Apple pie, games of touch football, grilled burgers in the backyard—who ever said traditions are a bad thing? There's something meaningful about doing things the way they've always been done, especially when logging has been in the family for multiple generations. It's quite convenient to walk down the beaten path and follow in the footsteps of those who pioneered the way for you; however, habits sometimes prevent growth.
Whether it's a sense of obligation to the family or a personal comfort zone that makes you a creature of habit, your day-to-day routine should be occasionally evaluated. Today's resources allow for constant change, which can provide many opportunities, but also some uncertainties about the future. Rather than embracing that change and adapting, it's natural to cling to the things that we can already control and continue on as usual.
Take a look at your typical week on the job, then stretch that into a month, a year, five years, and beyond. Are the tasks you're doing today just a continuation of what you did yesterday? Or did you try something new this week that challenged your "norm?" It can be as simple as checking out a social media site to stay current with trends in the industry, or something larger-scale, such as investing in a new piece of technology. Even a small step today is progress toward tomorrow, but without stepping in a new direction, you may just end up right where you started.
That's not the case for Michael Hartline, who took over Hartline Farm & Timber, a company stared by his dad in 1978. Hartline has seen many changes in the industry, from updated equipment to technology use like JDLink. Rather than continuing using the same equipment and procedures, his updated equipment and use of technology has increased his production.
"When my dad first started, we cut everything down with a chainsaw — trimmed everything with a chainsaw and skidded everything with chokers. So that's come a long way," says Hartline. Had Hartline stuck to the exact ways of his father, he'd be left in the dust as the industry strives forward in technology and innovation.
Tradition and history don't have to be eliminated, in fact, they're essential to the foundation and the future of your business. Don't think that change means abandoning the core values of where you started, rather, think of change as an opportunity to expand on them. It's just as important to stay grounded as it is to grow outward; after all, the tallest trees have the deepest roots.
Like the philosopher Socrates once said, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." So today, challenge yourself, expand your comfort zone, and capitalize on your potential.
We're here to help you grow, because at John Deere, We're For Loggers.