I saw the movie “Interstellar” this past week. In one scene, our hero has his spacesuit compromised and he is in desperate need of oxygen to survive. Spoiler alert…he lives.
And this got me to thinking of a Jack Canfield training that goes something like this…
“If you lived in an underwater home and were required to pump a pump by hand for 20 minutes a day to give you enough oxygen to live for the next 24 hours, would you do it?” Well… heck ya! If your life depends on it…you do it!
So take this principle and start looking at how you do the “little things” each day. In physics, the Law of Entropy says that all systems, if left unattended, will run down. Unless new energy is supplied, every organism deteriorates. So what steps do you take each day to care for your inner world (spiritual, emotional and mental states) and outer world (situation and circumstances)?
In most cases, 20 minute (or less) will do it. Meditate. Go to the gym. Hike. Read. Meet with a friend or loved one….Just do something every day!
Ask yourself… How can I keep my pump going?
I enjoy teaching immensely. This month I was invited as a guest lecturer to a senior Natural Resource Management class at Thompson Rivers University.
This was a great opportunity to share a little bit of my experience with some young bright minds that are just entering the professional world. I spoke about best management practices in fire suppression impact rehabilitation. My emphasis was on considering all resource values and professionalism. The image here is my first slide to share that my professional career started with heli and rap-attack fire fighting and to this day I continue to work with some the same people in this photo.
Their professor summarized the presentation brilliantly…it’s much more than natural resource management, it’s about communication and people. So true. The technical and professional aspect of anything IS the easy stuff. It’s when we have to communicate with others that things become interesting!
As I left the lecture hall, one of the students tracked me down and wanted to ask a few questions. What I appreciated about this student was “how” they did this. He respected my time and walked with me. Next he shared his passion for being an entrepreneur and followed up with a series of great questions. In return, I offered to introduce him to a few people that I know will be able to help him out and I offered to meet with him and his business partners over a beer to learn more about what they are doing.
I love it when people TAKE ACTION and ASK for what they want!
I went back to a favourite audio training this month from John Kehoe. John’s passion is to teach about Mind Power and how to harness it. I have been practicing Mind Power for some time now, but listening to the whole program again with a fresh mind was invigorating. Here’s a bit of what it looks like…
Each day, I spend about 20 to 30 minutes in the morning meditating and journaling on things that I’d like to achieve in my life, both personally and professionally. I touch on the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental aspects. One of my Mind Power exercises for a straight week was to visualize, seed, contemplate and examine what it looked to like and means to “easily attract great joint venture partners”. I’m certainly having a lot of FUN with this one.
How do you choose or create your partnerships?
Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel were two behavioural psychologists that ran a little experiment on Apparent Behavior in 1944. They asked three study groups to interpret the behaviour on a short video showing the movement of geometric figures. Each group was given a different set of questions and one group was played the video in reverse.
Their results showed that each study group characterized and judged the figures based on the previous movements. If you are curious about how you are being treated or how you treat others, consider the context of the relationship you are involved in and reflect on what your past experience has been.
It matters what we do each day because we are building our character going forward. People are forming their opinions…and how we respond to them is what matters!
Is there a difference between the mindset of an employee and an owner? From my experience there needn’t be one… but more often than not I am finding out there most certainly is!
I took time this month to go check in on our Moose Jaw property. One of the key things for our business is keeping the entire property neat and tidy. Although no tenants live on-site, we feel that a well kept property is very important for retaining and attracting customers. It also promotes good tenant behaviour as I believe that they mimic our actions and have more pride and respect for our building and property if they see we take care of it too. All that said, when I arrived on site I was disappointed with what I saw. Even after informing our manager four days in advance that I was coming, we still had garbage and weeds growing throughout the property. I have had to reflect on what part I played in allowing this situation to develop.
