posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I have the privilege of working with a team that shares the guiding principles of placing family first, being honest in all of your relationships, having an unquenchable desire to learn, and a commitment to creating value in everything they do. While I enjoy my official role of Business Development Manager, being a mentor to these "youngsters" is even more enjoyable and rewarding.
My parents deserve a lot of credit in passing those values on to me. I was raised on a farm in Nebraska and my dad, besides being a successful farmer, was the neighborhood go to person when any equipment needed a quick repair. If it couldn't be repaired with baling wire my dad could get you back in the field with some scrap iron (if needed) and a welder. He was always thinking about how things could be improved. When I was around 12 years old he trained me to do the fixing and welding so he didn't have to leave the field when a neighbor needed some repairs.
During this last harvest I was able to spend some time on my brother's farm with one of my sons and my 4 grandsons. It gave me a chance to talk about how working hard and being responsible were expected at an early age. I told them it was my job to milk the cows every morning and night and if I didn't do it the cows wouldn't get milked.
While I was sitting comfortably in the air conditioned cab of my brother's tractor with Evan, my 11 year old grandson, the combine had just unloaded and was starting up the field. I pointed out all of the dust, chaff and cobs coming out of the combine. I asked Evan, "Do you see all that dust and chaff?" "When I was a little older than you I drove a John Deere 60 tractor with a 227 mounted 2 row picker and I really appreciated side winds to keep all of the dust and chaff away."
I told him we picked the corn on the cobs and stored them in cribs. My dad and 4 uncles owned a corn sheller and we would all go from farm to farm shelling the corn. The sheller would separate the corn from the cobs. We would transfer all of the cobs to a "cob room" in the basement to burn in the furnace.
So then I told Evan "Since I was the oldest child, my first job in the morning was to get up before everyone else and get the furnace restarted and load it up with cobs." He thought for a moment and then said: "Grandpa, you had a lot of jobs and responsibility when you were young didn't you?" I said, "Yes, I guess you could say that." To which he replied; "And you made a better world." Wow, for all that hard work over the years, account paid in full.
Anyway, getting back to the mentoring and working with a team that shares my guiding principles. They might appreciate my efforts to provide insight and perspective on their work but I find myself learning new skills and techniques every day. Sometimes it is a personal discovery but in most cases it is something we learn together as a team that helps us to create value for our customers both in the results they receive and in the investment required.
I believe the collaborative work environment we have developed at Decision Innovation Solutions fosters that collective learning. Some of the most rewarding projects have been ones where we were able to draw our client into the collaborative environment. That transforms the relationship from a producer/client environment to a team focused on achieving the best results for everyone.
So, while I am considered a "senior citizen" by any way you want to measure it, I hope I can continue working with great people and learning new skills until the day I assume room temperature.