As Frustrating as a Teenager

On the heels of a wonderful Father’s Day weekend, it’s back to work on Monday. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that raising our children as teenagers has revisited itself in the form of observations regarding our industry.

How I remember offering fatherly advice (without being asked) to my teenagers, you know the drill; eat your vegetables, get off the couch, and my personal favorite-a job worth doing is a job worth doing right!

Far be it for me to draw too strong a parallel between those teenagers and the industry I’ve enjoyed for 40 years, but nonetheless, I can’t help imagining some similarities. Of course these comparisons don’t apply to everyone, but everyone has something to share.

I learned some things as the father of teenagers, principally; that which seems an obvious good choice just isn’t that obvious at all (to them)

It’s remarkable to me how many companies I visit fail to recognize the obvious good choice for them and their business. I’m not referring to monumental change or investment, but to those actions that could improve top line and bottom line performance.

Here are a few (tongue in cheek) comparisons;

  • For my teenagers it was, “clean up your room.” Well the same can be said of many shops I’ve been in, please clean things up. Can there be anything positive coming from a messy operation? It can bring on poor morale, declining quality, safety hazards, or an embarrassing client visit.
  • For my teenagers it was, “eat your vegetables.” For many factories that translates to, please take care of the facility that takes care of you; adequate compressed air, proper duct extraction (an entire sticky note of its’ own), sharp tooling and proper maintenance of your equipment.
  • For my teenagers it was, “be home on time” I often meet with business owners who have lost track of time and the working hours of their employees. Especially now, in the summer, and during this robust business cycle we forget how important life balance is to ourselves and to those we work with. ¬†Even a simple picnic lunch would go a long way to thanking them for giving up their time in exchange for those extra working hours.
  • For my teenagers it was, “send a thank you note to your grandmother.” I know it’s “old school” but wouldn’t you agree there are a ton of people out there who have made our success possible? How about a little thank you note to express our gratitude? And don’t forget bankers, vendors and suppliers who have pitched in to help.

So, thank you for indulging me on this silly sticky note, but seriously, isn’t there a little teenager left in all of us?

Stephan Waltman, a retired fan of our industry, and part-time consultant.