New Town, New Chapter, New Lesson

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Moving Is Stressful!

In the last 2 months, my life has been turned on it’s head. No, not in a negative way, just in a “omg everything is happening all at once” sort of way.

  1. My wife, Sakura, got a new job.

  2. We moved from Denver, CO to Pierre, SD.

  3. We’re buying our first home!

  4. I’m still needed back in Denver and routinely make trips.

With all of this, there’s been a LOT of upheaval. In the span of 2 weeks, we went from happily renting in Denver to new job/moving/buying/heading to Pierre. We had to scramble to find roommates to replace us (we did – they are awesome). We had to pack up our lives and our pets. Then, we had to move and get settled in two day.

Sakura literally quit her job in Denver on a Friday and started her new one on Monday, 3 days later.

It was tough. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, or wasn’t stressful. And the new home is wrought with all sorts of TLC issues.

  1. It had a hole in the roof. I had to patch it within the first week because of rain.

  2. There’s no fence to keep the dog in. She runs around the neighborhood a lot!

  3. Lights are burned out, there are some spots of bad wiring, the toilet wasn’t sealed to the floor properly – the list goes on!

However, it’s home, and we’re happy. If everything stays on track, we’ll be closing on it this Friday!

Communication Makes the World Go Round

It’s been a lot to deal with in a very short time, but we’ve succeeded because of one thing: Communication.

Sakura and I started our relationship because of the way we communicate. Here are some ground rules we follow:

  • Start with Positive Intent. People are good and are trying to do their best!

  • Invite open curiosity and assume nothing. We all assume things, so just be clear on what YOU have assumed before you start guessing at what others have assumed.

  • Admit your faults, or when you’re wrong. Everyone messes up. Be sincere, take responsibility, and describe how you intend to change your behavior to prevent the communication problems next time.

  • Play to your strengths, but work together. Each person had different strengths. A bit of trust goes a long way in helping those strengths create something bigger than the individuals who made it.

Fencing = Teamwork

For the final takeaway, I noticed some things over the weekend as we were putting up fence. The fence that’s going in requires a lot of wooden posts, and everything needs to be dug by hand. I’ve set a LOT of posts in my day and I can probably put one up, solo, in 30 minutes. However, I have a business to run and a relationship to maintain, and getting the back yard fenced is just not going to happen in one day. Businesses ALSO have competing priorities, so let’s use this analogy.

Total Fence = Total Profit

Just as a business needs to make profit, I need that fence done. However, I can’t put that fence up instantly, and no business earns profit without work (or a trade-off in another area).

So Sakura agreed to help. She has never put a wooden fence post in the ground, but she’s eager and ready to work. After an hour, we still only put two posts in the ground. For anyone keeping track, that means:

  • Solo work – 1 post every 30 minutes

  • Teamwork – 1 post every 30 minutes

From this one metric, a lot of business managers would look at this and say, “Gee, that’s inefficient. Why pay two to do a job when I could pay one?” This is near-sighted and overlooks a lot of other factors.

  1. There was a lot of relationship built here. In business, that would translate to culture.

  2. These were Sakura’s first posts. If we spent time working on this every day, we could easily 2-10x our rate.

  3. If I was training Sakura to take over my work, it’s reasonable to expect her to meet or exceed my standard for post-setting rates.

  4. By working together, we built camaraderie, and I had enough energy to work on my business the next day.

In the future, this metric may look like:

  • Solo Work (Conrad) – 1 post every 30 minutes

  • Teamwork – 1 post every 7 minutes

In other words:

More Teamwork = More Fence

More Teamwork = More Profit

These gains are only possible in an organization (or relationship!) when communication is openly valued and each person gets to play to their strengths. Value your people, and they will add more value than you can possibly imagine.