Here is an idea that I am sure will shock many of the people who read The Bullvine. I don’t care if you like me. I really don’t. I actually think it’s better if you don’t like me. That tells me that I am achieving my ultimate goal. You see. We didn’t start The Bullvine to become liked by everyone, or to be the most popular people in the dairy industry. We started The Bullvine to provide some leadership in a time of uncertainty. Besides being a leader isn’t about being liked. It’s about doing what’s right.
So many leaders in the dairy industry are afraid of conflict. They hide from it. They have this deep-seated need to be popular and admired. They hate ruffling feathers and making waves. In reality they are insecure and not comfortable living in their own skin. Great leaders are different than that. They fearlessly make tough calls. They speak the truth as they see it. They run their own race, making the right decisions and worrying little about public opinion. They are courage in action.
Since starting The Bullvine we have said and done some things that have been extremely unpopular. Speaking out against photo manipulation (Read more: Introducing the Dairy Cattle Marketing Code of Conduct and Dairy Cattle Photography – Over exposed), or breeding ethics (Read more: Has Genomics Knocked Out the Hot House Herds and The Hot House Effect On Sire Sampling), didn’t win us many friends in the industry. We didn’t do it to make friends. We did it because it was the right thing to do.
It wasn’t easy. The right thing to do is generally the hardest thing to do. Sure we could have taken the easy route. But isn’t that what led us to these issues in the first place. Cattle photographers doing what is easy instead of what is right? Sure we can add topline hair and tails back in Photoshop. But where do you draw the line. When does that become no longer respecting the craft that you love so much? I often see photographers these days not making sure that they get the lighting correct. “We can just touch it up in Photoshop later”. Being a leader is not about doing what is easy. It’s about doing what is hard, when you know it is the right thing to do.
The same can be said about breeding ethics. Sure you can cheat the age of a calf or sneak a few extra pounds in on a milk test. But where is your integrity? Integrity is what you do when no one is watching. It’s doing the right thing all the time. Not because it’s the easy thing to do. Not because it’s the most popular thing to do. It’s because it’s the right thing to do.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
When you lead from a position of truth, justice and fairness you’ll have your critics. I once heard this quote and it rings true for us here at The Bullvine, “Great people build monuments from the stones that their critics throw at them”. If we listened to all the critics that say what we’re am doing is wrong, we would never bring about change in the industry. And that is not the reason we started The Bullvine. We started The Bullvine to lead from the front. We won’t hide behind the lines.