Volume 16 Number 7 - July 3, 2018


I sit at Boston Logan airport, having just experienced a fabulous week in Rhode Island. I visited several area owners of manufacturing companies, plus invested several days with a small group of international colleagues.

Each of these colleagues is a noted expert in their field. Each has published at least one book and among us more than 30. My friend from the Netherlands presented an insightful Ted-X video with over 100,000 views. We are all keynote speakers. Each of us has more than 10 years' experience with our own consulting businesses; I and one other are entering the 29th year. Those credentials aside, two critical characteristics of this auspicious group stand out.

First, we are each committed to providing amazing value to our clients, without exception. And secondly, we are each committed to our own ongoing learning and growth.

During this gathering we worked on both. We stretched our thinking by developing non-conformist innovation ideas and predicting the source of seismic shifts in our markets. To maximize our learning, each had moments of vulnerability, without which we would have cheated ourselves.

You have an important role in your organization, and even more so in living your life to the fullest. You owe yourself experiencing the kind of environment I just described.

When is the last time you and a group of peers outside your company discussed tough issues together? When did you last contemplate sources of left-field competition that could disrupt your industry? When did you last push yourself for ideas to disrupt your industry, or others? When did you last envisage drastically improved value you can provide to the market? In a location where you could truly empty your mind of limiting thoughts?

When did you take time to further develop your personal strengths? To invest time in building relationships that are important to you? To simply think? To invest time in whatever is most important to you and your loved ones? In a place where relaxation is not an oxymoron.

Owners of small companies may join a TEC-type group with the intention of participating in important discussions with peers. Some join YPO or EO. If that is your source for creativity, rejuvenation, thinking, and peer conversations, ensure it provides the environment that supports your needs.

Be selfish. Martyrdom is not healthy. Expand your options where needed.

Executives of larger (>$100MM) manufacturers have fewer alternatives for this kind of safe, invigorating, and productive environment, but certainly no less need.

That is one of many reasons why manufacturing executives often choose to work with an advisor who they trust; someone to challenge thinking, to be honest, to identify and talk through options. And to potentially, when appropriate, connect them with a small group of peers to gain additional stimulation.

While in the corporate world, I made the mistake of focusing internally without recognizing that what was best for me was in most cases also best for the company.

Going it alone is not a sign of strength; in fact, it all too often limits your health, your growth, your contribution to those around you. And your enjoyment of life.

Stretch yourself! It's fun.

The Starting Pistol

Amelia Earhart:
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity."

The Tape

Rebecca Morgan:
"A decision is irrelevant if not implemented."

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