Uncategorized

closeup of fly on branch

Mid Week Perspective: The Fly Problem

Sarah had our pest control agent to the house the other day. Our house passed its monthly checkup, although there had been a small problem with flies in the boys’ shared bathroom back in September and October. Thanks to cold Chicago temperatures, the problem is resolved for now, but we are still curious how 2-3 flies were randomly showing up in their bathroom.

During the previous visit, the agent feverishly checked the outside of the home to see if there were any way that flies were getting in. She was puzzled because she did not find any. In between visits, however, she had a revelation: What if the boys were leaving urine on the toilet seat, or worse, leaving small amounts on the floor when they “missed?”

When Sarah told me this, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this WAS happening because that is what fathers do — especially ones tired from twelve-hour days; and also, because I know that Ben (6) has the accuracy of my favorite football team’s quarterback when it comes to this endeavor.

Kidding aside, I also know something about manufacturing: Pee attracts flies.

Leaders, we cannot be surprised when flies have gathered around the messes in our organization. In fact, when we notice that messes exist, the best thing we can do is mop them up. You don’t need a new policy, high paid consultant, or even new procedure to do this.

You just have to do it.

The pest visit led to our son, Ben (6), getting on his hands and knees to ensure that he had not missed anything in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Will (8) had his feet up watching Monday Night Football…

I guess that is another “management blog” for another time…

Please subscribe to Bald in Business so that I can send encouragement directly into your mailbox!

young person touching a globe

Mid-Week Perspective: Mindset

The Mid-Week Perspective post is an “almost weekly” post that comments on the world and all that is in it. All opinions are my own.

This past weekend, our church wrapped up a fascinating series on how Biblical Christianity and Science are not at odds with one another. The series, entitled “All Creation Sings” can be found clicking here.

Like any good sermon series, this series motivated me to reflect on the topic we were studying. Why have I been so hesitant to study science as an adult, I wondered?

The answer is humbling to admit publicly: If I am honest with myself, it goes back to a bad grade (“needs improvement”) that I received in second-grade science. Couple this with an experience in Honors Biology, and Honors Chemistry, in High School, and my lack of success in these classes created a negative narrative around a subject that I find interesting. Like a scarlet letter, I have carried this false belief with me ever since.

Here is this week’s thought: Don’t allow a one-time negative experience define your many future experiences.

I used to do this with Science. But, in large part due to this four-week sermon series, that is no longer the case.

In fact, I am already reading a science book.

What is something, with a changed mindset, you can do?

The answer might change your 2020.

Please subscribe to Bald in Business so that I can send encouragement directly into your mailbox!

old books on shelf

Book Club Tuesday – The Ride of A Lifetime

Welcome to a new recurring #baldinbusiness feature called Book Club Tuesday. Each week I will spotlight one book, and have a little fun in the process.

Book: The Ride of A Lifetime

Author: Robert Iger

Length: 272 pages / 8 hours and 45 minutes via Audible

Why I chose to read it: Growing up in the 1980s, Disney has always fascinated me. I can remember Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, standing in front of the iconic castle introducing the Disney program that I was about to watch on T.V. I remember going to Disney World several times, including once in seventh-grade with my parents and all four grandparents (their last major trip together). Disney always brings many happy memories to mind. Thus, my fascination put this book in the “must read” category.

My Takeaways (3 or less): Despite what people in non-leadership positions might think, leadership is overwhelming. I chuckled one morning driving to work –I was in the midst of a crazy week where 5 a.m. workouts were followed by work responsibilities until 6:00 P.M., then followed by my “real” job at home –when Iger shared the day Disney announced one of their many acquisitions and his day went from 3 a.m. until 10 p.m. I still have room to grow, I thought. Duh. As Iger’s work-life demonstrates, you never “arrive.” His relentless pursuit of “better” stands out. Although, my world-view might guide me to make different decisions than he did in terms of moves, ladder-climbing, etc. Please hear that as a difference and not a criticism. I am inspired by, and definitely respectful of, his tireless work-ethic.

