it does not seem possible, the New Year will soon be upon us. This is a great time for individuals and organizations to reflect back on the events of the past 12 months. However, the value of reflection dramatically increases if it is used as a tool to evaluate not only where you or the organization has been but also where it is headed in the future. A few basic questions can be used to guide the process of “Reflecting with a Purpose”

What did you or the business succeed at?
What were your failures?
What was learned from those successes and failures?
What would you like to do more of or what generated positive outcomes for the organization?
What should you stop doing?

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.

November 2018 Management Minute

“Winter Safety in the Workplace”

By: Justin Waggoner, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist

Winter will be upon us shortly and many agricultural workers work in the elements, which brings a new set of seasonal workplace hazards. Falls, slips and trips are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Although falls and slips can occur anytime, extra precautions are required during the winter months. Hypothermia is real, especially for those who work in the elements. Safety experts suggest that clothing should be layered to retain body heat. However, how and what type of layers those clothes are made of is important. At least three layers is recommended; cotton or other breathable synthetic fiber should be the first or base layer. Wool or down is suggested for the middle layer, and the third or outer layer should be comprised of material that will block the wind (nylon outer shell found on many ski-jackets etc). Portable heaters are often used as heat sources in many shops and barns. Portable heaters are one of the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires. If heaters are used in confined spaces, keep in mind that ventilation is required to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, the areas where heaters are used should be checked for combustible materials.

For more information, contact Justin Waggoner at jwaggon@ksu.edu.