Delaying the discussion...


Here's the thing about business travel — it's really an exercise in efficiency, and unless you are into that sort of thing, the whole activity really isn't that much fun.

It's all about how effectively you can get your ticket and how quickly (and easily) you can get through customs and security — all the while juggling various forms of identification, accessories and bags, belts, and shoes. Sure I was in Boston, but that meant I never really got any farther than a Logon airport hotel, and saw little more than the four walls of a conference room. Of course, that was after I missed my connector.

"It's the Captain from the flight deck. You may have noticed the gate is moving back into position... we have a warning light on and maintenance is going to check it out. We'll get back to you as soon as we can."

"It's the Captain again. Looks like this plane won't be going anywhere. The good news is we are having a new plane brought in and it should be at gate 32 in twenty minutes. We will de-boarding in a moment and I'll see you at gate 32 in about twenty minutes".

An hour and twenty minutes later we were in the air.

You rarely grumble when you travel for business but rather tend to gather your things, inform anyone who is impacted using one (or more) of the many communication tools available, and make your way to wherever you have to get to in the most direct way possible. In the case of this particular business travel experience, as I was collecting my things I couldn't help but overhear someone on the phone explaining his situation and then said something that reminded me of a very important truism —

" I really didn't want to miss being part of the discussion"

It wasn't so much that he was missing a meeting because that happens all the time, but his lament was that he's missing the opportunity to add his voice to the discussion. 

And here is the truism —

Anything (and everything) only gets better when you add your voice to the discussion.

Sure I will admit that it's sometimes difficult, but that makes it even more important.


PS: I ended up getting to the meeting on time, and had a far bit to say. (I think)

It's best to assume the rules will change — an excercise in witticism.

You know when you come across something that has you laughing, and laughing, and laughing some more — partly because it is funny but also because there is a deep understanding that sadly it is so very true. For me, there are two witticisms that always come to mind when I find myself involved with a merger, an acquisition, or any transition where the goal is aggressive growth... and I can't help but laugh every time.

The first witticism was presented to me some time ago after we had burned through a number of days on a project and were about to "hit the go button"; a colleague came into my office and told me that leadership decided to change the scope, and we had to start over.

He then looked at me, smiled, and said,

"The ball was in the air and they moved the goal posts" 

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The other witticism came to me in the form of a link in an email — there was no subject line and there were no words; just a link. For twenty-three seconds I laughed, and laughed, and laughed because sadly it was so very true. I must have watched it three or four times before I then forwarded the link on to those I thought may find it "apropos". The link in question was Billy Connelly's Business plan, and it was the final line of the presentation that I hold dear —  

"And the demands will all be changed then, so fuckin' stay awake..."

This is not a commentary on business, or leadership, or any of the dozens and dozens of reasons change occurs — this is simply a comment that how those rules you operate by will change. And as I like to say, that change will be either "adaptable evolution" or "bloody revolution" but either way, the rules will change and you will have to deal with it (although you could just quit or role over with your belly exposed to the sky). It really is one of those "full stop" sorta things,

"Those rules you operate by will change. Full stop."

I suppose knowing that is not very helpful when change does come knocking (which, as I've suggested, most certainly will), but I will say after all those years of laughter and tears, I may be able to offer some insights for consideration —

  • It is important to understand the rules will change, you can not stop it, and it really has been that way ever since rules were invented — change and adapt, change and adapt; it is in our DNA. It is important to accept and embrace this point.
  • When the rules are changing get involved, understand what's behind it, and champion the change.
  • When someone moves the goal posts you are allowed to get "fussy" about it and throw a "professional tantrum". Get it out of your system and move on.
  • Confront any "anti-change" discussion and positively lead it in a constructive direction.
  • Laughter really is the best medicine — so laugh out loud. Way better, and less destructive, than getting angry.
  • The more things stay the same, the more dramatic the change will be when it comes — it's best to advocate for continual change.
  • With change comes opportunity — search it out, and go for it.
  • It's best to be respectful during times of change and do not assume you are untouchable.
  • There is no such thing as "the golden age", so stop talking about it.
  • Pay attention to what's happening, and be part of it.

Off to listen to the link again... it makes me laugh, and laugh, and laugh.


The chronicling of a journey...

With reference to my blogging, it was recently pointed out that I was doing a pretty good job of chronicling my life — and even more recently, I received an email from someone who mentioned that they could identify with a blog I had written, and appreciated my "mentorship".


Considering my initial reasons for blogging were to articulate my domain expertise with regard to solving sales and marketing problems, become a better writer, and better understand social media strategy, the chronicling and mentorship accolades were an unexpected bonus. From the beginning I have blogged in five subject matter areas:

  • Change and Adaption
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Execution
  • The Journeyman and the Human Condition

I suppose the frequency of what I write about depends on what business I have going on at the moment, what comes out of my conversations with people, and whatever life happens to offer up at any given time. I do remember making a conscious decision to embrace topics on the human condition more frequently because like life, sales and marketing problems are multi-dimensional (and frankly, more often than not, it's all one in the same anyway). There's something important that comes with chronicling your thoughts and ideas (be it in a blog, a video, or a pod cast) because its a tangible proxy of who you are and what you can do; more importantly, there is a permanency that allows others to engage (be it now or later). For me, blogging serves me well because I simply can't stand the sound of my voice (let alone look at myself on video)... so I say find your sweet spot and develop it.

When I asked the person who comment on my blog what she wanted, she went on to offer up what most 30-something corporate professionals seem to want —

What do I want? Three year plan- 

  1. Grow into a people management position in the company and work towards a global role. Interested in the Asian markets.

  2. Teach part time.

  3. Keep working on my entrepreneurial endeavours

Life goal... grow and explore new things, keep teaching. More importantly, keep moving forward.

When she asked what I wanted, this is what I said (which I suspect is what most 50-something people might say in one form or an other)

Me?  it’s all about legacy now... a legacy family property for my daughter to escape the city, a legacy in who I help with their "travels", and health to serve the two...

In the end I think he is right about me chronicling my professional endeavours as I weave myself through the trials and tribulations of helping companies with their sales and marketing problems, helping startups, understanding new technologies like Blockchain, and uncovering opportunities where I can help — all the while, embracing being that journeyman and experiencing the human condition.

One way or another, it's all about what we are doing as we strive to meet our goals ... although I can't help but encourage you to think about chronically your journey because we would all be better for hearing about it.