Over and over.

I when I arise it is off to the gym straight away for my Monday morning chest workout.  I workout with Pat and enjoy him very much.  He’s full of energy and enthusiasm and I appreciate that a lot.  I not sure how hard I worked today but think I’ll feel something tomorrow.  It’s going on 10 years that I’ve been working out regularly now.  I’m glad that I do. I’m still seeing improvements.  After I leave the gym I come home and check on the status of the newsletter that I managed to write and send this weekend.  It’s now been delivered to almost 900 customer with only 11 people unsubscribing.  Those are pretty great odds and I think about how well we are are doing at the store and how I lead the team in a culture of constant improvement.  Not unlike my workouts, some days are better than others but each day is step forward.  I need Pat to help me succeed with my health goals, I also need my personal commitment.  This is perhaps what starts me thinking about improvement and team work.  I couldn’t do was well without Pat.  My businesses couldn’t do as well without our teams.

I meet with our Swerve Living business partners at the Second Cup shortly after noon and we share the various activities we are doing to move our project ahead.  The most significant thing that needs to be done now is to complete the other 17 presales we need.  I would love to sit down with any of you and talk about Swerve Living and how it might fit for you.  Email or call if you are at all curious.

While I’m up at that end of town in all of those androgynous strip malls, I stop at the hardware store and pick up lighting, and paint for the store.  It feels good to be loose in a hardware store, makes the testosterone whosh though my body.  Leslie M is going to continue to paint later this week .  We have a nice soft shade of caramel for the wall which will mostly feature art.

I have been thinking about collaboration today.  I wonder why it is so hard for people to work to create something together.  Overall we do a great job of collaborating at the store now — but we wrestle daily with it.   It would be so easy for us to fall into a command and control, hierarchical arrangement.  Many days it seems that the staff crave it, and if I’m not on my toes I can catch myself making decisions for them.  I know that I sometimes think how much easier it would be if someone would tell me what to do, especially with Swerve. Interestingly, we are all happy there, we do like coming to work.

In fact I’ve began to think that collaborating and being committed to improvement is the reason that the store had so many record months last year, why we are headed for a record month this February.  I invite a staff member to work with me today on changing some of the procedures and reports to create more time for working with customers and doing other important things in the shop.  In the course of the conversation she tells me that a certain report that she uses is printing portrait instead of landscape cutting off some columns that she needs, and that it has been printing that way for quite a while.  She tells me that it doesn’t have all of the information on it that she needs for her to work quickly.  It takes me 10 minutes to make the change to the report and to correct the way that it prints.

I begin to think about what things that I do in my life the same way over and over, working around something that is inadequate because I’m either afraid to confront the question about possible changes or because it seems easier to do it the way that I know than sorting out a new way.  I think about what it would be like if I took my challenges to the group and ask them to collaborate with me.  I’m going to look at some of the tasks that I have on my desk tomorrow and see if there are something that I can do differently.

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