This weekend, I took my daughter to our family place in Montana. She had not been there in three years and I had promised to take her over the summer, but the work got too crazy. So we settled for a long weekend and a little hooky from school.
We had a wonderful weekend. One of my favorite memories is when we took a little boat to go fishing out on the lake. We were at the mouth of a creek and the water began boiling with jumping Kokanee salmon. My daughter was excited and grabbed the one fishing rod we had and started casting and reeling. “Now I have a real fish story to tell,” she exclaimed. And it was a sight to behold and under any other condition, I would have been reaching for the rod myself, or at the very least fussing that I had not brought another one out, as well.
But, I actually enjoyed the not fishing. I actually enjoyed, teaching my daughter how to make a good cast, how to jig, how to make sure she cleaned off the seaweed “salad” she’d invariably hook in to. We did not catch any fish that morning, but I did catch the satisfaction and gratitude of sharing an experience with my daughter.
Business is often all about doing, and doing invariably means personal achievement. And it is true, we are measured and rewarded by our accomplishments. What I hope we don’t forget is that sometimes our accomplishments are best defined when we don’t do anything but let someone else give it a try. Not only do we grow as an organization because then someone else knows how to get something done, but you grow as a person.
And that’s a reward all to itself.
Mark W says
What a refreshing story! Thanks for sharing a priceless personal experience. Its easy to get caught-up in our hectic lives, corporate world, but I have found that trying to stay “right here, right now” has re-established a very nice balance in my life.
Mike Wise says
Fishing always ‘sounds fun’ but I don’t think I’ve ever actually caught a fish. Well maybe a couple I had to throw back – Sunfish or something. Now my nephew, every time he fishes he catches something. If you’re on facebook, see one here. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/photo.php?pid=44793835&id=9131004&ref=fbx_album
The question then becomes, share a story when you did the same thing at the office, especially a story where you sacrificed personal achievement and the associated reward for the benefit of someone else. It’s hard to do, and even harder to tell about it. In today’s US business culture, it seems almost counter-intuitive to let someone else get the glory (and the money) for something you could do, perhaps even better and faster, don’t you think? Do you have a story like that to share, Doug?
As CEO, I am often the one not fishing and rely on the efforts of our great people. One of the toughest tasks in this regard is when the sales manager goes on a call with a producer and needs to fight the urge to “save the sale” by jumping in and taking over the call. You might win, but you also lose the opportunity for the producer to learn from a lost opportunity (not to mention that you enable the producer to continue suboptimal behavior). One of our leaders, Paul Tyer, did a great job letting one of his producers fish on a large case. The producer faltered and we did not win the deal, but it gave Paul e opportunity to coach the producer on how to improve the situation. Next time, the odds will be more in at producer’s favor because of it.