By Jim Whitt, Contributing Editor
Quint Finney started working at Frontier Feedyard when he was in high school, doing everything from washing tanks to painting fence, chopping weeds and working in the processing barn. As part of the Cactus Feeders management training, he spent a minimum of two years each in bunk management, mill management, cattle management, yard repair and maintenance management. He eventually had the opportunity to be an assistant yard manager and operations manager. He then went to work in the CattlCo organization and spent the next 13 years managing feedyards in Colorado, Texas and Kansas.
During his last few years with CattlCo, Quint started to feel like he needed to do something different. The opportunity to do that presented itself when the CattlCo owner, Willard Sparks, passed away and the family sold the feedyards. Quint and I had never met, but a mutual friend, Greg Johnsrud, told him he should give me a call. When he did, Quint explained that he was trying to figure out what to do next in life. That was the beginning of our friendship and Quint’s next chapter in his life.
Quint discovered his purpose in life was to help people succeed. Armed with that purpose, he took his lifetime of working in the cattle feeding industry and started a consulting business doing operations training for feedyards. After a couple of years, Quint had the opportunity his expand his reach when he joined the consulting team at Midwest PMS.
His consulting has evolved to focus more on leadership and cultural development. “My approach is to help individuals succeed in what they’re doing,” he says. “The way I do that is to teach why we do the things we do in feedyard operations. Unless people understand the why, they have no incentive to be accountable and to take on an ownership mentality.
“If individuals are successful, many of the big picture measurements of success will take care of themselves. Most employees don’t understand how significant their contributions are, and they are not aware of the enormous amount of food their organization produces,” he continues.
“It is my intent, every day, to educate teams to better understand both. I continually make a point of helping them understand that what they do every day is a noble cause.”
Quint uses the principles from Riding for the Brand: The Power of Purposeful Leadership in his organizational development process. “The book made me think more about the human side of business and the importance of building purpose-driven organizations,” he says. “I didn’t know it at the time, but purpose was going to be an integral part of building my consulting business. I use the principle of purpose daily in consulting with my feedyard clients.
“I consider it my responsibility to connect feedyard teams with purpose. Helping them understand how and why their contributions are important and how they impact cattle performance is the name of the game. I have personally seen, in organizations that believe in purpose-driven leadership, improvements in indicators such as death loss, conversion and employee turnover. Many of the folks I work with have totally bought in and I’ve seen positive change in attitudes of leadership teams and production teams alike.
“I get a great deal of gratification simply working with people. Especially those who want to be involved in something bigger than themselves,” Quint asserts. “The most gratifying part of my job is when I get to see the core culture start to develop and people come together. In other words when everyone is working for the same purpose.”
Frontier Feedyard was one of my accounts when I worked for Purina in the 1970s and ‘80s. I spent many hours in that yard. Ironically, Quint and I never met until a few years ago, even though we probably passed each other dozens of times when I was driving alleys and he was driving a feed truck or loader. Like Quint, during my last few years with Purina, I started feeling like I needed to do something different. In 1988, I discovered my purpose was to help people reach their full potential. And that was the catalyst that launched me into my consulting business. Never underestimate the power of purpose. It transforms lives, leaders and organizations. Just ask Quint Finney.
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Article is sponsored by Capital Land & Livestock