The Giant - Giant’s Castle
NOT WITHOUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT PLACE
So we came to the realization that we needed to flatten our management structure, and that experts in each division would be far more effective than subordinates answering to someone who himself was no expert beyond his own qualifications. Instead of bookkeepers, we put chartered accountants in charge of finance; instead of a part-timer we put a serious agriculturalist in charge of the farm; and the stallion manager was exactly that, a stallion man, dyed in the wool. The Broodmare Manager is a graduate of a veterinary school, the Building and Maintenance Manager was no longer a handyman; the trading store demanded a trader in the proper sense of the word. And so on.
The increments that flow from this approach are remarkable. Having an expert doing his job properly means others can concentrate on theirs: the need for duplication is cancelled and the added capacity is palpable. Not only does this mean the job gets done the way it’s intended, but it also means there is plenty of room for more horses, more stallions, for more feed, more foals, more customers, for more guests at Hartford, more insurance through that division, and so the wheel grinds on, and the team gets better by the day. We’ve been here thirty years now, but the real work started only fifteen ago. The word “only” is appropriate here, as fifteen years is a big chunk of any man’s working life, either way.
The other thing that flows from a job well done, is the satisfaction of having done it. I’ve always said I’m the luckiest man on earth, living where I live. I wake in the mornings and gaze out through double doors upon a world heritage site, at the centre of which is “The Giant”, the pivot around which our lives revolve. Like Gulliver after a well earned rest, he lies there prostrate across the length of the Drakensberg, the tip of his nose and the point of his chin signalling the apex of these great mountains.
I wake up next to one of the loveliest ladies in Mooi River, and I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years; I go to work with some of the finest people on this earth, and I get to work with the greatest creature the good Lord ever created. What a noble profession, made the nobler by the quality of those around us, and the excellence of what they deliver.
The next episode will follow next week.