In a meeting, I was asked what my main focus on the farm was, and I had to pause for a second to think about it. Yes, I am involved with the everyday grind. Yes, I play the Human Resources role, and of course cows are involved . . . but what is my focus? I started out by explaining the things on the dairy that I find most interesting, but it led me to realize that my main focus is team building.
It is easy to get laser-focused on the tasks at hand and lose sight of those people that are working alongside you during the day and at night while you are away or asleep. Over the last few years, we as a team have worked together to learn each other’s strengths and weakness and likes and dislikes so that we can work together as efficiently as possible.
The efficiency comes from the abilities of the individuals and the enjoyment they have completing a specific task. For example, certain people do more work when they are left by themselves for long periods of time, while others need the camaraderie. Some people enjoy working directly with cows; others prefer tractor work. Understanding what your team members enjoy helps create a more stable work environment for everyone.
While working through the characteristics of everyone, the team became happier. We liked working together because we all enjoyed what we were doing. Through this process, we began to trust in each other’s abilities and willingness to comply to protocols and complete tasks in a timely manner. On our farm, everything is scheduled in advanced and in the order that it needs to be completed every day. With that being said, we rely on each other heavily to complete the tasks we are assigned so as to not delay the rest of the day.
It took a lot of work to get our team where it is today and just as much work to maintain it, but I can guarantee the time spent building your team is well worth every minute.
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.