"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Turning Poison into Medicine


Life is unpredictable. Good stuff happens, bad stuff happens. The key is how you handle the cards you are dealt; how effectively you respond, the depth of your resilience. If we see ourselves as bigger than the problem, then we manage. If we see the problem as bigger than us, then we stress out and agonize. Often, problems reveal our weaknesses to us and remind us of our vulnerabilities and we do not like that. 

We can choose to simply look at problems as difficult fact situations to be resolved as best as possible, as an opportunity to raise our game, improve our life management skills, get a grad degree in courage and patience. You can use any challenge to get mentally and emotionally stronger just as an athletic uses progressively heavier weights to get physically stronger, to build endurance.

Thinking of problems as training tools to build wisdom and endurance and to enlarge and enrich our life skills certainly requires us to recreate our mindset, yet there is no better way to “turn poison into medicine”.  “Change Your Mind, Change Your Life” remains forever more true; a new, solution-oriented mindset will empower you and energize you.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. - Nathan S. Collier

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The Most Important Person I’ve Ever Hired


I have a few folks that I mentor and I get interesting questions on occasion. This time it was “Who is the The Most Important Person I’ve Ever Hired?”

The first? I sometimes say that all you have to do is “hire one good person and let them hire the rest”. There is a gem of truth to that however, a person may be extremely competent in their field, pleasant  and of high character and yet still not be the world’s best judge of character or competence. A more evolved answer is create a good company culture and it will attract good people.

Another answer; EVERYONE is important, for it is truly a team effort and one bad apple unattended to can cause outsized issues. Yet another response is the LAST person or the NEXT person; every team is always growing and we live in a rapidly changing world and staying current is vital.

 Remember that your front line people, often some of the lower folks on your pay scale, have the greatest amount of customer contact. Food for thought! Training is vital, do not assume even the basics. We take our world view for granted and unconsciously believe everyone shares our basic values, in this case perhaps around customer service, or quality or productivity. Alignment and engagement between individual goals and your organization’s mission are crucial yet challenging to achieve and maintain.

“Hire fast, fire fast.” Hiring is like getting married after just a coupe of dates. You are making a long term, in depth commitment based upon extremely short acquaintance. You NEVER really know what a person is like until you live with them, until you work with them 8 to 10 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week. Mistakes happen, that’s life. The worst mistake is not owning up to a mistake.

Just like a tree or bush, every organization needs to be regularly pruned. Such a plain statement may offend some but it is still true none the less. One of my highest values is to treat people with respect. So I do not lightly say that I (to my knowledge) have never fired anyone too soon; multiple times I took too long. Indeed, on at least two occasions I can distinctly remember being told by the person involved some version of “what took you so long?” (i.e. they were not happy either) but for whatever reason, they hesitated as well. While in the short run it can be upsetting, frequently by releasing a person from a bad fit you are truly “freeing up their future” for them to find a calling that they do love, a job for which they are better suited. Counseling, mentoring and coaching often work and even re-assignment; I’ve seen people flourish in a new position or under different bosses. However I’ve also seen bad apples traded around, no easy answer other than try and see! Sometimes nothing seems to work, at which times a good boss owes it to everyone else in the organzation to take effective action, tolerating substandard performance is unfair to all others who are doing their jobs and sends a very dis-spiriting message.

Also, while we are ALL leaders, we are all on stage to someone, some positions have a bigger leadership componet than others. I would say the most important people I hire are 1) The Leaders 2) the folks who hire other folks!

Closing Quotes
“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.” – Henry David Thoreau, “Life without Principle“
“You’re only as good as the people you hire.” - Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder
“ When I meet successful people I ask to what they attribute their success to. It is usually the same: persistence, hard work and hiring good people.” - Kiana Tom
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” - Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of GE

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. - Nathan S. Collier

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Hoper’s v. Doer’s

make it happen

Some folks say “I hope it happens”. Well, what is “it”? And what has to happen in order for “it” to happen? And how can you impact that? Increase its probability? What is your plan to MAKE it happen? I’m all for optimism and I sincerely believe that hope for a better world is a wonderful thing but as far as what I WANT to happen, particularly in my personal life, I’m getting up every morning and MAKING it happen. 

A hope, a goal, without an action plan is just a dream, doomed to fade in the bright light of day. Dreams are WONDERFUL, a terrific starting point, just don’t stop there, don’t spend your life just dreaming and wishing. Wake up, work hard, MAKE it happen. What concrete actions will you take TODAY to make a hope a reality? And how will you follow up tomorrow? And the day after?

Closing Quotes

“Hope won’t work things out for you, you are responsible to work them out. Folks who can’t make a decision, who have a weak constitution, hope matters will solve themselves.” - H.A. Dorfman, 1935-2011, Coaching the Mental Game

“We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.”- Barack Obama, b. 1961 

“Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.” – Proverb

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. - Nathan S. Collier

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