Holding Up the Mirror

By | Building a Company, Culture, Technology | No Comments

Have you ever heard that the things you dislike most in others are probably at the root of your own faults?

At DAXKO we work hard every day to help associations become more efficient, more effective, and achieve excellence.  We are surprised when we see evidence that they are not using our software and tools effectively, not leveraging all of the services available to them through us.  We are surprised by manual processes, disparate systems, and lack of focus.  Maybe it’s also time for us to hold up the mirror and run the 20-point lube check on our own engine.  As I was working on an “Efficiency” collateral piece, I thought about how this applies to us:

Operational efficiency happens when the right combination of people, process, and technology come together to achieve excellence while driving down costs. Through operational efficiency, time spent on manual tasks can be redirected to high value projects. With greater attention on long term goals, DAXKO customers achieve excellence through streamlined operations, improved member retention, and increased budget size.

Do we have the right people in the right seats?  Are our processes smooth and lean?  Do we use the technology that we have to its full potential to be more efficient and use data in meaningful ways?  Are our long term goals clear?  My guess is the answer to all of these is “sometimes.”

We all need to take ownership for finding the answers to these questions.  When something is broken, you fix it.  When something doesn’t make sense, you make sense of it.  When the reason you are doing something is not clear, you ask why you are doing it.

I am excited by how well we do on many of these things, and surprised sometimes at how much room we have to improve.  The exciting part is that if we are successful now, think of how this place can rock when we have our business down to a science.  Who wouldn’t like that?

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