Today, after working through the initial morning routine, I got to thinking about mental high fives. Probably because I gave myself one for making it through the first hour of the work day, when really I wanted to be outside doing something less mundane than checking and responding to emails. No one really knows who started the tradition of high-fives (you can read more about it here), but they have become a popular part of our culture. When I was a kid I loved the high-five and still do. I am pretty sure I learned to high-five before I learned to hug, shake hands, or fist bump. One of my fondest memories is giving our pastor a low-five after every church service instead of a handshake. My brothers and sister and I use the high-five instead of hugging. My dog even loves to high-five.
Okay now you are asking, what does the high-five have to do with management of grazing lands? Sadly, logically speaking, it doesn’t. I mean high-fives are not really something we typically think about when delving into range management activities. However they can come into play when building teams, accomplishing tasks, and celebrating successes, which are all things we should be doing to improve and manage rangelands across the west.
Let me ask you this, who is part of your team? If you raise livestock that graze on rangelands you likely have some type of team. Initially this might be you and your spouse or family. However, think of others that may be on your team. You may hire an accountant to give financial advice. You may work with a University Extension Educator or other consultant that advises you on grazing strategies and proper monitoring techniques. When doing monitoring you may work with a government agency, especially if you have a grazing permit on public lands. You may hire laborers or ranch hands. Maybe the neighbors come over to help with branding, shearing, and other large tasks that require more hands than you initially have. These people are all part of your range management team!
Now I will ask you another question? When you accomplish a task with your team, do you celebrate? Do you let your team know that they have done a good job and that you appreciate them? This brings me back to the original idea of this post—the high-five. The high-five is an excellent way to show people that they have done a great job. That they are appreciated. Taking time to celebrate, even the smallest of accomplishments, can go a long way in keeping your team running smoothly and efficiently. Should you high-five your accountant or agency representative? Well it depends. Does your accountant/representative have a good sense of humor? Did he or she just make you some money or help you figure something out that you were questioning? If you can answer yes, I say go for it. Should you high-five an extension educator/consultant? I don’t see why not. Should you high-five your spouse, family, neighbors, and hired hands? Of course you should!
The beauty of taking a minute to honor a job well done whether you did it by yourself or with a team can serve as motivation for the next task at hand. So take a minute to give yourself a mental high-five, or a team member a real high-five. It just may make the next task just a little bit easier to accomplish. I will leave you with a story about celebrating the successes. A day or so ago, my 4 year old niece went to the doctor for her kindergarten immunizations. This is the story she told that day about the event, “Today I got my kindergarten shots. I didn’t even cry. I had one tear in my eye but it didn’t come out. Leila [her 12 year-old- sister], she is terrible. She screams. And she is older than me… High-five!?”