Here is a quote from the book that I have been pondering this week: “But those instances in which you find yourself hoping something will work, that’s when a little bell should go off and you should walk yourself through some clarifying questions: What’s the problem I need to solve? Does the solution make sense? If I am feeling some doubt, why? Am I doing this for sound reasons, or am I motivated by something personal?”

Finally, Iger’s willingness to talk about how he deals with terminations is practical, humane, and helpful.

What does this book motivate me to DO? Work harder, believe in bigger and better, and utilize a white-board to determine where Hoffer Plastics needs to go next (note: I didn’t need this book to do any of these things, but it inspired me. Leaders: It is up to us to fill our tanks. This book was a tank-filler for me).

Who should read this book? Business-minded fans of Disney, Pixar, Lucas films, and ESPN! Critics would also find something in this book.

I would sum my rating of the book as…Inspirational

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, learning from others who went before you, you are functionally illiterate. You can’t coach, and you can’t lead.” Jim Mattis

Special note: I am taking next week off. The next Book Club will be November 26.

black and white historical photo of hoffer plastics

#TheWeekly

#TheWeekly is an almost weekly review post that models weekly reflection. To be someone worth following, you need to reflect and learn. You also need to be thankful for what you have. #TheWeekly aims to do these things. My hope is that this post inspires you to reflect on YOUR week. Feel free to use the questions below to do so.

I had just sat down at my desk after lunch yesterday when my phone rang. “Sarah,” was who was calling. “That’s my real boss,” I told Tammy. She laughed as she was leaving, and I took the call.

“Everything is fine, and we are alright,” began Sarah, “but Sadie and I were just in an accident –well, a hit and run.”

Time stood still.

A hit and run?

Everyone is okay?

I’m a guy, so my immediate reaction was a combination of anger, blame, and protection for the most precious pieces of cargo in the entire world.

But then, like a clearing of the clouds on a dark and dreary winter day, came the amazing light of thankfulness.

I know this might sound crazy to some, but I pray often for Sarah’s protection driving up and down Randall Road. It can, after all, be like the wild west.

God protected.

Amen.

The damage? Who cares!

The life?

It doesn’t get better than life with Sarah.

In a strange way this event was a reminder that I married well, my daughter has me wrapped around her fingers, and that I need to buy a shotgun before she begins dating.

Okay, maybe the latter is just comedic relief.

Dear God: May the person that did the hit and run come to know the Lord, and come to find the only hope that does not disappoint in the end. We forgive them. No grudges. We have been given much, and can pay the price. But, help this person come to live in the light, and abide by the consequences of their actions. We pray for their safety, and that of others, that their driving becomes less erratic, and safer. If they are running from something, we pray that they eventually run home to Jesus. Amen.

90 minutes after this incident, I was sitting back after driving to the accident site to make sure Sarah was okay. She lectured me that I didn’t need to come, but I wasn’t going to start listening to her at this moment…

Life went on.

Praise the Lord, life went on!

I love you Sarah.

More than words can describe.

I love you.

young person touching a globe

Mid-Week Perspective

The Mid-Week Perspective post is an “almost weekly” post that comments on the world and all that is in it. All opinions are my own.

As I got out of my car Monday morning at Starbucks, I noticed a crumpled-up water bottle and aluminum can in the parking lot. Before walking by them, as is my natural habit unfortunately —I did not put it there after all —I bent down, picked them up, and threw them away.

The plastic waste issue is real. It is sad. It is something we have to stop talking and arguing about, and actually do something.

Picking up one piece of plastic is not going to resolve anything.

But what if we all did?

What if we stopped littering in the first place?

Again, this would not solve the problem. But wouldn’t it be an incredible change?

There is so much to say on this topic, and I have written an Op-Ed that will begin appearing next month, so more to come on my thoughts.

But for now, do something.

Imagine if the critics spent equal amounts of time doing, as they already do criticizing. Wouldn’t we be better off?

