There's nothing like a complete change of environment to get into a zone to be able to think laterally.
We all try to do strategic thinking when we are in our workplaces - some can do this successfully, most can't.
Being out of a normal place geographically allows different thoughts to start flowing, particularly if that place is somewhere enjoyable.
Recently, I visited good friends of mine, who own pastoral station Mt Eba. They were about to start shearing, so I knew the weekend would be pretty busy - and it was.
Within 45 minutes of getting there, I found myself shearing a few sheep, and the rest of the weekend was pretty much spent mustering on the motorbike.
While I have been there before and have mustered up there previously, I must admit rounding up small mobs of sheep in a 8000-hectare paddock has its challenges - luckily we had eyes in the sky in the form of a gyrocopter.
Given it was a 10 kilometre ride between fence lines, it was - for me at least - a bit difficult to find my bearings from time to time.
I guess it's a case of what you're used to.
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I know this business quite well, as I deal with finance aspects for them. But you get a different perspective when on the ground for a few days.
There is more of an appreciation for the planning, and why things happen the way they do.
Like any good business, decisions are made with the future in mind, and not just putting out spot fires along the way.
The fundamentals of any business are quite similar, and lessons can be learnt from observing any good business from near or afar.
In this case, I was immersed in the strategic decision making process for a few days.
There are a lot of moving parts in this type of agribusiness, and responding in a calm, calculated manner is imperative for success.
In the time I was visiting, there were about 40 people on the station, and the business owner needs to be cognisant of all of them, even if they're not directly responsible for everyone.
I think you learn lessons from non agricultural businesses as well, if willing to think a bit outside the square, and reflect on ways that certain principles can be applied to the business.
These lessons may be in the form of efficiency gains, marketing, negotiating with suppliers or anything really.
A key trait of any good business is the ability to adapt and change to suit the prevailing market conditions.
While there have been good rains in the pastoral areas in the past few years, it was quite dry prior to this.
One of the strategic decisions Mt Eba made was to venture into outback tourism. This part of the business is thriving, and I have seen the results first hand on previous visits.
They have a combination of camping facilities and tourists coming in from the air, mainly from William Creek. The station is quite historical for lots of reasons, and well worth a visit.
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