How far are you willing to go? Almost 4K miles in 90hrs?

Almost 4K miles later – What have we learned

I sit hear flying back from a 90hr trip that took me over 2,300 miles in the air and 1,500 miles driving.  What could cause someone to take such an over the top trip; life and the pursuit of success, that’s what.  The question you have to ask is what are you willing to do to ensure your dream comes true? Are you willing to adjust your dream, maybe not the ultimate goal, but the terms of that goal?  If you are leading a company and you want to be the CEO someday, is it a failure if you become the CEO of a different company and lead them to success?

Goals in life adjust, adapt and take us on journeys we may never otherwise expect. It is up to us to see the opportunity in front of us, work hard and adjust where it is needed.  Back to the reason for this most recent trip to review a market that has potential to be purchased (existing businesses) and the growth potential behind it.  Someone without the right experience isn’t going to see the same things that someone with a keen eye would see.  If you’re an inexperience fisherman trying to catch fish on a lake with the wrong lure; an experienced fisherman would know right away what you are doing wrong.

That is why you have to trust people who know more than you in certain areas, do the research to better understand their knowledge and put in the overall work needed to grasp the totality of the project ahead.  When looking at businesses for purchase (take restaurants for example) there are several items you need to review.

  • The state of the equipment
    • How do you know for certain?
    • Working with the local equipment companies that have been working on them. They know them already, and aren’t tied to one company or another.
  • The state of the staffing/management ect
    • Going into the units staying and making small talk with the staff/managers to feel them out.
    • Are they happy or disgruntled?
  • Need to be inside the four walls
    • You can’t be certain until you’ve walked in, felt the air in the building, the culture (or lack thereof) and state of the economy around it.
    • What do the neighboring businesses say about it, what do their competitors say about it?
  • Where are your future customers coming from, and are they coming quickly enough?
    • If your demographic information is 18-24 or 18-34 for your average customer base, then you want to take advantage of growing a relationship with the schools.
    • How do they feel about the brand in the market?
      • If you have a strong presence with your high schools, then you get a tapped future customer base for 10+ years to come.

What does any of this have to do about travel, time spent and success?  Simply stated even if you have to push the limits of your day, week or month for the chance at greater success remember the memory of it all is always a bit rosier.  Even the most stressful things in our lives we have a tendency to sweeten them up.

Marginalize

Share the Credit, Own the Blame

When someone introduces me as a superior, boss or supervisor I always correct them immediately, and explain it’s my job to get the best out of people, to never do more than share credit and always take the blame. They usually laugh and look at me like a confused puppy, but it’s true. If you look at those you lead/supervise as people you need to elevate and if they fail it’s your fault just as much you’ll get much more out of your team and them from you.

Many will tell you taking the credit is the majority of what they strive for, to be recognized and be promoted.  My theory is simple it is better to have the world giving you credit than yourself asking for it and screaming for attention.  But in all honesty I am not driven by credit, rather helping the companies I work with grow from the ground up, building a strong foundation and the people to carry it on well past my departure. Its more than quick fixes and illusions; instead hard work and dropping pillars ten feet into the ground that may never be seen but always be needed.

Why “share” the credit versus taking it? It’s extremely simple, in that I believe people are smarter than we give them credit for, and if your name is constantly being associated with shared credit people will see the pattern.  The amazing thing about coaching and growing others is the affect it has exponentially.  If you are building a network, a team of people that trust you, grow with you and challenge each other your ability to affect change grows at an exponential rate versus that of one person.  If your goal is ultimate success you need to work with those around you to build a strong

Imagine if you are one person who has the credit for building one great product at one business; it is great to have that distinction, feather in your cap.  Now imagine your name is associated in conjunction with the success of five different companies, not as the sole person, but an integral part. What do you think will carry more weight long term?  The lasting effect one can have on an organization by allowing others to share in the success and credit is the trust others will see in them.  This confidence is paramount when rebuilding structures and companies regardless of size and industry.

Confidence drives markets, drives investors and drives our economy.  If you are the sole person to gain credit that confidence leaves with you. If you share that credit, that confidence there is a lasting impact as you leave and continue to grow.  The next step is about being accountable for your team, your company and those around you.  If you want your team to be leaders, you need to take blame when their actions affect your company.  When leading, we are responsible for the actions of those below us, this is not a new idea, but one that has lasted centuries through military and social constructs.

Leaders were held accountable for those in their command from the times of Romans and present day.  Being a leader, a supervisor or “boss” is about putting your hand up and taking the blame and sharing the credit is how you build a culture of the same.  If your staff, employees and company work collectively towards a common goal you achieve much more than a group of individuals working in parallel towards common goals.

The difference lies in the communication, the buy in and overall movement towards the goal you are trying to reach.

