There has been a lot written in the past couple of years of the value and necessity of teamwork . I, for one, have worked within team environments for many years. But, I learned about teamwork many years before the term became a popular buzzword in organizations. Are large organizations the only places where teamwork exists, or must be learned? How and when did I learn about teams?
On A Farm
When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to visit many country farms tagging along with my father who taught music lessons to many farm kids. I always remember one farm in particular where both of the farmer’s sons took Spanish guitar lessons from my father.
The farm on which they boys lived was a small dairy farm where milking of the Holstein herd was a daily routine both early morning and at night. The farm was big enough, though, that one person, the father, could not manage it alone and certainly could not do all the chores by himself as well as plant the hay crops in the early spring and harvest the hay for his cows both in late June and in early September. This meant that if the farm was to grow and support the family, everyone had to pitch and help.
This meant that each member of the family , including the farmer’s wife, all had a set of defined responsibilities on a daily basis, seven days a week. As you may know, dairy herds must be milked every day including Saturday and Sunday – there is no rest on a farm – no days off -no sick time – nor any holidays.
So, what developed through necessity was the original teamwork- teamwork that meant survival, growth and enough money to feed the family, buy the necessary farm supplies like fencing and machinery. If there was no teamwork, there would be no farm – it was that simple.
If you have a chance some time in the future, I would encourage you to visit a working farm where family members all work together to make an operation a success . It is too bad that more people couldn’t experience the original team on a farm before they start to talk about what teams are and how they should operate – they may learn more than they might first realize. I worked on this particular farm from time to time for a couple of years and I certainly found out a lot. I found out how hard the work is, what being punctual meant when you needed to milk a herd of cattle at a set time, feed them at a certain time, and to finish one task completely in a short time period because there was another chore waiting to be done.
Farms have become even bigger business today. No longer are there the small one hundred acres farms unless of course those that are only a hobby farm. And, as farms grew in acreage, the machines to work them even more expensive, and the knowledge of crop rotation, seed, restrictions on fertilizers, and how to survive by investing in the commodity markets. Do you want to learn about teams and teamwork – visit a farm today.