None of this is “news” to our manager. My expectations have been clear since day one. I had been requesting weekly updates and here is where I was not as disciplined as I could have been. Photo’s did not come when I requested them. I trusted that things were being done. Although our manager was not meeting our expectations, it has been a fantastic experience. The results have been for us to get more clear and more direct with our on-site manager. I have been able to go back to the Job Description and put more thought into the details required in order to manage expectations. All in all we are much better for the experience. And at the end of the day, we own this business and nobody cares for it more than us. It’s our role to ensure we are putting the right people in charge and giving them the right direction.
Garbage and weeds are taken care of…now time to focus on our fall marketing campaign…stay tuned, some really FUN things to share coming up!
Who is the world’s largest tire maker?
The answer, at 500 million tires per year…is Lego. Lego’s numbers and market dominance is staggering. Yet just 10 years ago it was facing bankruptcy. This Danish family-based business, founded by carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932, is the worlds fastest growing toy company and is a case-study on “how to turn a company around”.
Ten years ago, Lego was loosing close to one million dollars a day. Lego had lost its way. Enter the new 36 year old CEO Jorgen Vig Knudsorp. Jorgen took a look back at the beginning to best understand what made them successful in the first place and how they got to where they were. The word Lego is a portmanteau of the Danish words “Leg godt” which means “play well”. During the depression, Ole Kirk subsidized his furniture company with toy models of his product line. The miniature sets became so popular and overtook the furniture line. In the 40”s, plastic was integrated into the wooden toy lines and 1949, the first Lego brick introduced. For 28 years they made wooden and plastic toys, but after a 1960 factory fire, they made a strategic decision to just focus on the plastic building brick.
By the 2000’s the Company had lost its way. They could not answer the question “what is Lego uniquely about?”. They did not know their core business and because of this, they did not know what their core strength was.
They were expanding Theme Parks, stores, books, clothing lines, video games…so much vertical integration and global reach in all areas they had little knowledge in and they lost huge amounts of money. How bad did the books look? Well in 2004, Morgan Stanley recommended to the Lego family to sell everything to avoid certain downfall and possible bankruptcy….ouch!
This is when the fourth CEO of Lego stepped in (Jorgen) and the first that came from outside of the family. Jorgen had the exact same core value as the founding family… “Doing good for the children of the world”. He is the first to admit they didn’t understand where they made and lost money. They were not disciplined in their operational processes. There was a poor match between forecasting and manufacturing. They had limited sharing of data. They didn’t know where to invest first. They didn’t know which customers and product lines were profitable.
So Jorgen started a process in which he called “Business Understanding Commercial Orientation” because right-sizing and downsizing was desperately required to answer the question “What is Lego uniquely about?” They then set about talking to their retail customers. After selling off non-core assets such as the Theme Parks and reducing the production suite of pieces down from 13,000 to 7,000, Lego was able to stop the haemorrhaging. Jergon points out that “this flat time was a fantastic opportunity because growth is like a “sugar coating” on your problems. You don’t see them so well when you are growing. When you are not growing, you really have to drive productivity and this allowed them time to re-focus the business in areas that only Lego had the unique advantage…the toy building brick.” The focus on production has helped Lego quadruple in size in the past decade, now valued at $18.5 Billion.
They also did intense market research, which resulted in the 2011 launch of the Lego “Friends” line, aimed at girls who shockingly were assumed to “not be interested in building”. It was the result of four years of focus groups asking children many many questions about what they liked. They embraced the idea that little girls loved to build (rather than producing “pre-built” sets) and added much more little details like bows in hair, butterflies and flowers.
As you can see from this photo, my children and I still play for hours with our Lego (thanks Bob, Ben and Dan!) and I can concur with their market studies that girls absolutely love to build 🙂 How creative can you be? Two 2×4 bricks of Lego can be combined 24 different ways. Three pieces have 1,060 different combinations. If you have six 2×4 pieces (same color), there are 915,103,765 different combinations. The possibilities are endless!
When is the last time you looked at your business and asked “why are we here?”