I am in New Orleans attending the American Rental Association trade show. I find it a great annual update on the latest in the rental industry, an opportunity to learn at the many seminars, and a time of networking with peers in the industry who face similar challenges. Yesterday the show opened with a keynote talk delivered by Peyton Manning, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback and five-time NFL MVP (and New Orleans native). He offered some insight into leadership qualities that reach across industries and even sports. Read on.
Photo from: http://www.athletize.com/peyton-manning-wallpaper/
Peyton observed that decision-making is the currency of a successful business leader, and that to help leaders make decisions they must have people around them who will give unqualified answers and critiques. Honest opinion from the team will help a leader implement the vision for the enterprise.
I have been visiting Toronto, Canada, this week placing my son in a pre-boarding academy at his new school. I had 10 days between dropping him off and picking him up so decided to stay here, set up business meetings to try to generate future work and strategy ideas that eventually may help pay for the world-class education he will be receiving. I took a quick look at the cultural events that were available during my stay. When I saw that Ai Weiwei’s traveling exhibit, “According to What?” was on at the Art Gallery of Ontario I knew I had to set aside time to visit. What a moving experience! Read on.
If you don’t know, Ai Weiwei is one of China’s leading contemporary artists. However, that short – almost pithy – definition really does the man, and his body of work, a severe injustice. He is, on a macro level, the consummate social voice of his country. On a micro level, he is an artist, an architect, a blogger, a photographer, a documentary videographer, to name but a few areas of interest he turns his prodigious talent towards. He is, as he summed up in his book of blog posts, a voice of honour against abusive authority and ‘shameless people with one foot in the system and the other out the door‘. “May 14, 2006, As Soon as You’re Not Careful … an Encounter with Idiocy on a Sunny Day.”
My son asked me an interesting question today. What is the difference between a goal and an aspiration? I did as any self-respecting dad in the digital age would do. “Have you Googled it,” I asked? “Yes,” replied Ryan, “but it is very confusing.” Looking closer at the definitions I could see what the problem was, and I gained an insight I think is worth sharing. Read on.
First, the definitions, using the Oxford Online Dictionary.
GOAL: The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
This past weekend my wife and I had a 24 hour ‘stay-cation’ for our anniversary at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. My companies Massive Equipment Rental & Sales Ltd and Fireworks Ltd work on property often, but it is always nice to unplug for a bit and stay as a guest. The act of unplugging from the daily routine is powerful psychologically as a reset, a recharge, and a preparation for the next big push in our personal or business lives. While there I saw so many aspects of service – I call it ‘Perfection, Perfected’ – that went above and beyond the norm. The thought came to me that the best way to thank the team at the Ritz-Carlton for the wonderful service my wife and I experienced was to write about it, and to illustrate how this service can help you in your business. The 12 points are not the proverbial rocket science, but they work. As a leader of an entrepreneurial organization you would do well to read on.
Service is EVERYTHING to the Ritz-Carlton. It is what defines the chain in their very competitive niche. This is not to say that other firms that offer similar products do not have as a goal top-level customer service. They do. But few execute this as well as the Ritz-Carlton.
Today is the 18th anniversary of my wedding to the most beautiful girl I ever laid eyes on. Today is also the first time we have been apart on our anniversary. I’m returning from the Lego robotics competition that our son Ryan was participating in with his team from Cayman Prep and High School, the Cyber Rays. We will be back in Cayman this afternoon, but I thought I would reflect on how much I have learned from ‘my bride’ over the 18 years we have been married.
Over the years my wife has taught me to be:
- A CARING FRIEND – Christina is one of the most caring people I know. She has amplified this trait in me and I am better for it. I am constantly amazed at the lengths she will go to for her friends and it has always inspired me to try harder.
- GENEROUS – We are blessed to have developed a successful business over the years. Christina has shown me that it is not all about us in this area. We must have purpose and share our learnings and success where it can have the most impact in the lives of others.
- PRECISE – I am an ‘acceptable range’ type of person when it comes to numbers or plans. My wife is a ‘precise’ person. For me coming into the marriage meant closing my bank accounts as they had not been balanced in years. I knew about where I was and never bounced a check but this was not really on. Christina to her great credit has a much more precise approach to finances. And the books are balanced very month!
- MORE LOVING – Christina is the most loving person in so many ways. To me, to our kids, to our families. Before our wedding saying ‘I love you’ was not really a part of my vocabulary outside of the relationship. Tina changed all that in me. Not a day goes by that this is not reaffirmed between us and between our kids and others. Its important. And you can be loving to more than family. Your perspective on business changes when you approach it in a loving way.
- PUNCTUAL – I am notoriously late to meetings and events. Its how I’m wired… just one more quick email, just a quick added note in the blog post then I will be in the car…and arriving 10 minutes late. Christina does not operate this way…at all. Guess which time management system is slowly winning out? Not mine.
- ORGANIZED – I was never the most organized person. My wife on the other hand is all about the lists and the plan and the eventuality She has taught me the value of planning and organization in a more methodical way. I’m getting better.
- PREPARED – Linked to organization, my wife is also a great proponent for preparing for eventualities. This normally shows itself in the doubling of recipes and cooking way more food than may be needed… in case someone happens to come over during dinner. It rarely happens, but when it does you will not leave hungry.