Saturday, January 21, 2012

The U

I always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, occasionally I would throw out the idea to Annisa, "Let's go to college and teach." Then I would backtrack. Something about academia gives me the hives. I also made a New Year's resolution to improve my conversational and speaking skills. Truth be told, I prefer to speak few words and get straight to the point which makes conversations with my wife interesting to say the least. Plus, the art of persuasion, especially with clients, requires greater tactfulness than my speaking preference allows. Boy do my public speaking skills require a lot of work. Dairy Judging at Penn State helped substantially, but the glory years are over a decade in the past. Therefore, the only way to practice is to make a commitment to speak publicly on a regular basis.

Enough about me. Our clients are facing greater and more difficult challenges that impact their financial viability. The only way to stay viable is to address the management issues head on that are holding back a larger pay check. To identify and address these issues, clients require knowledge, guidance, and support. How can we do more to help and better serve our clients? Let's start a University!

The practice created Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarians University, or MMDV-University for short. The University provides a unique forum to serve our clients. We get to use our skills and share knowledge in an open classroom. Plus, it forces me to get out of my comfort zone. I get to teach, practice public speaking, and serve my clients in the same forum. Who could ask for anything more? Truth be told, Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, was the inspiration behind MMDV-U. I love Dave Ramsey, agree with his financial principles, and admire his unabashed honesty and tough love mantra. Can we use the Dave Ramsey format?

The University is fairly ambitious, a 9-part class covering a little bit of everything.
  1. January: Cow Comfort
  2. February: Transition Cow Management
  3. March: Replacements
  4. April: Forage Quality and Feed Management
  5. May: Milk Quality
  6. September: Reproduction
  7. October: Risk Management
  8. November: Animal Husbandry Techniques and Animal Welfare
  9. December: Production, Culling, and Internal Herd Growth
The Cow Comfort Session was wrapped up last week and I have to say, it went pretty well. We had 34 "students" from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Dr. Doak and I partnered to teach the course, using dueling computers to present our Power Point Presentation and to use website examples and videos. Each student received notes and a thumbdrive with papers, presentations, and spreadsheets.

As the saying goes, "Knowledge is Power." I hope that by the end of the year our students will implement changes that will significantly impact their profitability. At the same time, I get to enjoy a teaching gig and just maybe, public speaking and the art of persuasion will become second nature.