Monday, June 27, 2005

A Cry For Help

You know, sometimes I wonder if anyone is actually reading any of this stuff I am putting out. I wander around my day-to-day existence and try to find new and exciting business related crap to write about. I tell myself I will impress my reader(s) to the point that they will actually comment on one of my posts.

But then I realize that while I would enjoy bettering someone's business with my insights and commentary, it isn't necessary. Instead, I realized, that the blog in it's own right is a form of journal/diary writing with a twist of exhibisionism. We all want to be noticed. Usually we aren't but we are all crying out for someone to "look at me". See I am special because of this thought or that deed.

This all hit me this past week. I had a great meeting with the Waynesboro City Planner and his staff about my new real estate project Dewitt Crossing. After the meeting, I went across the street to a Chinese Restuarant to get a buffet to go. I paid the nice girl and carried my little styrofoam box to the buffet line. There I was met my this lady who was clearly choking.

She jumped up and down and pointed at her throat. I asked the obvious: Are you choking? The nodd was yes. So I set my little box down and turned her around and perfomed the Himleck manuever. She then spit out a chunk of meat. I helped her sit down, asked her if she was okay, then went back to the buffet line.

Now, in the normal superhero fantasy, the hero gets pats on the back and a standing ovation from all the other people in the restaurant. The next day the newspaper carries a front page story about how local guy saves lady's life.

Of course none of that happened.

In reality, I didn't help her for the admiration of my fellow citizens. The fact that no one noticed or acknowledged my efforts doesn't take away from the deed.

My little moral to the story is that you do things that are right so you can sleep at night. Trying to go through life looking for acknowledgment is a losing proposition. Do what you think is right and you will be fine. Leave the fame to someone else.

This is the same for the blog. I don't write this blog in order to get some sort of recognition. There will be some good that comes from this. Of that I am sure. But it is likely that I will never know where it helped, and that is okay. I write for my own sense of self and not as a cry for help.

Getting through June

June, as you can imagine is the toughest month for special event rentals. We have weddings and graduations which taken together put a pretty tough strain on our resources. It also brings out failings in leadership and management.

This June, I had some trouble with my management staff in Tents and Events. Let me start by saying that these are good guys, but their methods and processes are lacking when stressed. Leadership is more than looking like a leader, having the power office, or telling people what to do.

Leadership is an overused term that the business gurus have grabbed and thrown on the cover of books by the dozens. "Patton on Leadership" "Leadership" "Shakespeare on Leadership" (Friggin Shakespeare?) "Leadership 101: What Every Leader Should Know", "The Leadership Challenge" etc. etc. etc.

Holy Crap! This leadership thing is way overboard. Why? Because everything you need to know about leadership can be summed up in a short list of things to do:

1. Give a specific task to a specific person to be done at a specific time. Then follow up.
2. Be accountable for everything that you or your people do or leave undone.
3. Plan what your people are to do before they ask you what you want done.
4. Never let your people down. Never let them let you down.
5. Don't lie.

That's it. Do these five things and you will be a better leader than most of the members of congress. Do these five things and you will outperform your fellow managers and executives.

There I said it. I know more than all the business gurus. Well, maybe I do and maybe I don't. However, I am not trying to sell a book, so there is no reason to expand on the simple list. I don't need to fill 200 pages in order to get a hardback book deal. (Although I will if someone pays me to.)

The point is this: Leadership is not some complex subject. It is all about being that stand-up guy who gets the job done not matter what. You know the type. This is the boss who is focused, organized, believes is the people who work for him, and is honest with himself and others.

This leader doesn't have to be an astronaut or congressman. It might be the heavy set guy who runs a road crew. It might be the 20 year old kid who runs the late shift at the burger joint. It might be a single mom who manages a real estate firm.

Don't you just love it when I get all touchy-feely?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Finally, I can see the light

What a busy month. May was by far the busiest we have been in a while. Not only did we have to settle into the new building for Tents and Events, but we had a record month for Tents as well. That meant working on the warehouse in between serving the customers.

Luckily, we have good crews. We are still separating the wheat from the chaff, though. Last week at the Shenandoah Harley Davidson dealership's grand opening, we had a guy walk off the job. Someone had asked him to move a tent that he hadn't even set up yet and he just quit. I guess the only way to truly find out what someone is made of is to put that kind of intense, overwhelming pressure on them and see if they crack. (That is a smart ass comment!)

On the Hayes Investments side, we have met the deadline and submitted the Master Plan for Dewitt Crossing. (Check www. later this week to see it.) This development is going to be fantastic. We are going to make it very pedestrian friendly as well as control the signage and building designs.

Finally, on we are having a great month with plenty of new activity. I did stop the search engine optimization program. In my experience, it looks like the pay per click program is far better in terms of ROI.

I will try to update the blog more often. Later for now.