Make it Count…

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Workplace | No Comments

I ran across a quote on Friday that I thought was noteworthy.

I know what you’re thinking, “It must be another killer quote from the Wall Street Journal, NY Times or a Stephen Covey book, etc.”  Well those are all great guesses, but I found the quote in an Auburn football spring practice report.

Spring football is always a challenging time for coaches and players.  Every college football team is allotted only 15 practice days to get better and mold their talent, but motivation can be hard to find when games are seemingly so far away.

So if a player doesn’t have the proper mindset every day spring practice can become a miserable grind and the talent is no longer molded but wasted.

Auburn’s wide receivers coach, Trooper Taylor, said the following on Friday as he sent a message to the team, through the media, to make every day count:

‘Think about this: Most players, instead of making the days count, will count those days.

The real players, they go out there and make the days that they have left count. ‘I’ve got two hours to get better. I’m going to get better.’

I would say we have the same decision every time we leave a meeting or discussion with a new deadline or task.  We only have so much time to get better, mold our talent and build team chemistry.

We can see our deadline(s) to be so far away that today seems unimportant in the long run, or we can work each day as if the deadline is tomorrow.  If we do the latter, we will out execute our opponents and accomplish our team goals.

We can count the months, days, and hours or we can make them count.

Do You Have Broad Shoulders?

By | Building a Company, Culture, Grow Your Career | No Comments

Last night I was reading an article on CNN about a recent Larry King interview with Michael J. Fox, who has had Parkinsons for around 20 years now.  Larry King asked him: “is it easy to be an optimist?”

His answer:  “Well, for me it’s second nature. It’s just the way I look at life. And it’s certainly a challenge now for most people to be optimistic, obviously, with all of the troubles we have and the problems that the country is facing.

But I think it’s exactly in those times when our optimism kicks in highest gear.  I think — there’s an expression that I like that I always use: “Don’t wish for a lighter load, wish for broader shoulders.” And I think that people are really — I see a lot of broader shoulders these days, people are really working on the delts, you know?”

The expression he quoted really hit home with me.  “Don’t wish for a lighter load, wish for broader shoulders”.  I love that concept.  The kind of people that will really drive us forward as a business have this same mindset.  We need people that are willing to stretch – people looking to do more, looking to step up and take on a challenge, and looking for ways outside of their everyday job to make DAXKO successful.  These are the people that thrive in high growth companies like DAXKO.  So, think about it.  Is that you?

A Word from Patrick Lencioni

By | Culture, Free Career Advice | 2 Comments

I received a subscription email from one of my favorite authors yesterday, Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Death By Meeting, The Five Temptations of a CEO, and other best sellers – some of which you’ll find in DAXKO’s Learning Center).  I found his “letter” to be very wise considering the current economic condition.  I hope you’ll find it interesting, or maybe even helpful.  It might also be something you could send along as encouragement to a friend that is struggling with a job loss or a less than ideal career situation.

What follows are excerpts from that letter:

Rediscovering Work

…When I graduated from college and started looking for a job a little over twenty years ago, there seemed to be a new attitude emerging—one that had probably been slowly taking shape for twenty years before that—about the importance of finding deep meaning and fulfillment in a job. Gone were the days of simply looking for a secure job in a stable industry. The new movement encouraged young people to find their true passions, be unconventional, and blaze their own trails.

I have to admit that I was a big proponent—and still am—of helping people discover their talents and gifts and find an outlet for them in work is one of my favorite hobbies. I’ll also admit that I assumed that this new ascent up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would never be reversed. But given the fundamental changes we’re seeing in the global economy, we may just be sliding back down Maslow’s pyramid a little, and maybe even staying there for a while. In other words, I think we’re going to start having lower expectations about finding the perfect, meaningful and custom-fitted job, and developing a new kind of appreciation for the old notion of work.

…I believe some hidden blessings may come out of all this.

For one, this emphasis on finding a perfect job has created something of a sense of guilt or disappointment for so many people who, because of economic or educational limitations, weren’t in a position to land their dream job. They never became a roller-coaster architect or an author of children’s books or a rocket scientist. Instead, they did the best they could to find a relatively interesting job in a field that would allow them to pay the bills. Given everything that’s happening today, they’re going to be feeling better about what they’re doing, and happier than ever to simply be working. That’s a good thing.

And then there are the people who were industrious and fortunate enough to find one of those cool jobs, but who experienced their own disappointment when they came to the inevitable realization that designing roller coasters and writing books and building rockets didn’t turn out to be the party they expected it to be, and that a rewarding career is not the answer to all of life’s problems. The fact is, even rock stars and advertising executives and fashion designers experience the drudgery of work, not unlike bank tellers and plumbers and retail clerks; they just feel worse about it because they didn’t expect their work to become, well, work. Now they too can find a little relief and reset their expectations about the reality of having a job.

Finally, and most importantly, this shift away from needing a perfect job might just bring about a new appreciation for the simple gift that is work. This is something that my parents’ generation seemed to understand better than mine. To be gainfully employed, to labor with integrity in any way for the good of customers or co-workers or family, really can be its own reward. That is making sense to me now more than it has at any time in my career…

Pat Lencioni

Why Am I Doing This?

By | Building a Company, Culture, Free Career Advice | No Comments

Do you ever wonder if you’re doing the right things? By “right” I don’t mean the morally acceptable things. (Hopefully you are doing that…) Instead, I mean the things you should be doing that truly allow you to accomplish what’s most important, to reach your goals, and to contribute to the success of the company and our customers.

There are so many distractions coming at us everyday that make it hard to focus on what’s most important (for example, email). The more variety you have as part of your “job description,” the more accurate this probably is. Also, delegation and saying ‘no’ are two relatively difficult skills to master.

During a discussion a few months ago with a DAXKO board member, he was asking me about where I spend my time, hours I work, etc. I wasn’t sure why he was asking other than out of curiosity and to learn more about me and DAXKO. However, it got me thinking. Am I spending my time on the right things?

I later asked him for his read on my answers. As an objective outsider, what did he think? Instead of directly answering, he gave a bit of advice, which I think is worth sharing.

When he was a division president leading a team of thousands, he would ask himself “Why am I doing this?” with every task and project he found in front of him. If it was not something he should be doing, he would either delegate it or “kill it.”

As we grow and diversify as an organization, our individual roles and responsibilities are likely to become more complex as well. Ensuring we focus on the “right things” will be critical to our continued success and operational effectiveness. You may find that asking yourself this question is helpful. I have. In fact, I have a constant reminder posted on my desk.

This will mean some things simply don’t get done (or don’t get done by YOU or don’t get done immediately), and that’s alright provided they are lower priority than other items. Of course, this means you’ll need to be clear in communicating with others why that is.  You don’t want to simply ignore things and set the wrong expectations with your fellow teammates.

I encourage you to give this thought. Although somewhat uncomfortable at first, mastering this skill will allow us all to move a lot faster and more effectively.