The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Saturday, September 01, 2012
Volume 18 | # 415
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"Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated." » Russell Warren

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Hit Me with Your Best Shot

I think I could be forgiven for forgetting which decade we were living in last weekend.

On Friday night, my family and I were making ourselves hoarse at a Loverboy, Pat Benatar, and Journey concert.

Within 24 hours, we were watching Roger Clemens pitch for our hometown Sugar Land Skeeters.

How odd is it that a 50-year-old pitcher was the youngest guy we were cheering for that weekend? (The 17-year-old-looking new lead singer of Journey doesn’t count.)

It’s possible that the fact I had more hours behind the wheel of a car than hours of sleep that week made me a bit more reflective than usual. As much as I enjoyed the shows and appreciated the talents of all, I found myself motivated by seeing folks who seem to really appreciate that they are still getting to do what they’re doing for a living.

And sure, a cynic could say, “Well, why would folks being paid a lot of money and having thousands of people cheer for them NOT enjoy that?” Fair enough.

But I’d argue that if you look around, many don’t. And I’m not just talking about athletes or musicians or celebrities.

I’m talking about folks who have pretty good jobs- in and out of the spotlight.

Heck, I’m even talking about folks who may not have jobs they truly love right now but at least have one that is paying their bills.

Many, if not most, of us tend to do adopt one of two unhealthy mindsets about our jobs over time. We knowingly or not come to take them for granted, or blame them for any discontentment we may have.

Some folks seem to operate under the assumption that whatever job they have is guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights. Insert your own DMV or TSA joke here.

Others seem to convince themselves that if it weren’t for the time, attention, and effort their jobs require, they’d have time to really enjoy life.

We tend to forget that the only reason most of us can actually take time now and then to enjoy life and/or provide for those most important to us is because of those time-draining, energy-sapping, sometimes stress-inducing things we call jobs.

No, our jobs aren’t the most important things in our lives. But they help us take care of the things that are.

Let’s remember that now and then when we find ourselves “Working for the Weekend.”

(Sorry, that one was too easy.)
 

We Just Can't Be Certain

We Just Can't Be Certain

The book I’m currently reading is entitled “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite,” by David D. Salvo. Various researchers’ works cited in it had me smiling.

He suggests that “uncertainty” is one of the most uncomfortable feelings our brains experience.

This causes us to often have a driving desire for certainty, which frequently leads to less-than-optimal actions… or inaction.

Being asked to modify our job routines even slightly can be disconcerting. Most of us spend the majority of our awakened hours at our jobs. Changing how we conduct those jobs takes us out of our comfort zones.

As a result, we reflexively fight these changes, both openly and covertly.

In presentations, I try to make the simple point to folks that no one today really doubts that the way customers perceive and interact with banks is evolving. Nor can we argue that non-banks (who play by different rules) are more and more able to offer alternative products and services to ours.

This greatly increases the speed and variety of challenges to our long-standing status quo.

It can be disconcerting. However, I’d suggest that if our routines aren’t being adjusted from time to time, we are certain to become irrelevant.

And that’s a certainty few will find comfort in.

Change for the sake of change isn’t very smart. Reflexively fighting any change asked of us may be even less so.

Not all new ideas and strategies are winners. But few can survive intentional or unintentional sabotage when in their initial implementation stages.

I almost always hear a few laughs (and groans) from groups when I marvel at how hard some folks will work to show you that the new thing you ask them to do won’t work. They hear the idea, realize it is not something they currently do, and are apparently driven to prove it wrong.

Sometimes, they’ll tell you they have doubts. Often, they’ll simply go off and semi-intentionally (yes, I made that term up) fail.  If a new idea is 90% right, they’ll use the 10% that isn’t to justify fighting it.

The thing is that we seldom get new ideas 100% right. Smart managers realize that tomorrow’s winning tactics are today’s imperfect ideas. And we can never be certain if an idea will work until we give it a legitimate try and our best efforts.

Success isn’t always certain. And neither are we.

And that’s okay.
 


"Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune." » Jim Rohn

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Dave Martin has become one of the most prolific writers in the banking industry. His columns and newsletters are read in thousands of financial institutions each month. His keynote presentations, seminars, and podcasts have an authenticity and humor that brings teams of all sizes and seniority levels together.

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