Two employees were in the break room, one was chatting non stop about her old boss and their habits, behavior and all the things the employee disliked. The other employee listened and listened then finally suggested, “Why don’t you leave that old boss at the old job.”
When moving my wife’s mother and aunt to Michigan a few years back, I had hired a friends teen age sons to help pack and carry items down the flights of stairs. The boys had asked if two of their friends could come and make a buck too, as you could imagine this really helped get the job done quickly and at times all the help caused a little confusion. As one set of boys were packing the kitchen, one yelled does everything go? Yes I replied. Imagine my shock 3 days later unpacking the kitchen trash can with the trash still in it!
I suggest we keep both of these events in mind as we begin 2011. Families and Family businesses sometimes behave like both characters in my note. Sometimes we cannot let go of that old story, event or mistake. Sometimes we are so busy we pack the old newspapers, deposit bottles and the trash as we move to the next level of performance.
Business, family businesses need a foundation, a substance a core. That substance can never change; God, Family and Community are our Core values.
As we begin 2012 let’s leave the bad behind, let’s shake off any of the nay bombs, any of the negative waves and push out renewed and excited about the future. The authors in Built to Last state over and over “preserve the core/stimulate progress”.
We have added some ideas to the lexicon, let’s not fix the same problem twice, partner or perish, book a sale, save a buck.
This year let’s focus on retention, expansion and growth. Retention can be considered preservation, maintenance, or custody. Operational gains, customer sales are only in our custody. It’s our job to protect these improvements and customer awards. Retaining and improving quality levels, efficiency, utilization and other key metrics are a must. Retaining customers does not have the zip, posh or excitement of new awards. Our focus on these two areas cannot slip, back slide or erode.
As we begin 2012 let’s not pack any of the trash with the items we carry into 2012. When you think of visionary firms the check list must include — premier institution, widely admired, indelible imprint on the world, 50+year track record, multiple generations of Presidents and multiple products and service cycles.
As we write the next pages in our Family Business Journal we need to focus on our core and progress. We need to continue to explore and stimulate growth and beware of artificial harmony. We must challenge each other.