I cannot control them, so I’m spending this day strategizing with our team on how we are going to make spouted pouches more environmentally friendly. We have many ideas. And we are going to do something big.

We are all-in on this pursuit.

It is that important to us.

Please subscribe to Bald in Business so that I can send encouragement directly into your mailbox!

black and white historical photo of hoffer plastics

#TheWeekly

#TheWeekly is an almost weekly review post that models weekly reflection. To be someone worth following, you need to reflect and learn. You also need to be thankful for what you have. #TheWeekly aims to do these things. My hope is that this post inspires you to reflect on YOUR week. Feel free to use the questions below to do so.

What did I do well this week? (I will always start here because I can list 90 things I felt I did wrong this week, and every week!). The book I began this week (The Ride of A Lifetime, by Robert Iger) makes the point that leaders need to have uncomfortable conversations regularly. While I am not going to go into details about the conversation I had, I am noting it as what I did well this week because it is not easy to do.

What did I learn this week? I’ve had one of those weeks where there is not enough hours in the day. Between planning for strategy meetings next week, upcoming travel, and various meetings, I have thrived only through the use of the Full Focus planner. Writing down what is most important keeps me headed in the direction that I intend to go.

What am I going to do with what I learned? Prior to writing this post, I spent 20 minutes planning next week out, and leaving some room to flex. Not only does this prepare me for next week, it also helps me “relax” more over the weekend. For, I know what I need to do when the clock strikes 4:50 a.m. Monday.

What is something positive I can share about the world? Apple TV + launches for $4.99 per month today. I don’t know if I am signing up today, but I eventually will. It snowed in Chicago yesterday, so golf season is over and “cuddling up with Sarah to watch T.V. season” is upon us. I’m also interested in Apple TV + because of this statement from Thursday’s Wall Street Journal: “The focus—combined with an aversion to over-the-top gratuitous sex, violence and language—has led some Hollywood creators to question if Apple TV+ will be as risqué as Netflix, FX or HBO, whose programs often embrace the underbelly of culture and society.” We shall see, but I am rooting for more family-friendly entertainment options.

What is a confession or embarrassing admission? I confess that I have had a lot of fear around our kids’ health after our good friends’ daughter was diagnosed with a severe brain tumor. Their story is not about me, but it has brought to the surface some long-held deep fears. I also confess that their story has me more emotional than normal. I’m praying for a miracle daily.

What did I notice, or love, or find funny about Parenthood? The other night Ben (5) prayed the following at dinner: “And God…change Sadie’s attitude, amen.” Can’t you relate? “Dear God, please change so and so and not me!” It just doesn’t work that way…The other shareable Ben story is that Sarah brought home a “Chinese Food Take-Out” costume from the dollar store because Sadie was playing with it. When Ben got home from school Thursday he put it on and started walking around the house shouting “Chinese Take-OVER.” The importance of words!

What do I appreciate about Sarah? Last weekend we were without power in northern California at a wedding. This involved cold showers, a cold room, and walking around the hotel in the dark. Yet, Sarah’s attitude was incredible! No complaints, even when she had to do her hair without a hair dryer, and in the dark –a feet much easier for me! And of course, she looked sensational!

Anything to add to #Baldinbusiness subscribers? A note to northern #BIB subscribers. We cannot control the weather, so let’s not complain about it. I have seen this pop up at our office in the last twenty-four hours. On one-hand, it isn’t that big of a deal. But, don’t small complaints bread more? Let’s be thankful instead. All of California would LOVE snow right now because they need the moisture. So, let’s have some perspective this winter (and let’s visit all our friends down South!).

black and white historical photo of hoffer plastics

#TheWeekly

#TheWeekly is an almost weekly review post that models weekly reflection. To be someone worth following, you need to reflect and learn. You also need to be thankful for what you have. #TheWeekly aims to do these things.

