Catching up with “25 Ways to Win With People”

“The way we see people is often the difference between manipulating and motivating them.”  p.122

This sentence is used within the context of adding value to people.  As a leader of employees, this one is very important and hopefully one of our biggest ‘ah-ha’ moments in the book.  Do we feel that each person is valuable and truly important on the dairy, from the milkers to the calf feeder?  Is it really impossible to make someone else feel important if secretly we feel that they are inferior, unworthy or replaceable?  Valuing people starts with knowing that each individual is important.  Building on that truth and helping others become more valuable will create success for both you and the business in which you work.

It’s normal to feel hesitant about investing in people for fear that they will better themselves at your dairy only to quit and go elsewhere.  Perhaps adding value to people means an expectation of a raise.  I would encourage you to talk to other LIFT attendees next week and ask…”How do you add value to those you lead?”.

Valuing People

One day I was touring a dairy with the feed manager and parlor manager of a client of mine.  The man giving us the tour was the general manager of the dairy.  As we walked through the operation, he stopped to talk with the people working.  We heard questions like “Did the change in protocol seem to help with milk let-down?” and “What did you learn at the seminar last week?”.  But we heard even more questions along the lines of “Are you and your wife ready for that new baby?” and “Did your daughter’s team win that softball game? – Awesome!”.

That day I learned more about the leadership of this manager than I did about anything else on the dairy.  It appeared effortless, but I know that he invested time and energy in remembering people’s story.  He made it important to him, and that made each person all the more important to the dairy.

He is a master at remembering a person’s story and would likely tell you the same three steps as Maxwell in pages 129-130

  1. ASK

Chapter 22 is entitled “Learn Your Mailman’s Name”.  For me, this chapter brought back memories from the very first seminar that I ever attended (the subject of the meeting ironically was about being a ‘teen leader’).  It’s hard to believe, but it was 23 years ago when I was in high school.  When we sent in our registration for the meeting, we were asked to send our school picture along.  I assumed that it was for a directory of some kind but was shocked when, upon arrival, the director of the meeting knew each one of us by name.  He had never met us and there were over 400 high school students at the seminar.  It was so impressive that I remember the day well over two decades later.  The frustrating part is that I don’t remember his name – ugh.  I guess that’s why I’m still attending the meetings and not teaching them  🙂

Today, I like to take this advice a step further: Learn your mailman’s name, and respect it.  I try hard to teach my children that a person’s name is their most important possession.  Last night our family was watching the Badger basketball team play in the NCAA tourney and a commercial came on with Kyle Butts, a Virginia Tech swimmer…teachable moment.  Remember a person’s name, and respect it.


25_Ways_to_Win_with_People__86048_stdHave you had an opportunity to start the book that Jim Barmore handed out at our LIFT session in Cedar Rapids? Having read the first three chapters and also listening to the audiobook while driving this week, I found myself wanting to continue…and that’s a good thing!

The first lesson that really grabbed my attention was in Chapter 1: Start with Yourself. It was the story about finding your value and realizing that, like the $50.00 bill, each person we encounter has value that remains unchanged even after being damaged. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of our value knowing how often we fail, only to get back up and try again.

“26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan


Chapter 2 reminds us to see the good in others.  Forget about “Searching for ways to make yourself look good.  Instead, search for ways to make others look good.”  For me this is the take-home message.  I’ve tried to practice the 30-second rule and can tell you this from my experience so far – it’s harder than expected, but quickly very rewarding.


Finally, in Chapter 3, the discussion turns to enlisting others’ help in achieving our dreams.  Within each of the businesses you are a part of, consider this from page 20…’when the vision gets bigger than you, you really only have two choices: give up on the vision OR get help.’  Which one gets you closer to the goal?

Sometimes it can be difficult to get others to buy into your vision. Marty Faldet talked about continuing to revisit a subject that he feels strongly about changing.  As consultants, we definitely need you to participate in making our vision a reality. What we don’t always consider is that asking others for help is a great way to make people feel important and part of the heart of success.  In addition, the person who feels needed consistently performs better.

If you haven’t taken the time to begin your reading…do it now.  If you have begun your reading, you can now start putting the first three ways to win with people into practice.  How’s it going??  – Sarah

Chapters 1, 2, 3 in “25 Ways to Win with People”

What do your cows eat?

When I talk to my non-farming brothers and sisters about what we feed dairy cows these days, they’re surprised to hear how much science, creativity, and attention to detail are involved in putting that meal together.  We grew up on a small dairy in Wisconsin where the cow’s diet consisted of hay, corn and some type of protein supplement fortified with vitamins and minerals.  The protein source used at that time was largely soybean-based.  Today the types of feeds used are vast and largely consist of byproducts or some type of leftovers from making a human product.  Here are some examples:

Feed Byproduct


Human Product

Soy cakes


Soy sauce

Distillers grains


Ethanol derived from corn

Corn gluten feed


Corn syrup

Whole fuzzy cottonseed


Cotton gin waste

Gummy bears (sugar source)



Sweet corn silage


Canned corn

Here’s a picture of a starch/gummy bear mixture that comes from a candy factory. We feed this to milking cows at a dairy in Minnesota.

The cow’s diet (we call it a ration or TMR short for total mixed ration) is formulated by entering all of our feeds into the computer and balancing for the nutritional requirements of a given group of cows or calves.  There have been mountains of research over the years to determine what levels of nutrients are needed for milk production, gestation, health and growth of animals.  It’s extremely important to me to know that I’ve provided everything that cow needs to remain healthy and productive because, unlike humans she can’t go out when she’s ‘craving’ something to eat.  We watch so many details…when to feed, how much to feed, when to freshen up the feed the list goes on and on.  We even do this thing called a TMR audit and run around the dairy with cameras and stopwatches making sure the feeder is doing everything he can to make the best feed – which seems crazy when I say it like that! 

Here’s a short list of the nutrients that I spend the most time stewing over when balancing a ration.  Fiber – this one is first for a reason; a cow is a ruminant which means she has four stomach compartments and can digest large amounts of fiber.  She has a specific requirement for fiber and if her diet is low she will have digestive upset and can get very sick.  Protein – all animals require protein for function, muscle building and for lactating cows to produce milk.  Energy – this is a tricky one for cows.  There’s a limit to how much of different types of energy we can use or we upset her somewhat-delicate digestive system again.  We use starch, sugar, digestible fiber and fat to meet her high demand for energy.  The reason for the limitation is that inside the rumen, the largest of the stomach compartments, is a very large population of very tiny creatures.  Bacteria and protozoa live in her rumen and essentially, I feed them and they in turn produce energy and protein for the cow.  It’s a crazy symbiotic relationship that can be a little frustrating because if we feed too much fat or oil, the little bugs can die.  Same thing with starch and sugar, we need to offer feeds in the right proportion to keep these friends happy.  Lastly, we spend a lot of time getting the vitamins and minerals correct – balance and proportion is important here too.

A dairy cattle nutritionist’s job is to keep the cows healthy and productive; we prevent illness and help to create contentness.  It’s fulfilling, challenging, ever-changing and rewarding.  From the time I was a little girl feeding hay in the winter, I’ve always loved to watch a cow eat!  You should try it sometime – you might find you like it too.