Turning Pro

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, expressed his view that it takes 10,000 hrs. of focused practice to become a professional. 10,000 hrs. is a long time, 1,000 hrs. of focused practice per year then requires 10 years to complete the course.

This requirement came to mind this week visiting dairies. How many dairy operators have had 10,000 hrs. of “practice?” I believe many. The real question is not the hours but the focus; the difficult part of any job is the focus, staying on task until completion can be almost impossible. Focus then becomes the limiting factor, the hours, not so much.

Look in the parlor and its equipment. Most parlors reach the 10,000 hour mark pretty quick, unfortunately the equipment, at this point in development at least, isn’t really practicing; its doing what it was designed, installed and adjusted to do. So the real question on 10,000 hours then is the person or people who are doing the installation and adjustment. Do they have 10,000 hours? Do they have the opportunity to learn from someone who does?

Most all equipment was designed to work. Yes, cows milk more today than ever before but that could be said every day since we started milking them, progress occurs. The installation and adjustment is where the 10,000 hours and the focus come into play. I see it all the time, we all try to save money where we can and a common place is to perform maintenance with on-site staff. Labor is expensive and reducing the price paid for the repair or maintenance is an easy way to save some real money.

I understand saving money, we all have said “I can do that cheaper myself,” just make sure when we do it that in some way we are able to tap into someone or something that allows us to do it like professionals

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