When talking with our customers, we often use this phrase. We use it to emphasize that the attitude and belief in an ESF group housing system can be just as important as the system itself. The people running the barn need to believe in the system and how it should operate first, only then will they be able to make it work. When you come across challenges in a loose housing barn (and you will), if you believe there is a solution, you will find it. If you believe that the system is flawed, then you will blame that on the system, your staff, or some other element of your operation instead of looking any further for a solution.
I Can vs I Can't
This principle is the same one I use to teach my kids that it is not acceptable to automatically say “I can’t do that” when faced with a new challenge. Odds are that if they begin to face a new challenge with the attitude that they cannot do it, then they will fail. But if they believe they can achieve something, it is amazing how often they succeed. This is not a new idea, Henry Ford was quoted as saying “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” Although I’m sure he was not referencing sow loose housing, the basic principle still applies.
With Group Sow Housing, Attitude Makes All the Difference
We have installed our loose housing equipment in a few barns where they started out as disasters. It was only after the replacement of the lead staff that the barn started functioning at a high level. We did not change anything in the equipment or design; we simply managed to get the people out of the barn who were quick to proclaim that loose housing could not work. Once the new employees, who believed in the system, were in place, we saw a dramatic turn around.
If you don’t want a new system to work, it simply will not work. This applies to everything in life. So if someone has made the statement that something will not work, they will do everything they can to prove that is true (sometimes without even realizing it).
When we train each staff when a new barn is built or equipped with ESF equipment, we tell them that the system will follow the attitude that is leading it (positive attitude = positive performance).
It's All About the Right Attitude With the Proper Design
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of group housing systems that are set up to fail. Without proper design, you will see major complications upon startup and years down the road. ESF equipment is important to a functional group sow housing barn, but the barn layout and pen design is even more important. When we plan a new barn, we take the time up front to make sure you are set up for success.
Even if a loose housing barn is set up to fail, a positive outlook will still help you overcome your obstacles, no matter how major they are. Group sow housing can and will work as efficiently as stall barns, and as technology rises, group housing is becoming more efficient than stall barns.