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This month, Larry Lacy and I celebrate 17 years in business. This year we will also celebrate 15 years of marriage. I know, we did it backwards – we enjoyed working together so much we decided to get married.

We are reminded frequently how remarkable it is for a couple to work successfully together in business. People often comment that, though they love their husband or wife, they wouldn’t be able to work with them daily – especially when things are rough as they inevitably will be in business.

So, at this milestone, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I think our partnership has been successful.

1. We NEVER blame one another when something goes wrong.

2. We take responsibility when we do something stupid.

3. We give one another room and support to grow.

4. When the going gets tough, we circle the wagons.

5. We practice what we preach. We teach communication and trust-building skills. We would be pretty bad if we couldn’t follow our own advice.

6. We celebrate everyday. We aren’t promised a certain amount of time on this earth. Thus, we believe in celebrating everyday we have together. It reminds us of what an amazing gift we have.

7. Each of us is the other’s best cheerleader.

8. We each are determined to be in a good mood, but recognize it isn’t always possible.

9. We always have one another’s back.

10. We are grateful for each other and for all that we have been blessed with.

I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures the next 17 years bring.

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Git ‘er Done!

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We would all like to take Larry the Cable Guy’s advice and “Get ‘er done,” but sometimes that is a whole lot easier said than done. And it seems that the more people you mix into the equation, the more difficult it is to do.
At the end of the day, it is a great feeling to know that we have actually accomplished something. While that should be a given, it really isn’t. Too often we waste time in meetings that never go anywhere. Discussions meander from one topic to the next and in the end, no one is really sure what needs to be accomplished and by whom.  At the end of the meeting, people scatter like a handful of bb’s dropped on the floor, hoping that no one will call them back to assign a task. This all leads to a marked distaste for meetings, but more importantly, it leads to apathy and a lack of confidence in one another. The 8-Step process outlined below can be the cure for this problem
On the other hand, perhaps you are just looking for a way to ensure that you personally get more accomplished at home or work. By modifying the 8-Step Process for personal use, it will help you accomplish more with less stress and more confidence.
It works! We use it ourselves and have used it with many clients with great success. Give it a try and see how it improves your productivity and makes your life just a bit simpler…

1.    What needs to be accomplished? (This should be broken down to include the individual steps needed for task accomplishment. For example, if what needs to be accomplished is to plan a party, this process should be performed for each task – Music, decorations, food, etc).

2.    Who is responsible?

3.    When will it be started?

4.    When will it be complete?

5.    What resources are required? (Money, time, a team to assist, training, etc.)

6.    How will you measure results? (Without this, you cannot know if you are successful.)

7.    How will results be communicated? (IE – We will report progress in a weekly email and to the employees. We will include the results in a mailing to all of our customers.)

8.    How will you monitor for opportunities for improvement? (This is what makes the process closed-loop. Even if the outcomes are successful, it is a best practice to continue to monitor for opportunities to make additional enhancements.)

If you need any help on how to use this, let us know.

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We love this time of the year. For us it isn’t about a lot of gifts, but rather enjoying one another and about lending a helping hand where we can. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever, we wish one and all the very best.

We have high hopes that 2012 is a great year. We spoke to a colleague yesterday who said that 2012 is the year of the collaboration. Isn’t that a great thought? Oh, what we can accomplish if we put our minds together.

Anyway, we have a little gift to share with you. It is a short story that was inspired by those who put profit ahead of everything else. We hope that you enjoy it. If you do, please leave us a note. If you don’t…sorry!

To download the story, click the link:

Merry (Corporate) Christmas

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One of the biggest complaints that we hear from business leaders is that they feel like they have to buy loyalty from their employees. Albert Pujols’ decision today to leave the St. Louis Cardinals in favor of the LA Angels made us wonder about the price tag on loyalty.

Just to be up front with you, we are Cardinal fans even though we are transplanted Californians. When we went to see the Eagles perform at Busch Stadium, they referred to it as “The house that Albert built.” You could tell from the cheers and applause how much pride there was in the audience. We wonder how those people feel now.

Albert Pujols has had a great run in St. Louis. How many players can say that they have been to the World Series three times and won twice. Once upon a time, Al said it was all about the rings. He wanted to be a part of a winning team. Yes, Albert has been a crucial component of the team’s success, but it took the talents of the entire team, staff and even the fans, to realize those amazing achievements over the past few years.

Today, however, Albert decided that the money was more important than being a part of an incredible team. It makes us sad. Not because we are huge sports fans, but because money won out over loyalty to the team and the fans that helped to create the legend.

We heard one person remark that he could easily have made up the difference in salary with endorsements, and that his charity would have, perhaps, done even better if he had chosen to stay here. We’ll never know.

So, what value do we as a culture place on loyalty? On being a part of something that is bigger than ourselves?

The argument is, perhaps, that Albert does a great deal of good with the money he earns. The more he earns, the more good he can do. Yet, we have to wonder, what message does this send to people of all ages?

Perhaps we are all wrong. Maybe $40 million over 10 years is reason enough to leave. Perhaps we are crazy to think that he owes any loyalty to anyone. Maybe he really did it all on his own and should sell his loyalty to the highest bidder. Maybe, but we don’t think so.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers. We don’t even have all the questions. What are your thoughts?

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