Monday, December 31, 2018

How to set New Years Resolutions

This is a time of year that I reflect on the past and plan the future.

I am in the office today but have a surprisingly low number of meetings, calls and emails so I am getting a lot done.  It makes me realize how busy I usually am.

Some ideas I use when setting resolutions:

1 - Most resolutions are broken.  Not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of action planning. Yes, the ultimate goal is important but mostly that is a result of actions so I tend to focus on the actions and activities that will yield the result.

2 - Daily habits are the friend of goal achievement.  I focus on what habits I have.  The reason I prefer daily habits is they are easier than 3 times per week or some other measure.  Habits beat self discipline (yes - they are used together but habits make self discipline easy)

3 - There is a concept a friend once told me of plug/unplug.  Think of your time as a power outlet strip.  Every socket has a plug in it.  To plug something else in, something has to be unplugged.  So as I plan my 2019, I need to look at what things I will not do or do less of.

4 - Many people (myself included) come up with resolutions that require "just doing it".  Those are the ones that get broken.  To have a resolution that just requires self discipline does not usually work.  Work the systems and process needed to support the self discipline needed.

5 - Much of goal achievement has to do with time management.  But most time management is really not a time management issue - it is energy management.  I cannot increase the time available but there are things I can do to increase the energy I have.  And I can use my energy on the right things.

6 - Most time management problems are not time management issues they are priority issues.  So setting priorities is part of the key.

So 2019 is the year I will work smarter - not just harder.  I will work on higher priority items and use my energy well.

Good luck with your resolutions and Happy New Year to all.

Friday, December 28, 2018

John Fredrick Wood Eulogy

On Christmas day, I lost a great friend and mentor - John Wood.  It has taken me a few days to write this - I just did not know what to say.  Although I knew it was going to happen soon, it just hit me hard.

John Wood was only 78 years old.  A few years ago he had a lung transplant and since then had struggled with health issues.

I first met John when I was early in business.  I had perhaps 20 employees and he had 800.  He was the "big" business in Guelph and I was an upstart.  I wanted to grow my business so I reached out and asked if we could meet.  He graciously agreed.  I recall that I had a list of questions for him.  I wish I had kept the list or could remember it.  I do know, I thought the meeting was worthwhile.

From then on a couple of times per year, I would meet with him.  And occasionally our paths would cross at local charity or business events.  He was always nice and we had excellent rapport.

Our paths crossed again in 2011ish, when he asked me to join the board of Danby.  That meant we saw each other quarterly and I saw John more in action.  He was a detailed person.  He knew the numbers down to the penny.

Shortly after I joined the board, John got sick and resigned the board.  Shortly after that, the CEO of Danby resigned.  I said I could go in and run it for a while.  By then John was sick and mostly I did it so he would not have to worry.  Then the family asked if I could sell it for them.  I asked "for how much" - they told me and I said "fine - I will take it".  So that is how I ended up owning Danby.

Part of what made the transition so smooth was I had been running it for a year.  But part of it was the trust I had in John.  He was an old fashioned fair mined business person.  A handshake is a handshake and a deal is a deal.  And if there is a problem - work it out fairly.

John had a great impact on me.  He had an impact on many people.  People that I did not even know knew him have sent me emails.

I hope some day I can have the same impact on some young entrepreneur as he had on me.