What did I do well this week? I spent Wednesday this week visiting my executive coach in Nashville. John helped me identify the things that fill my tank at work. They are building relationships with customers and partners, building relationships with Hoffer Plastics team members (development), and any activity associated with our proprietary product line for spouted pouches. Of course, there are many other aspects of my job outside this, but this practice helped me identify my work “bucket-fillers.” As I have written before, no body else is going to fill your bucket, so you need to be sure of what fills it. Burnout, after all, is a real thing.

What did I learn this week? Speaking of burnout, John and I spent time talking about burnout during our time together. Signs of burnout for me range from getting short with the kids after work –when they are just being kids!–to getting annoyed with team members for asking legitimate questions. When I start behaving in a hurried, annoyed, and even cynical state, I need to do a self-check to see if the problem is really me. Perhaps, my tank needs to be refilled. Obviously, burnout goes much deeper than this. I share, however, because I suspect these are the early signs to the all-encompassing “I am going to quit my job” kind. Drastic action might seem all-of-the-sudden, but usually there are many signposts along the way.

What am I going to do with what I learned? As strange as this might sound, I have been practicing what Dallas Willard calls, “ruthlessly eliminating hurry from (my) life.” I don’t believe in random occurrences –I know, I am strange –so it was amazing finding myself at Ramsey Solutions Wednesday morning in time to hear John Ortberg, Dallas Willard’s friend, talk exactly about this practice! For me, this is as simple as stopping what I am doing. Sitting. Thinking. Praying. And then resuming. You can’t react your way to sustained positive outcomes. That can only be done through intentional action.

What is something positive I can share about the world? There is so much good, especially everything I experienced Wednesday, as well as some fun conversations I had on Thursday. But, what comes to mind with this question is the weeping my heart is doing for friends that have been thrown a curve-ball this week that is the number one fear of every parent. Their little angel is sick, very sick. Please pray for Lydia.

What is a confession or embarrassing admission? I have been too willing to have the extra bite of food, and extra sip of wine lately. This isn’t a major problem, but I don’t want gluttony to become one. Self-control muscles need some work…

What did I notice, or love, or find funny about Parenthood? We have had some struggles with Ben this week discipline wise. Given what I wrote above, I am not going to make that big of a deal about this. It is just to say that parenting is a full-contact sport.

What do I appreciate about Sarah? Sarah texted me a little while ago about the research she had done on parenting a five-year-old that is having “control” issues. She is the ultimate “student of the game” and there is no one I would rather parent with.

Anything to add to #Baldinbusiness subscribers? Please hug your loved ones this week. Please pray for Lydia. Please pray that God works one more miracle.

#Theweekly is taking a one week hiatus as my schedule most likely won’t allow for this post next week. It will return on October 25.

black and white historical photo of hoffer plastics

#TheWeekly

#TheWeekly is an almost weekly review post that models weekly reflection. To be someone worth following, you need to reflect and learn. You also need to be thankful for what you have. #TheWeekly aims to do these things.

What did I do well this week? (I will always start here because I can list 90 things I felt I did wrong this week, and every week!). On Thursday I spoke about Leadership at the MAPP Conference in Indianapolis. So, anytime I get in front of an audience and speak I did something well by SHOWING UP. I’m always a little nervous, even a little insecure, so this takes guts.

What did I learn this week? Breakups are hard. I’m a Joe Maddon apologist, but maybe it was time for him to split with the Chicago Cubs? I don’t know. What I learned from that situation is the following: The Cubs would have been better making the move last year if he was never coming back. While I cannot definitively prove this, I suspect that the lack of certainty played some role in their inability to find any consistency this year. Leaders: Our team-members cannot perform at their best if they are always looking over their shoulder, or wondering if they are going to be back. Since March, EVERYONE associated with the Cubs wondered if Joe was going to be back. That is NOT healthy.

What am I going to do with what I learned? I don’t want our team members to be on one year contracts per se. Therefore, I am going to make things abundantly clear and give as much SECURITY as I can offer. I’ll repeat, I believe that with security comes people’s best. (Of course, there needs to be a balance because too much security can create complacency. But, “singing for your supper” every year is no way to live).

