The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted February 9, 2012


Detailed Assistance

     By Rooney

Detailed Assistance 1
Momma Roo

Detailed Assistance 2

Detailed Assistance 3

Detailed Assistance 4

Detailed Assistance 5

Detailed Assistance 6
Writing Around "the table"

Detailed Assistance 7
One of several snows this year

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What a pretty sunset!!

Let’s face it, there ARE some challenges to managing a crew of BC’s.  Even a crew that is as exceptional as this one!  Not all of them perform – or even have the ability to perform – at the same level!  I mean Patches is crippled … she’s slow, but she IS smart and patient.  Gall – she’s just a solid all around performer and also a quick learner, but honestly, she doesn’t work real well with others – except Patches – and this IS a limiting factor.  Annie – she’s excited, energetic and enthusiastic.  But she often goes off half cocked, doesn’t take instructions overly well and is easily distracted.  Bubba – other than being slow on the uptake (and actually after reading his first two articles, I’m beginning to think that he might be holding out on me!) … Bubba’s fairly fast (especially if you compensate him for that freakishly HUGE head), pretty savvy, ok tough – overall, just average or average plus, but he’s not typically very organized in his thought processes.

I tried to set up the territories to reflect their strengths and minimize their weaknesses – but sometimes, they need help from the others.  It’s my job to determine who needs help and who doesn’t.  It’s a tough one!  At first, I just looked at total numbers – nothing else, and just started moving them around.  Then, I got to watching all of them a little closer … and noticed their different management techniques, and I was able to figure out why they either did or didn’t DESERVE additional help.  Here’s a recap of what I observed:

GALL:  Doesn’t want help (especially from pups that don’t even know how to do IT in the first place) … she probably doesn’t need help.  When it looks like she’s about to get overrun (she does have a pretty good territory, and has developed and marketed it pretty well) – she humps it and “kicks it in, second wind” … she gets the job done.  Yeah, she doesn’t really need any help – she know that she has a job to do – she hasn’t ever gotten any help in the past, so she’s not expecting any – she just buckles down and does her job.  I probably ought to acknowledge that a little more often.  She does make it pretty easy to manager her (and do her Performance Appraisal).

PATCHES:  She’s got a great attitude and will tackle any chore!  She is a team player, but, … she’s received a lot of help from dad, mom-D and … well, all of us really, since her accident.  And now, she just expects the extra help.  I’ve noticed that a lot of times, she doesn’t even really start until the help arrives.  Now, don’t get me wrong – she’ll work, and she’s grateful and appreciative of the assistance, but she has become accustomed to it … and now expects it.  I probably ought to visit with her about this.  She has the capability to do a little more on her own before I have to go to the effort and expense of moving folks all around to help her get HER job done.  Just because she wants to manage “people” and not programs just isn’t gonna cut it anymore!!

ANNIE:  Miss Ann … yeah, she NEEDS assistance sometimes.  She’ll probably make it just fine one of these days.  She just got thrown into the rabbit patch when she was a little green (but heck, with the current staffing and structure – I needed a warm body, and she DOES have potential).  What I guess that I need to do, but just don’t have the resources for, is to assign a mentor to “teach her the ropes”.  Gall would be the obvious and logical choice … duh.  But, those two are still pretty competitive … each making their mark for the matriarch position after I retire – IF I retire.  I tried having them work together before – but without any additional assistance, Gall began to fall behind on her normal responsibilities – what with taking all the time to work with Annie and all, that got Gall disgusted with her overall performance and this wasn’t too good for Annie either.  I don’t guess I know what the best answer is … try more training, and probably get on her a little bit too.

BUBBA:  Or Bub-Boy (this is what his sisters have started calling him, and he IS all boy.).  Bubba’s biggest problem is … well … him!  He has horrendous organizational skills – most times, he doesn’t have much of a clue as to which way is up.  He’s definitely NOT a multitasker!  I’ve sent him help before, I think he resents it – he is pretty good … one task at a time … but when things starts popping – it drives him crazy and he can’t seem to slow down, settle down, and focus on any single task.  He’s hopping around trying to keep everyone happy.  Unfortunately, it generally winds up with no one overly happy since everyone received a half-done job.  Like Annie, he probably needs some more schooling and a little fussin’ (Bless his Heart!).

Well, that’s my dilemma o’ the day!  It can be pretty challenging sometimes to fit all of those octagon pegs in the triangle shaped holes sometimes (but a big hammer helps!!).  Like I said in the beginning – I do manage an EXCEPTIONAL crew … it’s just that they ain’t always where they can do the best possible job!  Figuring out how to get them there, make them happy, and still cover the rest of my responsibilities is the key.  But, I now realize that they might not all need HELP just because their rabbits are stacking up, or they’re crying rabbit – sometimes, they just might not be applying themselves as they should be!  I overheard dad the other evening, I think that his job faces similar sorts of problems – but dad doesn’t have to make all these assignments (he’s lucky!)  I bet he has some ideas though – and I imagine that trainin’ and fussin’ play into ALL of his scenarios!  And most importantly, taking responsibility for what you’re supposed to be responsible for!![i]  He’s pretty serious about training, and even more serious about the role of fussin’ (or braggin’) in personnel development.  Some of the people that he works for say that he’s too hard on his peeps, but heck, I’ve been working for him for eight years – and I can tell you, if you give at least 100%, pull your head out and think – and most importantly, take responsibility and ownership of your job at hand – you’ll learn a LOT and be way better off for it!!  It ain’t gonna kill you!!  Dad’ll have your back[ii], you don’t have to worry about that!!

Well – I guess that I’d like your thoughts on how I oughta handle this detailing stuff … I assure you, it isn’t any fun at all!  I’d rather visit with David about root rot in Pima cotton and whether or not TopGuard will take care of it … but, if it does - it’ll take $50 - $75 an acre!


[i] How can failing to accept personal responsibility result in negative consequences?
When you have not accepted personal responsibility, you can run the risk of becoming:
* Overly dependent on others for recognition, approval, affirmation and acceptance.
* Chronically hostile, angry or depressed over how unfairly you have been or are being treated.
* Fearful about ever taking a risk or making a decision.
* Overwhelmed by disabling fears.
* Unsuccessful at the enterprises you take on in life.
* Unsuccessful in personal relationships.
* Emotionally or physically unhealthy.
* Addicted to unhealthy substances, such as the abuse of alcohol, drugs, food or unhealthy behavior such as excessive gambling, shopping, sex, smoking, work, etc.
* Over responsible and guilt ridden in your need to rescue and enable others in your life.
* Unable to develop trust or to feel secure with others.
* Resistant to vulnerability.

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[ii] Good hours, excellent pay, fun place to work, paid training, mean boss. (according to dad's boss) Oh well, four out of five isn't bad.  Help Wanted Ad, PA newspaper, 1994

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