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Looking Ahead

2019 is less than a month away, and my last weekly blog will be in a few weeks, as I’ll be turning the reins over to my VP, Brad Roberson, who has 20 years in this business. I know Glass Doctor will be in great hands!

MK has already moved to Ann Arbor to lead another Neighborly company, Molly Maid. I’ll be taking on another role in Neighborly by working directly for our COO as the special projects director for more than 20 brands.

I went back to one of the first articles I wrote for glassBYTEs – March 25, 2013. These are a few excerpts from it that stuck out to me for this week:

Leadership: What Are You Overcoming?

As I think about “leadership” in our industry I ask you this question – “What are you overcoming?”

As I look back, I realize the only thing I ever needed to overcome was myself. My attitude, my pity parties, my inabilities to make the tough decisions – even though they were the right decisions. I needed to stop ignoring the red warning flags of hiring the wrong employee or, especially, not becoming a better manager.

What do you need to overcome? Is it that you have competition? Grab a phone book (it’s that yellow thing you use to keep the door open – the thing we used to use before Google) and check out “attorneys.” Think there’s competition there? Drive down the street and check out the restaurants. Think there’s much competition in that business?

Do you need to overcome your inability to find the right employees? I don’t know one business on the planet that serves people, and doesn’t cry out for good employees. It’s always their number one challenge regardless of the industry.

The challenge with leadership is that it’s an “every minute” thing. What you did yesterday counts, but what’s more important is what you will do with your challenges today. Good leaders understand there will be daily challenges.

Good leaders know inspiration means perspiration. Whatever you face in the next two weeks will, in most cases, be much easier than being run over by a truck! Continue being a leader in all you do!

Six years after writing that article I feel the same way. You should look back on what you needed to overcome this past year. I’ll bet you a dollar everyone who reads this had to overcome something in 2018 they could never have predicted would happen to them.

ADAS brings us different challenges, but we all had to find a way to overcome them, didn’t we?

Now is the time to set goals for 2019, decide where you’re headed, how many people you need to hire, what trucks you’ll replace, and which employees you’ll choose to “free up their future to work for someone else”.

Take a fresh look at your operation and ask yourself if it represents you the way you want it to. If it doesn’t, start working to change it. That’s what leaders choose to do.

Having Empathy

Thanksgiving evening MK and I were in Ann Arbor driving around looking for a place to have dinner, everything we own was in the moving truck somewhere between Waco and Ann Arbor. In the new house an Aero Bed served as our bed, it was the only place to sit, except for the two bathrooms and the remains from a pizza from the night before.

Nothing was open for dinner.

I asked Mary Kay to find “downtown” on Waze. We looked for the tallest buildings we could find. We saw one but soon realized it was the “big house,” the Michigan football stadium built in 1927 and holds 107,601 people. It’s the second largest stadium in the world but there aren’t any restaurants open around it.

We finally found downtown. Slowly we drove down the street–all I wanted was dinner, a glass of wine for MK and a place to watch some Thanksgiving Day football.

As we were heading back to the house, we saw an “open” sign at a sushi place – MK loves it. I saw a TV on, and since I love watching football on Thanksgiving, it was a match made in heaven.

We went in and found not only did they have the game on, but they served warm sake for MK and cold Miller Light for me. The place was virtually empty and there was free parking outside on the street because it was a holiday.

The Chicago Bears already beat the Detroit Lions. Yea for my son, Andy, who’s a huge Bears fan, but too bad for virtually every neighbor we’ll have in Ann Arbor.

MK and I were having a great adventure. Our waiter was a friendly young guy in his early 20’s who previously worked there and made his way back after a six month leave.

We love meeting people and learning about them. Our waiter told us his story and we found out he was adopted, wasn’t the best kid and has lived with his birth mom and birth dad but is back in Ann Arbor with his adoptive parents.

In the middle of it he dropped the bombshell.

Less than a year ago, his fiancée was murdered by someone they were trying to help. She was stabbed over 40 times. We both sat there in shock. How do you relate to anyone who has gone through this? What advice can you give?

I truly believe we go through challenges in our lives, to help others. People who we relate to in one way or another, but what does one say when you learn about something like this?

All we could offer was a prayer, encouragement to attend grief counseling, to not lose faith in others, and a nice “welcome back to work” tip. Let’s catapult back to our own lives. First, when you learn about something like this on Thanksgiving Day how do you ever feel sorry for yourself in whatever you are facing?  Secondly, do you think God gives us challenges so we can help others?

Let’s remember to try stepping out of our own lives and seek opportunities to touch others’ lives. We’ll be back to see how our new friend is faring. This was a Thanksgiving we’ll never forget.