What is something positive I can share about the world? The Chicago Bears are 3-1. We had a few Minnesota Vikings fans to our tailgate Sunday. We laughed, did NOT talk any trash to each other, and had a good time. If only Congress could remember that the “other” side is human as well.

What is a confession or embarrassing admission? I hope that I don’t sound holier than thou with the #theothursday posts. This week I have felt like I am drifting a little in my spiritual walk. I’m self-centered too often. I am stubborn, meaning I want to do what I want to do. I also often think I have the right answer. I confess that all this is true about me, which is why I am entirely dependent on Jesus.

What did I notice, or love, or find funny about Parenthood? If there is anything better than your three kids singing you happy birthday I haven’t found it.

What do I appreciate about Sarah? Sarah made some homemade Oatmeal cookies this week that made me feel like Jesus had just turned the water into wine all over again. Holy cow (like drunk Harry Caray HOLY COW – just having fun!). They were incredible. And in that moment of weakness, I would have bought Sarah anything she wanted under the sun. Besides her amazing cooking, I simply appreciate how special she can make me feel on my birthday week. I’m looking forward to a great date night on Saturday.

Anything to add to #Baldinbusiness subscribers? I have heard too many bad stories about marriage lately. Make sure you tell, and show, your spouse how much you love them. And single people, you are not alone. Come hang at our house if you are in the area! I’m not forgetting about you, I just don’t want to see marriages keep crumbling.

black and white historical photo of hoffer plastics

#TheWeekly

#TheWeekly is an almost weekly review post that models weekly reflection. To be someone worth following, you need to reflect and learn. You also need to be thankful for what you have. #TheWeekly aims to do these things.

What did I do well this week? (I will always start here because I can list 90 things I felt I did wrong this week, and every week!). I gave one of our team members DIRECT encouragement by going into their office, sitting down, looking them in the eye, and telling them how they have been doing an amazing job managing a tough market. This is always uncomfortable, but I am proud that I did this.

What did I learn this week? Sarah told me how great of a communicator Ben is compared to Will (when he was 5) in terms of “what happened at school.” Then she went on Facebook and saw him sitting next to a Fireman that came in that day. Ben’s face said it was the highlight of the day. We had not heard about it. After we finished laughing, I realized that this is the reality of communication. You simply cannot share everything, all the time. My application, communicate MORE, give grace MORE.

What am I going to do with what I learned? Remind team-members to communicate, but still give grace when they are not perfect. Don’t let good enough be the enemy to great!

What is something positive I can share about the world? My favorite Barista at Starbucks and I had an amazing cordial conversation as always Monday at 7 a.m. While this isn’t newsworthy, it is apparent that we are on VASTLY different ends of the political spectrum. And despite this, we can be kind to each other. Always. Gee, there is a thought!

What is a confession or embarrassing admission? I am thinking too much about material things like cars lately. I think the root cause has to do with some silly idea that “I deserve THAT” for all the time I am putting into work etc. Ugh, embarrassing to admit.

What did I notice, or love, or find funny about Parenthood? I noticed that the Boys find things to do (play) when we tell them to turn the screens off. A golf buddy recently gave me some advice on video games, so I have been paying attention to this. We don’t have them in our house (yet), and I think I can buy more time before having to. They’re playing legos as I type this sentence…

What do I appreciate about Sarah? We are doing a neighborhood series at Church. This motivated Sarah to go buy flowers for a neighbor that just lost their dog. Her kindness, and thoughtfulness, always challenges me.

Anything to add to #Baldinbusiness subscribers? The old adage, “whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right,” is a good thought this week. I appreciate all the new subscribers to the blog. I do have a “day job,” so knowing these posts go out automatically to more people is encouraging. Check out Monday’s post as to why I write this blog in the first place. To that end, you matter more than you think to more than you think! That includes me.