It’s stock show time in Bandera Texas. Cream of the crop, best of the best, gold medal, the bee’s knees, pick of the litter, crème de le crème… Excellence isn’t something that just happens by letting mediocrity and those things lurking at the bottom of the barrel get in the mix. It’s achieved, it’s accomplished and it’s pursued. That means decisions have to be made—often tough ones.

Whether you’re talking about Mother Nature’s way of eliminating the weak so the strong persist, or talking about what it takes to have an A team instead of a B team, on the plains or in the office, the decisions are simillar. At Barton Logistics we look to nature for inspiration in cultivating a strong team. Headquartered in Medina, Texas, we are farmers and ranchers who know all too well what it means to play with Mother Nature. Where nature leaves off, mankind must pick up and culling the herd is an important and difficult task. But it’s crucial to the quality and the collective good of the whole.

So how do we apply what nature does naturally to business? Teams in organizations, or wherever you find them, are much like the herds you find in the wild. The quality of the culture is vital to the strength of the team, including being adaptable, open to growth, learning, improving and ultimately getting better together. In nature, disasters happen and sometimes they lead to extinction. But when they don’t, the life forms that make it through have a fresh start. Disasters happen in the workplace too, and we see them as opportunity. We ask ourselves, how will we overcome this? From that answer and the actions it inspires, the best and brightest emerge to lead the pack. Those who can’t keep up with the changes that result from adapting and growing in this new world fall behind. But why? In the animal kingdom it’s because the weaker animals don’t share the traits that keep the rest of the herd at their best. They are missing behaviors the herd needs to survive and thrive. This is exactly the way human cultures work. At Barton Logistics we have an ethos encompassing skills, beliefs, and behaviors vital to our continued existence. If something as fundamental as the values and ethos aren’t shared by a team member, that team member is not moving toward the same “survive & thrive” objective.

This makes for a tough decision, but much more humane than the way Mother Nature would handle it. Often a value disconnect means it’s time to say goodbye. This is never easy, but it’s for the good of our herd. Now our stars, our A players, our power-houses can flourish and inspire each other for their own good and the good of all mankind – present “company” included.

As tough as it can be, culling is the best thing we can do for our team. All it takes is one person to start to zap the energy and poison the water.  As a leader, protecting the quality of our herd, and cultivating a meaningful culture is our first priority. The results are beyond impressive. It’s the difference between excellence and mediocrity; 1st place and 5th place. Be mindful of the Parable of the Talents; “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.” (Matthew 25:28-30 New International Version)

Mother Nature eliminates without thinking and feeling. It’s not about wants or empathy, it’s about what the herd needs to survive and thrive. In our world, it’s not quite so merciless. But it is just as essential. What does your herd need, to be the best it can be? Who wouldn’t make it in the wilds of your specific industry? Where does your strength lie? Do you play to those strengths intentionally? We hope you take the culling of the herd to heart. You’ll be on your way to a better organization, a better business, a blue ribbon. We promise!