I Agree with Mark Cuban on This:

As many NBA fans have come to recognize over the years, Mark Cuban is a dynamic guy.  He’s  the animated, outspoken, and quick-to-hug-sweaty-players Mavericks owner.

Hugs.

People know he is a “self-made” business man with oodles of success.  Then came Shark Tank. You can catch it on ABC on Fridays to see all kinds of people present their small business to big-time investors for the chance to grow with financial backing and mentoring.  The prime time phenomenon is bringing families together in front of the television like days of yore.  I’m talking about the 90’s of course:

Of the things listed above, none are commonalities between Mark Cuban and myself.  Not to mention, there is a significant difference in accounting commas between Mark and me.

3 commas

Yet, we are both fans of the Mavs (he owns them, he’s a fan).  Then, I had the chance to listen to the an Entreleadship podcast with Dave Ramsey interviewing Cuban.  I realized we have more in common than basketball fandom.  The following 3 points from their conversation impressed me, challenged me, and made me pump my fist in the cab of my work truck somewhere in West Houston:

  • Businesses can start debt-free.  Once you take out that loan, you work for the bank, and not your customers.  No thanks.
  • The American Dream is not dead.  See SharkTank.
  • Finally, Mark and I agree on the career strategy called: follow your effort.

People are told to, “find what you’re passionate about, then do that.”  Or, “follow your passion,” then give your time and effort to that.  What in your life is requiring most of your effort?  There is a good chance where you are expending effort is what you will become good at (aka practice).  When you become good at it, you just might find your passion.

As millennials, I believe we were fed the “find what your passionate about” or “do what you love” line early and often.  We have followed this advice to an extent, and it has led us into situations where we receive criticism.  Such as, spending more than 4 years on a Bachelor’s or living with our parents while we “figure things out.”

If you feel stuck in any way, I encourage you to follow Mark’s advice.  Get going on something and if you find that it’s not your passion… that’s normal!  Put in the effort anyway.  Your effort just might lead to promotion, new opportunity, or even your passion!

Get after it GenY!  We are the future business leaders of America despite what others may say about us.

 

Not Laughable

Recently, I wrote a quick post about how it is good for millennials to laugh-off their frustrations with older co-workers.  I still stand behind that advise as it is can be helpful in handling the day-to-day of the business world.  There is one addendum to make, however.  It comes in light of comments made by older (dare I say elderly) people in politics and business.  Let’s face it – there is nothing laughable about recent statements made by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling.  Racism is not a laughing matter.

As milllenials enter the work place, they must be able to wade through the peripherals of work.  Gossip and inappropriateness exists at some level in all companies.  It is a fact of the professional world.  Whether you want to see or not, racism is still found among issues of unprofessional behavior.  But why does it still exist after Americans have done so much to increase awareness, protect victims, and expose offenders?  Well, I believe it is because people are still involved.  Sparing the theology of my point of view, I know we are all capable of doing wrong.  We choose wrong more often than we acknowledge.  Even me!  I have an example of my own to share.  Let’s level on this.

Last Friday, I was at a dinner party with my wife, friends, and acquaintances. My wife and I had our best friends and the hosts sitting next to us, but everyone else we had maybe met once before.  The conversation was great!  People were laughing and telling stories.  Then I, feeling the adrenaline rush from great community and fun conversation, said something not so cool.  It offended one of the guys at the table and he graciously told me as much.  I felt horrible immediately and was relieved when someone with more social awareness than me quickly changed the subject as the blood of embarrassment rushed to my face.  My comment was not racist.  It was not directed at him.  Yet, if I had been more aware of who was at the table, I would not have said what I did.

Back to the topic at hand – racism.  Are we all capable of it?  Yes.  Does that make it acceptable?  No.  In contrast to my dinner party snafu of words,  Bundy and Sterling were intentional with their comments which is even more unacceptable.  Plus, I don’t even know that they are embarrassed!

As clear as water, they chose the wrong things to say (even if it was meant to be a private conversation as in Sterling’s case).  Now, let’s make the waters murky and acknowledge that in this country they possess freedom to have opinions and voice them.  With such freedom, could and should, come consequences of legal and social weight.  Still, they are allowed to have an opinion.  I’m currently voicing my own.

Millienials are not immune to such opinions, but in general, we have been raised with parents and teachers who taught us to be tolerant.  We are to see people of other races and creeds in a lens of “they are no different than you or me.”  Man, this topic could get complicated real quickly.  So, I will attempt to keep it simple for today.  It seems where there is a generational gap, there may also be a gap in level of tolerance.  I’ve got no research to back that up, and I am sure there’s hundreds of examples that could prove me wrong.  However, I am confident enough to assert that views on race will differ from generation to generation based on the way they were “brought up.”  The status of higher education in America reinforces this.  Since young people of today are being taught tolerance, they are becoming more tolerant of racial differences.

Wow.  That last sentence sounds really great.  It is not a 100% truth, though.  It is more like a trend.  When people like Sterling and Bundy make racist statements, it goes against the trend and becomes a story.  I personally hope the trend of tolerance continues and becomes more and more true.  I choose to be optimistic.  I choose also to be realistic:  people are still involved.

Job Numero Dos

Now, onward to job numero dos – my current employer.

I broke down the basics of my previous employer in a retrospective fashion.  I will provide my perspective with my current employer out of my early observations (it has only been 6 months).  This is a great small business to work for as a newly-married man at age almost 27.  I am currently content with compensation, growth opportunities, work-life balance and industry factors.

I have become 1 cog of a 4 person office employing up to 7 plumbers and 2 contractors in the field.   My three coworkers are all roughly twice my age.  Though I am content with the current situation, to be honest, I am still figuring out this job.  Where do I fit?  What’s my future?  Do I see this as long term?  Not knowing fully the answers to these questions turns me to my faith a Loving God; thus, I find my contentment.

Here’s what I know so far:

  • The office environment hasn’t changed in years.  Turnover is low.  The work flow is steady.
  • The business relationships are deep and very professional – based in respect toward our results.
  • The business model is solid, tested, and (fingers-crossed) sustainable.
  • It is a service driven company.
  • Reputation and customer base has been built almost entirely by word-of-mouth.
  • There’s one real significant moment where the business reinvented itself.
  • Straight forward, uber-professional execution of quality work leads relationship building, but the relationships are still important.
  • Profit is a good thing because it keeps the doors open and families fed.
  • Business decisions here are well thought through and mistakes should not be made in haste.
  • Niche.  The hedgehog has been identified, nurtured, and polished.

Having covered the introductions on previous and current employers, we will be moving to topic posts in the future.  I’d like to start off in direction of covering the following: mentoring, organizational philosophy, simple lessons, business principles, and leadership styles. Don’t run off yet!  I won’t be approaching these as if you were in Business Class.  We’ll have slightly more fun than that.

Until then…