Whenever someone says they want to “manage” something,
I cringe. I immediately ask myself, is there a better word? After all, words matter. The words we chose carry deep significance, not just because of their inherent meaning, but because they give insight into our actions. They cast light on our motivations.
So when people tell me they’re going to manage something (or even worse, manage-through something), I immediately try and discern whether they’re setting themselves up for failure.
After all, ownership breeds success. Management reeks of passivity.
You manage restaurants
To open a restaurant is to have embarked upon one of the most perilous business ventures known to mankind. Right up there with speculating on oil, mining for gold, and questing for the elusive treasure from an ancient shipwreck, establishing a restaurant is an endeavor in which the odds are firmly stacked against you.
Great restaurateurs know this. They practically live at their establishments in the early days. Micromanaging every dish, every service, every dining experience. Only after their restaurant is firmly established, profitable, and staffed with a seasoned team that can run a service in their sleep, does the owner dare handover the reigns to someone else — a manager.
Managers can be good. In fact, some managers are brilliant. But in my experience, the truly great ones act like owners. And that’s the ingredient that defines their success. They aren’t really managers, per se. They’re owners, pro tem.
You manage pain
With the death of Prince, it seems our society is finally taking action against the tragic (and astoundingly enormous) issue of prescription drug abuse.
The societal tragedy notwithstanding, managing pain doesn’t actually cure the underlying condition that gives rise to one’s discomfort. To manage pain is to alleviate unwanted symptoms. Like wearing a mask while ascending Hayes Hill during Bay to Breakers, to blanket one’s pain with prescription pharmaceuticals does little to advance the human condition. It does nothing to improve health.
We manage what we seemingly can’t fix — or what we decide isn’t being fixed fast enough.
You cure injury
Rehabilitation transforms injured athletes into healthy champions. Rehabilitation makes one stronger, more resilient, faster, better. It forges winners. It defines tenacity.
Rehabilitation requires work, sweat, exercise, pain. It provokes ownership. It implores one to take deep responsibility over a portion of the body, devoting hours to exercises, treatments, physical therapy, conditioning, and other healing endeavors.
You own problems
Have a nagging issue inside of your business? Own it.
To assign blame for a problem is to shirk responsibly. It disavows ownership. It’s as if you’re rearranging furniture on the decks of the Titanic.
Attributing blame is the equivalent of turning to prescription pharmaceuticals as a substitute for rehabilitation and self-improvement. Its primary function is to quell a painful annoyance. The allocation of blame retreats your organization from the very activities that will promote healing.
Own it. Fix it. If you can’t, delegate the matter to someone who can — so long as they take ownership.
If you manage through your problems, they’ll never go away. If you manage your core business responsibilities, you’re lucky if you can even maintain your competitive position. To manage today is to manage forever.
The greatest business leaders I have ever worked with — own it. And if circumstances dictate that there’s to much on their plate — they delegate.
They delegate to someone that takes ownership.
Own your destiny
There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t hear someone confuse their present condition with their long term destiny.
I marvel at the people I encounter who are exceedingly curious. I admire those who refuse to accept their present condition as either given or static.
For in my experience, we are entitled to nothing. On the flip side, few things are eternal. The good, the bad, it can all change in the blink of an eye.
We can strive to make tomorrow better, only as long as we accept ownership over the things we can change. To manage through anything is to quietly turn one’s head away from the brilliant sunrise that is their future.
Leave nothing to management. Own it.
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Americans are obsessed with weight loss.
Our culture is fixated on it. Everywhere you turn you see diet books, commercials for weight loss products. There are entire television series devoted to it. It seems like everyone at Trader Joe’s is infatuated with kale.
Even Weight Watchers can’t seem to go wrong. Call it the Oprah effect.read more
Because in the end, that’s all that really matters . . .read more
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A mere nine hours earlier, waves were crashing at a distance that would take a full 90 seconds to walk. To think that the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun are entirely responsible for these changes is astounding.read more
Everybody’s talking about it. It’s hot. And it’s only April. Mission Dolores Park was overrun with Millennials (and those who wish they were Millennials) escaping the suffocating heat of their rent-control apartments.
The beaches were packed. The screen on your iPhone was hot enough to cause second-degree burns. We just had two of (hopefully) ten nights this year when San Franciscans wish they had air conditioning. Almost no one does.read more
The other day, I was sitting in traffic trying to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. I needed to get to the North Bay to meet an important networking colleague and referral partner. It was a meeting that easily could have been a “catch up session” over the phone. But seeing as it was springtime, we aimed to meet at a favorite spot that has a fantastic reputation for sunny sidewalk seating, great Italian food, and rich espresso.read more
Where were you eight years ago? It would have been April, 2008.
The market was off a bit over 10%. Nothing to worry about. Just a correction.
Legal revenues were robust. Growing at a healthy 5% clip.
Then the world changed. In an instant.
Where were you? Sometimes it helps to look in the mirror . . .read more
Lot’s of news around Yahoo recently.
They’re up for sale. They’re not up for sale. Sell part of it. Sell all of it. An analyst hikes a target price. Another one downgrades. “Time wants to buy it!” “Verizon should buy it!”
The headlines surrounding Yahoo are as ferocious as ever. Some to the positive, some to the negative. The name has always been controversial.read more
What did you do this morning?
It’s a simple question. The answer, however, is loaded with all kinds of information about what you do for a living, whether you maintain work/life balance, and how seriously you take your health.
Over the years, I’ve had various morning routines that have empowered me to elevate my productivity during the “work day”. For those that are self-employed or run a business, the concept of a “work day” contains a lot of grey area. The phone rings, we answer.read more