Management book rec: Animals Make Us Human, by Temple Grandin

Yes, really.

The subtitle is “Creating the Best Life for Animals”. The early chapters, on dogs and cats and horses, will teach you how to handle your pets, though you’ll also learn a bit about motivating your kids and yourself on the way. When she gets to the later chapters on cows and pigs, though, she’s talking about large stock farms, and there’s a lot of good, tested stuff on making changes stick and on getting the behaviors you want from human employees that would apply in any business.

So far my favorite bit is actually about sow stalls: “the building contractors were running the show, and they built what was good for building contractors, not animals. No company or organization should allow a contractor to dictate design.” In my experience that applies to consultants on business projects or processes, as well: no matter how expert the consultant, their systems need to be customized to the company’s own needs, and people who know the company culture need to be making the final decisions on what to change.

(I’m adding a tag to say that this is related to the book I just wrote, because that’s one of my main messages: understand the basics of a process system, and customize it for your business.)

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