It hardly seems possible that 18 years have gone by since an old friend walked into my messy business and almost forcibly changed my life. Then, just last month, I received a different call from this same friend, Van Thompson, one of the founders of a now successful technology company based in Tennessee.
It seems both our lives AND our businesses are crossing paths once again. A wonderful beginning for a New Year!
In my “System Busters”
book, I relate how in 1993 I was pretty much at my wits end in my business—swamped by chaos and thinking to lock the mess inside and walk away—when my friend stopped by my old shop, forcefully interrupting my foul mood, and insisting I take a ride with him. Long story short, I went along grudgingly—pretty much kicking and screaming, “I don’t have time for this!!”
—not at all wanting to hear Van’s concerns about my life and the mess I’d made of my business. Really meaning to help, he had pretty much shoved a BOOK into my ungrateful hands that day, and then dropped me back at my shop.
After stubbornly managing to ignore the book for the next two weeks, I finally read it one night, and couldn't put it down. Suddenly, I sat straight up in bed, having had one of the biggest “Aha” moments of my life. I knew EXACTLY what it would take to fix my business!
All these years since, I’ve gone to great lengths to lobby the owners and managers of many businesses about the fruit of that “Aha” revelation—the knowledge we have gained about the power of well-designed business systems. Meanwhile, my friend Van had been so busy building one of the larger technology companies in America, he knew very little about that “fruit” that grew from the seeds he had helped plant back then.
So, I can’t tell you how excited I was to get Van’s call, recently, inviting me to share with him and his staff the details of the unique systems and software we have developed...to now help HIS company document and improve its processes.
Van has been a great friend over the years, and I owe him much. What a great opportunity to return the gift now—the gift of his friendship and his insistence that I take a deeper look at how I operated my business, and to see my business through the eyes of others. By bringing order to our business and staying the course, implementing systems has improved not only the quality of our products, but the quality of my life.
Eighteen years ago, a friend cared about me—and my business—enough to give me the gift of his time, thereby making all the difference in my professional and personal future. So now, if I “lobby” other company owners and managers, it’s because I want to “pay it forward,” so to speak—to be that
kind of a FRIEND to our industry, and to other companies that are struggling to operate leaner and even “greener” in these times.
I’m thankful to welcome our newest client, Griffin Technology
. And just in time for Thanksgiving!
Did I mention? Great systems work!