Monday, August 27, 2012

Bucket list

Before I headed off to a business conference last week, my 10-year-old son handed me a piece of paper with a half-dozen or so items written on it, in bulleted form.  The title of his list was "Six Things I Want to Do With Dad Before School Starts."

My first reaction -- before reading the list -- was to be impressed by his ability to organize his thinking in this fashion at his age.  I gave him a squeeze, and tucked it in my bag to read on the plane.

I got to it on the return flight home.  His note read:

"Dad, when you come back from Denver, there will be 10 days until school starts.  We haven't done a lot of the stuff you said you wanted to do together.  Here's the list for you.  I know we can do it."

He'd organized it by day, grouping activities together in well-thought-out, logical sequences.  Of course, not being proficient in Microsoft Outlook, he hadn't factored in my appointments for the week.

One of the lessons I learned on my trip last week was that to take on something new, we have to give up something -- to make space -- to have the capacity to fulfill our mission.

So, I took take care of the calendar myself.  Ben's been added.  Other things are being re-prioritized, re-scheduled and re-allocated, starting here.

S'more good stuff to come.  See you in September...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breaking away

It's the back half of August.  Have you taken your summer vacation?

According to Wikipedia, vacation is a fairly modern invention, and has evolved over the past 200 years.  This makes sense, as it coincides with the rise of a modern industrialized economy.
"In the Puritan culture of early America, taking a break from work for reasons other than weekly observance of the Sabbath, was frowned upon. However, the modern concept of vacation was led by a later religious movement encouraging spiritual retreat and recreation. The notion of breaking from work periodically took root among the middle and working class."
The origins of the word date back to late 14th century France, meaning "freedom from obligations, leisure, release," and is derived from the Latin vacationem "leisure, a being free from duty," and vacare "be empty, free, or at leisure."

The operative word in the history of vacation is being "free."  Did you feel free during your interregnum?  Or were you worried about palace coups or other more mundane business concerns?  I know business owners who rarely take more than a long weekend, and I know others who take weeks off regularly, in addition to other time away from the business, and run successful, growing businesses.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Go Team!

In last week's post, I noted that the phrase "An Army of One" is an oxymoron for small business owners. As it turns out, the Army also apparently felt that it was antithetical to the ethos of teamwork, and phased the phrase out.

Ah, teamwork...who doesn't want a "team player?"  Businesses spend millions, if not billions, of dollars in pursuit of talented teammates.
  • We advertise for them in our recruitment ads (who wants to hire a boat-rocker?)
  • We read books about building good teams (millions of them)
  • We listen to motivational speeches by successful sports team coaches.

We spend much time and energy thinking about teams.  But it also seems that a similar amount of time is spent moaning about our recruits' lack of individual initiative and how to motivate them.  How do we square this circle?

Monday, August 6, 2012


This week we mark two milestones:  the two-year anniversary of our TAB business and blog post number 50.

We will be celebrating the former with friends of TAB at our Summer Social, to thank them for their support of our enterprise.  Without you our journey would not have gotten much past the start, would not been nearly as fulfilling and surely would not have been as much fun.  We will all refrain, though, from expressing our inner Kool and the Gang.

As to this blog, over the past year we have tried to reflect that journey through our weekly posts, channeling the information, advice, trials and triumphs of our members and the organizations and individuals that make up our community.  It has been given me the ability to pay forward the education that I am continually receiving from the Capital Region business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs who are successfully leading their organizations forward.