Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Time for Turkey

For the first time, in perhaps twenty years my Mom is cooking thanksgiving turkey. After a long summer of remodeling in her new home Mom decided that she could host a portion of the family for dinner. I have to say I am very excited for her.

Sure her new place is small and we will likely be cramped at folding chairs and tables. There won't be enough seats in the he TV room for all of us to watch the games and the place will be generally petty darn crowded. In fact only half the family is actually coming so that's a bit of a save keeping the count at about 20 to sit down. But for me it's a bit of a homecoming.

Once your parents get a bit older and you have your own family the notion of going home kind of loses it's importance. I live close to my Mom so it's not like we have visited my childhood home over the years and slept there. Instead we have always been able to sleep in our own beds after family parties. So as Mom and Dad moved out of the big house which served us all to the smaller one a few towns away I wasn't really affected. Sure we all said goodbye to that old house but all of our memories came along. After Dad died we did our best to congregate at their smaller house and we were definitely able to recreate our family table even if we spread into the kitchen and den. Finally Mom decided that there were too many memories and needed to move. Finding this house, which was a complete disaster on the inside worried me for months. It was a total gut job but Mom said she was up to it and her finances, while not perfect supported the decision. She lived with B4 during the months of construction and by early fall was in her new spot. And she loves it.

This turkey day will definitely harken back to those rogue thanksgivings when we abandoned the big, big family party on Mom's side for a smaller, albeit still crowded immediate family dinner. It will be great to be around the table with B5 and B3's families. We are all doing some cooking and all of our girls will be there. Mom I'm sure will be a bit nervous but she is a well tested hostess and she will have a lot of help from us all. This afternoon D1 and I meet to commute home to bring our house to full and tomorrow we eat turkey.

And that makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Keep Pushing Carefully

Who will rise to the challenge? It's all about work right now. I have a great desire to flow into the holiday with an even keel creating few waves, but that's not the right thing to do. There are ideas and individuals that need help changing and if not me then who will help them.

Complacency has to be the number one killer of companies. I have no proof of this but I'm certain it is true. People get comfortable with the status quo and it becomes very hard to change them. Small management teams become "them" in an us versus kind of way, though they are just a few people and generally easy to talk to, understanding and interested in both company and individual success. And yet no one wants to change.

I took a step yesterday to increase the pressure on us. I called for a straighter view towards communication with our broad team. Instead of hiding behind the norms of big company communications and feedback loops I called us to look at reality. We have one layer of management and so feedback should be easy, not some, "I think the company needs to more of this..." kind of thing. Who is "the company" here anyway but a handful of decision makers and then everyone else. How about we find out what each person is willing to do above and beyond what they do today to make the company great. What if we were to get everyone to write that down instead of answering some politically correct set of questions whose answers we already know. What if we took down the curtain of big company normalcy and asked people to change, directly!

These could very well be fighting words. It only takes a little upheaval to get yourself branded a negative nancy. I learned quite specifically in 1999 that in the context of a group that doesn't want change you can quickly lose your seat by speaking out. So I need to keep pushing, but carefully.

On my way in this morning for a long day. Prospect meetings, continued interviews in Hong Kong, an update and feedback session on candidates and a long put off kick in the butt session with one of my new sales reps. I have to get her going while taking responsibility for leaving her too much on her own so far. The day doesn't end until after team building cocktail hour after work so by the time I'm in this seat again heading the other direction I may be able to set my sights on that holiday pause. For today though the push is on, carefully.

And that makes me happy.