 

The 5am Sunday Meeting & Self Awareness

This is not to say that you need to have a meeting at 5am on a Sunday; this is about conforming to your team to help them when it’s convenient for them; not you.  You can gain much more from the direction you are giving if you are sacrificing on your end just to give the message.  Through this small sacrifice we gain the undivided attention of those we are working with and coaching.

There was a location having operational issues, overall mismanagement and consistent profitability issues; We took the time to meet with the managers at their 5am crossover.  We could have easily made them come to us mid week in the afternoon but that would change the sentiment of the meeting.  By going to them on a Sunday at 5am to talk to them it showed that this is more than a blip on our radar but something that affects our daily life and we am treating it as such.  If you always make others conform to your schedule, your ideals and your structure you won’t be nearly as effective as you can be.

The message at 5am is received with proper purpose, as opposed to defensive kick back by making them come at an inconvenient time for their routine.  By showing up at that time and date, where the problem is happening, though inconvenient you gain the respect and attention immediately of those whom you are giving your message to.  Instead it hits home at a time that is quiet (early Sunday) and allows for undivided attention.  By putting their schedule first (almost to an extreme) you are working to remove obstacles for the message to be perceived and acted on properly.

“What do you think is more effective, a meeting at 5am on a Sunday to correct issues with Sundays shift, or a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to address it?” 

We had their attention before we even opened our mouth; seeing us walk in at 5am got their undivided attention to the problem they were already aware of and not properly addressing.  The human condition has the ability to help and hurt us in how we manage situation, react to variables around us and allow emotion to control our motivations. The common practice for a meeting is to set a time, sit down and review at my discretion (leader of the meeting); it changes the attention and importance of the information when it’s given to them in this fashion.

Next time you need to get someone’s attention at work, show a little humility, sacrifice and show it’s a team effort and see how the results and overall effort needed is changed.  Rarely when operating, coaching or interacting do many of us pay attention to how ever detail can affect the way we are perceived; leading to diminished returns on our work relationships and ability to lead.  Self awareness takes time (some never truly achieve it), but it is key to leading those around us properly. Without being aware of whom we are how we are perceived and our actions affect on those around us we will never lead to our full potential.

The ability to be aware of who we are and how we affect others can sometimes be of greater importance in our ability to lead than the knowledge we have in our field.  Though it may seem to be farfetched, think of those you’ve worked with in the past that have great knowledge but fail to work well with others, lack common sense or have minimal social skills and can’t truly help the team.  Whether you are looking for support for your career, solutions for your company or to rescue your company from ultimate demise we at Blue Rock have the tools to help you succeed.

 

The Words of Our Past – To Contribute a Verse

“That you are Here-that life exists and identity, That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” – Walt Whitman


The words of the past prove that the human spirit has been and is still alive. We strive to be a part of something bigger than ourselves; to do something great. The hard part is realizing to do something great we must complete many small tasks. Greatness isn’t one single event, it isn’t one moment in our lives. Greatness may be noticed in one event, but it’s the culmination of the events, obstacles and challenges you have overcome to get to that moment.

In the age we live in today we have access to so much information, access to so many people we become paralyzed by what we can do and forget to do anything. We get distracted by all the information coming our way we don’t take the time to listen to the words we are being fed. We just take it at face value; we forget that in life we are here, we exist and we have an identity. What is your identity, what to you portray to the world and those around you.

What is your verse, what are you leaving behind and what are you yet to accomplish? Many of us hold on to our inner feelings, inner thoughts and dreams and fail to act on them. When we were child we saw the world as endless possibilities because we didn’t understand failure, we didn’t understand the word no. We couldn’t walk and we would work at it every day for years until we perfected it. We couldn’t talk and we worked at it, learned from others, from pure observation to gain the skills we need to survive.

Our goals, our dreams need to be addressed in this same manner. We need to look to them for survival; survival of self. At what point in our lives do we accept failure? Failure is the exact definition of progress; when learning to walk each time we took a step and fell, we learned from it and made sure to correct it next time. As we grow we take those failures and allow fear to come in and prevent us from taking another step.

What makes some of stand outside of the herd, the median and see things from a different perspective? Are we any different than the rest or are we the culmination of our events? Were we given a choice in our lives to follow the path or to look to the path less traveled?

“I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

There are words written and spoken through the generations that show the human spirit stepping outside of the norm. Why do so many of us stick to the median, fall in line, follow the cadence of life? I recently was watching “The Dead Poets Society” and it brought these thoughts up inside me once more. As you watch Keating explain the beauty in free thinking and the harshness of life pushing back to drive one to suicide. Why are so many afraid to push for their dream, we are just as likely to fail in one facet as we are another. The well traveled path has less chance for victory; we are competing against the masses.

