Dr. Robin Falkner and the 80/20 Rule

(Bob Cervera) Producer education is a career for some and an opportunity for those they teach. Zoetis veterinarian Robin Falkner likes to tell stories to reach out, and one of his favorite analogies makes use of a ratio. (Dr. Robin Falkner) That’s the 80-20 rule, and what that means is that 80% of my profits in a cattle operation may come from 20% of the cattle I buy so understanding that really helps me to help them optimize whatever their business model is. And an analogy I use on that often is you know we want to fish where the fish are within their system, so if you’ve ever been in the Gulf fishing like I have, you don’t just go out and fish. (Bob) Why not just recite the facts or hand out answers? (Dr. Falkner) I’ll tell you what, analogies are sticky — which means if you can tell someone a story or you can give them an analogy then that they remember and now they can weave that into their own philosophy or their own business approach and then realize that when they’re there next so you know that 80 – 20 rule is very intuitive to people once they learn it and realize that this is this part of that 80% that only matters 20%, or part of the 20% that matters 80. (Bob) When people keep their business model in mind every day, they can be flexible and more sustainable, Falkner says. (Dr. Falkner) If they’re just repeating what they did last year because it worked last year and don’t understand why, then that’s not a very sustainable model; eventually that will run up against the world that is just throwing a curveball. (Bob) The veterinarian and management analysts see similar patterns in other businesses, including foodservice. (Dr. Falkner) In a Darwinian view of the world, only time is trying to sort the most successful from the most likely to be foreclosed. And I do think we see the same thing with restaurants; you know you see a restaurant today least-cost their product, or do they put something on there that gives the customer the repeated quality experience? So you walk in steak houses, you know what? You’re going to see, you know you’re going to see that CAB symbol on a lot of steakhouse menus that have been there a long time that have repeat customers that people kind of say this is a little above the rest. (Bob) No matter what sector of the economy you call home, quality matters. I’m Bob Cervera.

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