Vacation is Good for Business

I remember the dot com era well. Everything was rush, rush, rush. I wasn't used to it, and I didn't embrace it. I had just made a transition from the commercial real estate development industry to the tech industry. I was used to projects taking 3-5 years. Patience was definitely a virtue in that business. Then I was thrust into an environment that if you didn't get something done in the next three hours, people were mad; and someone else did the job instead. I know it's been said a sense of urgency is one of the pillars of a great company, but I think many times it hurts more than it helps.

 

I say this in the context of Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; a bible of sorts for time/work management. In the book he describes four quadrants, with the axes of his graph urgency and importance. His says urgent/important "Quadrant 1" issues should take top priority, but most people spend too much time doing "Quadrant 3" urgent/not-important and "Quadrant 4" not-urgent/not-important activities. He goes on to say the goal is to spend as much time as possible in "Quadrant 2", the important/not-urgent sector; which if done right, will actually decrease the amount of urgent/important items that come up.

 

So what is urgent/not-important? In a word, strategy. It's thinking past your nose. And my one take away from the dot com era was not too many people thought past their nose. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should all sit around in a conference room and talk about how we're going to conquer the world. I've seen too many start-ups that did only that. Things need to get done. If I had to pick a word for what I'm trying to say on this point, it's balance.

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No Fears, No Filters. My 33 Year Journey from Liability to Asset

I am a jump out of the airplane and see if the parachute opens type of guy. There is no pepper I won't chomp into or salsa I won't slurp to see how hot it is. If something is constructed or executed poorly, whether a building, a dish of food, or a process, I'm going to weigh in with my strong opinion; to whomever I'm sitting next to.

 

The same goes true for something truly outstanding or memorable; again across the broad spectrum of things, actions, and processes. I'm going to say exactly what's on my mind. I'm outspoken regarding people as well; good or bad; family, friend or co-worker. Do something great or mediocre, and you'll hear from me; although hopefully in public for the former and in private for the latter.

 

No fears, and no filters. It's the way I am. And that goes for decisions as well, not just actions and opinions. I got some sage advice my first week working out of college "Don't be scared to make a decision"; clarifying I'd make 10 decisions a day in my new management role, and if I got 7 right, I'd be hitting a home run. So, I've done just that. I've made decisions; on a daily basis. And I've used my no fear/no filters mindset many a times to make tough or quick calls.

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