One of my favorite parts of being in management is that you're exposed to so many different people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, and different mindsets. In e-commerce especially, I feel as though I've been exposed to people that I had never been exposed to growing up in Austria or going to college. E-commerce requires everything from the seasoned executive to the energetic entrepreneur, to the warehouse laborer and everything in between. It's a great mixing pot and one of the many reasons I love it so much. Ever so often though something comes up in the lives of employees that just knocks the air out of me when I hear about it, it breaks my heart for them and I am in a position to witness their emotional response … [Read more...] about Count Your Blessings
There was a conflict last month that prevented me from having this meeting, and therefore this post, but I'm back again with the latest round of leadership thoughts. To get the full context of this series start at #1. Never complain. This is just a good life practice regardless of what position you're in. People that complain are seen as lazy, negative, and are generally not people that others want to be around. In a leadership role, this is exacerbated. If you complain about something, then what do you expect your team to do? You can kill morale in no time by allowing this to go on. While you may have the normal human urge to complain about things on occasion, it's vitally important to avoid this. You're not bonding with your team by … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #4
Earlier this year I shared some accolades and attention our company received from various sources. We haven't slowed down so I thought I'd share the latest! We are number 40 on the Inc. 500! This one is obviously huge and has gotten us lots of attention. Our 5,907% growth rate over the last three years has not gone unnoticed. The Inc. 5000 ranks the fastest growing privately held companies in the country. It's the first award we received on a national level. Fortune Magazine named us the 5th best small to mid-sized retailer to work for in the country! This is an amazing honor and we're extremely proud of it. It's based on internal anonymous surveys and was done in partnership with Great Places to … [Read more...] about Company Bragging – Round 2
Back again with 3 talking points from my monthly leadership meetings. To start at the beginning and get the full context click here. Manage to trends, not incidents. I mean this in reference to negative performance, not positive. Instances of positive performance should be celebrated shamelessly. Unfortunately, for many managers the easy route is to catch people making mistakes, and then instantly trying to correct it. Or maybe an offense occurs, and then the manager overreacts by reprimanding the employee or wrapping a new rule around it. There are several issues with this approach: You are generally responding emotionally, which means you'll probably mishandle the situation. You are making management decisions based on … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #3
This is the second month where I'll cover some leadership principles that are good to keep in mind and discuss on a regular basis. For the full context and the first post in this series click here. We discussed these points at my office and I hope you can benefit from them too! Catch employees doing something right. This one is pretty cliche but it's also true. It's very easy to only step in when things went wrong and correction is needed, but it's much harder to point out the good things people are doing on a general basis. Pointing these things out not only encourages the behavior to continue, but it also shows the employee that you're paying attention and are appreciative of the work they are putting in. Being unnoticed and … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #2
It recently occurred to me that although we have a leader of some sort working on making every department better in our company, we have no one explicitly working on making those leaders better. At first I shrugged it off because I couldn't imagine the hubris of someone who is instructing others on leadership that was not near retirement age with many battle scars to show for it, or maybe some amazingly accomplished wunderkind with a billion dollar company, but then I recalled that the abuse does not take away from the use, and that even if I'm a youngish leader that still has a ton to learn, we could all benefit from talking about the ideals of good leadership. Plus, I read like 2-3 leadership books a month and my wife is tired of hearing … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #1
It's been an exciting few months here at JM Bullion! We've accomplished a few notable things, so I wanted to take a minute to brag on the company a bit in this brief post. JM Bullion was awarded bronze for the Customer Service Department of the Year Stevie Award! This award was in recognition of the monstrous growth the department has been able to absorb in the last year. All the while virtually every metric has been substantially improved during this growth period. Pretty exciting stuff! JM Bullion is certified as a Great Place to Work! After surveying the whole company we had excellent ratings which allowed us to be certified. We're in the running for the national ranking as well but that does not get … [Read more...] about Company Bragging
Abusus Non Tollit Usum - latin for "The abuse doesn't take away from the use", was an eye opening phrase I learned from my father while taking one of his history courses in college. As an American living in Austria during the Iraq war I spent a lot of time trying to defend the basic goodness of the idea of America, and as a Catholic living in one of the most atheist countries in the world I also spent a lot of time defending my religion at the pub. So when I first heard this phrase it was at a time where it suddenly neatly packaged many of my arguments and feelings into one tidy sentence. That doesn't happen often! So from that time on this phrase became on of the mantras in my life. In this post I won't be trying to defend countries or … [Read more...] about Abusus Non Tollit Usum – What Information Are You Willfully Ignoring?
I was recently promoted from Director of Ecommerce to Vice President of Operations, which has been very exciting for me. Along with that promotion though came 2 more departments with sophisticated tasks that I had no clue about. So you could say I'm busy! There's a lot to learn and I'm still responsible for the various departments I was already heading up, so any down time I had left or time spent ineffectively needs to be flushed out if I want to still be able to see my son at the end of the day before he goes to bed. So with that in mind I thought I'd take an inventory of all the books I've read that have actually produced a lasting memory that cover time management. It's funny because I used to read so many more of these time management … [Read more...] about What Are The Best Time Management Books?
For the first time since my sophomore year in college (so roughly 15 years), I don't currently have some side business going on. It's a bizarre feeling to come home and have to think about what I'm going to do at night once my son is in bed. It used to be a given that I'd go to work on some component of whatever scheme I was working on. The most recent project I've decided to step away from is SupplierPartner.com. It's currently for sale and on auto pilot, so soon it'll be official. This was a tough decision but there are two main factors that led me to decide to do this. The potential at my current job far exceeds any opportunities I've been exposed to in the past. I came across the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of … [Read more...] about Are Side Projects Productive?