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Monthly Archives: January 2009

“CHANGE”… The Most Opportunistic Word I Know!

The world is changing and we must change with it.  Over the past few years USR has been teaching the principles and practices of positive and quick adaptation to change.  We have read for example as an organization, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson, and  “Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter-both excellent and relevant reads on the topic.   The change sequence someone typically goes through is:

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

To meet the demands of our world, change simply needs to be accepted with gratitude and a positive disposition—-we don’t have time for all of the other stages in between (even though they may be required on a personal level, at some point in time).

 It has been said that in today’s world, career success belongs to the committed.  To those who work from the heart, who invest themselves passionately in their jobs, and who recommit quickly when change reshapes their work.  Don’t waste your energy resisting change, and don’t kill precious time sitting on the fence.  Either buy in, or be on your way.

 Just this week I enjoyed a short pheasant hunt with some client friends.  One of our family dogs is “Cali”, a sweet chocolate lab, who is a trained bird dog.  Watching her put her nose up in the air, following the scent, change course instantly and then leap at the opportunity (bird) is a great example of the opportunities that come with a changing environment IF we are ready to adapt quickly.

 Accept change rapidly and with passion, enjoy the journey, and find the opportunities.

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Posted by on January 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

All I Know is Cows

Our tax accountant and dear friend once told me a story that taught me a little about pace and balance.  The story goes that a newly called Texas preacher just finished his new church house and it was time to hold church and give his first sermon.   Sunday morning came, and a lone cowboy took his spurs off, removed his hat, and found his seat on the front row.  He and the preacher looked at each other, both a little awkwardly, as it was time for the service to begin and they were the only ones in attendance.  The preacher wondered if he should go ahead and preach to just one, but remembered that is often how the Lord worked—-so he began.

He preached powerfully and with passion.  He talked of heaven and hell and goodness and damnation.  He preached for over an hour and the cowboy listened intently with his hat in hand.  He became fidgety and a little uncomfortable as the preacher pounded the podium with his hellfire and damnation speech, staring him down and sometimes pointing a finger right at him.

When it was over, the preacher came down from the stand and asked the lone cowboy “How was it—-how did I do?”  He responded, “Well preacher, I don’t know nuttin bout preachin, all I know is cows.  And ifin one showed up for feedin, I’d durn sure feed her—–but I wouldn’t dump the whole load”.

In our extremely fast paced and highly connected world, it is difficult to establish pace and balance.  Sometimes, especially the youth, want it to all to happen instantly.  Sometimes, as a CEO, I want the same thing.  I have to remember that great things take time, proper pace, balance, patience and perspective.  Let us be receptive to what is taught to us and expected of us, and at the same time establish a pace and balance that doesn’t require us to run faster than we have strength or means provided to do so.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Filling the Pipeline

In our businesses, we talk about filling the pipeline to mean different things.  For example, I serve on a bank board, and the bank President reports to the board the possible loans to be booked as loans “in the pipeline”.  Our own marketing team has a vigorous prospecting method, and our future clients are referred to as new business “in the pipeline”. 

I want to mention another key pipeline to fill, and to emphasize this by an experience I had this last spring in farming, one of my hobby passions.  I am what you would call a “gentleman” farmer.  We pay a professional to manage our farms and farmers to custom farm the land.  In other web entries I’ll have a few stories about these wonderful farmers.  I have fun keeping an eye on the farms and learning all I can about farming.  I grew up on the land and it’s in my blood.  The lessons I’ve learned in farming stretch to every facet of my life. 

The corn had been planted, and it was time to turn in the first water.  For some reason, the water was not getting to the sprinkler pivot, at least not enough of it to pressurize and move the pivot around the field to water.  After some investigation, it was discovered that the main line was broken between the pond and the pivot.  The previous land owner had not taken care of the pipeline, it was buried too shallow, and was not the proper piping.  It was a miracle that the previous crops before we owned the farm made it to market.  Certainly they didn’t maximize their potential.  Well, the hot sun was beating down on 2 inch high corn with no water, and time was of the essence.  It took two weeks to install a new pipe line.  This time, it was 10 inches in diameter (not 4 inches), was buried 8 feet deep (not 3-4 feet) and is crush proof.  Although the water hit the crop two weeks late, we were fortunate to get a decent corn crop for cattle feed. 

As I looked at the empty pond during repairs, I thought of the constant effort in our company to fill our minds with great things which translate later on into a great harvest.  For example, we study constantly the works of Jim Collins from his work “Good to Great”.  We also study and inculcate the business teachings of Patrick Lencioni from his work “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, to name a few.  In our weekly reports, there is a section required to be reported called “Personal Growth”, which I read each week to get a feel for how the pond is being filled.  Only when we fill the pond and get the water to the crop—-the teachings from our head to heart and action, can we grow and thrive in this competitive world.  I’ve included a couple of pictures of our watering problem, and also one of the harvested crop.  We have to pay attention to the law of the harvest, particularly on the care of our “pipeline”, what we put in it, and how we feed our crops.  As it relates to each of our businesses, this is one of the laws we can count on and do have some control over.  Happy New Year!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2009 in Uncategorized