Wolves

The photo is a a selection from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, To Edward Carrington Paris, on Jan. 16, 1787

No matter if you are on the left or right, I would suggest that we the people of the USA are responsible for the government we have. Will we change our ways, about not caring what goes on in government or even complaining about a government policy but failing to get involved whenever possible? All this stuff happens off of Facebook folks. Protests are not the answer Facebook rants are not the answer.

Rather staying informed, asking for and showing up at town hall meetings, participating in local government, and especially voting in every single election where you have a right to vote. There are things we will disagree on and should have discussions about but let’s seek common ground wherever possible.

Return to the Ranch

Towards the end of May, I had the chance to sit down with my old bosses at Ranch and Home and ask for my previous job. Thankfully after some deliberation they accepted. After six months at Amazon I have learned a lot. Of all the Fortune 500 companies that I could work for, I am happy I got the chance to work for Amazon. Their drive to constantly improve is legendary, and having seen it from the inside its actually true. I was amazed and impressed as to how much trust and authority they give to their customer service associates with the expectation that they will solve the customers problem at all costs, even to the company.

The comparison to Ranch and Home though was stark, with no fault to either company. I realized that for me, I enjoy working in smaller companies where its actually possible to talk to the owner and get a decision made right then and there. Its an amazing feeling to know that you are working for one of the leading members of your own hometown and knowing that you will be respected and appreciated for the individual contribution one makes to the company, even if its only a wink, smile, and a firm handshake.

Of note, we also bought a newer used car. Its a 2002 Ford Taurus in mostly good shape with right around 100,000 miles. The body is in good shape, and we are working on getting some necessary repairs done.

Five Dangerous Things To Do With Those You Lead

While I would never suggest purposely placing your child, employee or subordinate in danger, it is interesting to ask ourselves are we purposely choosing to be protectively in such a way as to be counter-productive? While there is every reason not to be reckless, encouraging those under us to explore the world around them with a view towards understanding it can prove helpful in a number of places and situations. In my own personal experience, the main places and times I have learned have always been outside of my comfort zone. This video provides some context.

Seven Leadership Principles – Learned From Retail

I have spent over 3 years, (Author note: I would spend another 3+ years in retail before joining Bethel but the lessons still ring true.) in two retail positions and multiple “customer service” related situations. Interacting with people is never easy but seeing as God seems to have placed me in my current situation for a while, I thought I might try to list the things I have learned from my life experience thus far.

Maintain consistent expectations of those beneath you. Building trust, charisma, and a sense of vision only works when everybody knows precisely what is expected of them. Life and situations come up, but at the root of it should be unchangeable values about why your family, business, or organization exist and why it matters. Being a part of something that matters, ultimately means that the people understand themselves matter.

Always frame an inquiry about a concern, in the form of a question. Everyone has horror stories they can tell of that malicious person that screwed them over but the reality is that most people are not intent on harm, either to you, the company, or your customers. By posing your concerns as a question, you learn more about the situation without jumping to conclusions and you encourage your employees to think deeper about the situation and learn from their mistakes.

Always assume that you don’t know the whole story. Especially in retail, situations can change multiple times in multiple seconds. With those changes come implications, which some times change as your speaking. Learn to find the teachable moments and never underestimate them.

Challenge those beneath you to exceed their expectations of themselves. Ultimately you desire the best possible performance from your team. The first roadblock though is usually themselves. Do you know your people well enough to know what their biggest fear is and what it might take to overcome? Obviously you have a business to run, but developing your team will ultimately lead to greater returns than invested.

Push your people hard, but defend them to the last breath. There is place to push the people under you to perform, but one of their biggest fears is being left high and dry especially if you change the expectations on them (see above). Consistently defend them when attacked and move the mountains they can’t or shouldn’t have to move and they will follow you anywhere.

Customers are always right, but not always. Customers and paying members are the life blood of your organization (no matter whether they invest monetarily or not). Remember though that just because someone asks for something does not mean, that you should always bend to their desires. The “mob” thinks in lowest common denominator terms. Remember why you exist.

Reality is created, shared, and changeable. Reality is a funny thing, its supposed to be closely related to truth but it tends to have more to do with perception. Your reality should ultimately start with your mission and vision. Then share that vision with the people who ultimately matter, everyone from your employees, to your customers, to your community. Encourage people to join your reality for their benefit, rather than yours. With respect comes trust, with trust comes loyalty, but only through continual relationship.