What is the point of all of these questions, these thoughts? It is to ask ourselves why so many of us are willing to contribute a verse but in its most simplistic and social form. We leave comments on social media, comment on news sites but we don’t truly contribute a verse. Where are our great writers of today’s age? Are we losing the beauty of verse, to inspire to grow to challenge? We need to really look at the way we communicate in comments, not true thoughts. Many of us try to reach the masses with well thought out and inspired words but is drowned out by the superficial in mass quantities. Take a moment and look at what you are spreading when you talk, are you truly aware of the words that you use in conviction.

I shall contribute a verse

I shall raise my voice amongst the masses

To teach and inspire others to find truth without hate

To leave disdain at the door and truly converse

To leave hatred and defensiveness at the threshold

I shall contribute a verse

To come together in the beauty that is the collective

To rekindle the drive once born with

To overcome the fears as one and not individual in many

I shall contribute a verse

To teach others to do the same – To Inspire

To truly reach for my goals, regardless of the heights

I shall contribute a verse

To stare into the void of darkness and be the light

We shall contribute our verse!

The Architecture of Ones Success

When I was growing up I had a passion for architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright via Smithsonianmag.com); the bases in building something great in life follow similar routes to a great piece of architecture. It’s through those similarities to which I have tried to calculate and build a life and career following the tenants I learned while studying and admiring the architecture in my life. From the planning, building of a foundation adjusting and proper problem solving we can build something spectacular in our lives.

Proper Planning – The Blue Print

FlWrights-HDWhether you are growing and planning for your future from high school to college or planning the next step in your career it takes proper planning and organization to get it done efficiently. You can try to build a shelter or a home of sorts without direction and it may work for a bit, but long term the more effort and planning you put into it, the longer it will last. It’s through proper design and introspection upon that design that can and will lead to a greater chance of success. It is not about the first idea we have, or the firs design; it’s about the constant attention and adjustment to that plan until its perfect (or its closest version of the unattainable perfection).

In one’s life there will come time to ask ourselves if we are where we want to be. If we aren’t in the place we want to be then it is up to ourselves to be self aware and review the plan we have drawn for ourselves.

Foundation Building

Before you can be the best at something you have to master the basics. If you want to be the greatest soccer (futbol) player one must focus on mastering the basics to an extreme level. The foundation of learning those basics through thousands of hours of practice lays the foundation for the excellence for a great career like those such as Andrea Pirlo, Pele and Lionel Messi. In similar fashion to a musician needing to master individual cords before they can write or perform a masterpiece so must one master the foundations of life, before one can truly succeed.

The hardest thing to accept at a young age, any for that matter, is that it often takes repetitions for all things in life to master them. This is true for all things from social interaction all the way to knowledge and self awareness. We need to practice and not run away and hide from the skills and life lessons that we need to learn.

When I was younger my grandmother would always ask me what I was accomplishing.

If I was playing a game, running around or watching TV, she would ask me that question. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized what she was asking me, what am I doing with the time that I have? Am I wasting it or utilizing it to better myself and the future that I might have?

When working on our foundations we have to be aware of the choices we make and be patient on the pay off. This is the hardest part of building a proper foundation, we often times want to take short cuts in hopes of a quicker resolution. The problem lies in the fact that our growth will eventually pay for the shortcuts we made when building our foundation and crumble under its own pressure. Taking the time and putting in the effort to achieve what is needed is the way to ensure our R.O.I. is peak.

Adjusting – Problem Solving Correctly

When building a business both physically and financially there will be plenty of tough decisions along the way. There will come a time when you realize you missed something and have to figure out an adjustment to the plans, go back and fix it properly or try to ignore it and hope for the best. These defining moments as we build our lives that can lead to the greatest accomplishments of our lives or the moments we look back on with regret. That moment when you decided not to go to the party where some people got arrested, the decision to take the summer classes or the dinner party you went to despite being exhausted because you knew the networking could lead to great things.

There are moments in our lives that can take us one way or another as our live culminates within those decisions one after the other. We can make up for the worst of moments if we stand tall, accept them be accountable and move forward. Ignoring the problem at hand will not fix it long term; imagine the plumber that decides to use the wrong strength of solder when welding a joint that would be fine at inspection but under the right conditions could lead to immense damage. Fast forward five years and a company that is working to close a big project shuts the lights off late one night thinking they have everything securely backed up and ready for tomorrows sales pitch, only to come in the office the next day flooded and their servers destroyed.

That one decision to take the short cut can have immense unintended consequences; when doing the right thing would have taken a few minutes or hours longer to do it right. The adjustments and problems we have to fix will have a great impact on who we are, where we end up and the ability we have to succeed. I often times take accountability for any and all issue within my purview to ensure we as a team focus on moving forward with the proper solution. I then coach the issue and person (people) who need to be taught to ensure it isn’t repeated. Those decisions lead us to the proper place we are seeking and often times to a place we never thought possible.