Yesterday I read in a business magazines that according to US Democratic Representative Kanjorski at 11 am on the 18th September there was a $440 billion electronic drawn-down of money market accounts in the US. The US Treasury had to pump $550 billion into the system, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account to stem the tide. It was estimated that had they not acted swiftly by 2 pm $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out, collapsing the entire economy of the US, followed by the world economy within 24 hours. According to him it would have been the end of the economic and political system as we know it. My guess is that the Lehman Bank collapse on 16th acted as the catalyst. This must have been the financial equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Whew!!
Now back to “normal” stuff. This week our Investors in People renewal took place. As our reviewer had previously been made aware of my own particular succession planning strategy, i.e. slide off to Switzerland and other foreign parts, basically leaving “the team” to get on with things, she made this one of the focuses points of the visit. She asked everyone how the process was going and the consensus was that things are not better or worse, just different. Job done then!
Thankfully, we passed with flying colours again. She also added that after recently visiting a major supermarket chain to review their Investors in People status, in her opinion our planning, training and delivery procedures and processes are more effective than theirs. In fact she was impressed with the way we value our staff.
And the real “normal, normal” stuff. Our little ones perpetuating the ancient art of climbing trees. Now that's real life. Arn't they delightful?
And finally …. I believe that the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything.
"Because I spend my life with you and it would be nice to know that I was liked"
I was thinking that maybe I should be paying more attention to this man until a couple of hours later when, dodging around the kitchen trying not to get in each other's way, me cooking sunday roast for the family and him making one cup of coffee for himself, I "politely" point out that perhaps I should take priority in this situation. He growled back:
"Name me one person in the world that would put up with you"
Now in my opinion that was totally uncalled for.
"Name one person in the world that I would WANT to put up with me?"
"You are just trying to wriggle out of the question"
There are some questions that just don't have an answer aren't there?
And finally .... Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.
My daughter read the blog yesterday and said with a big cheesy grin "so your life is busy now is it?" "yes, why?" " your hairdresser just 'phoned, you forgot your appointment" "shit!".
That wasn't the end of it. I was entrusted with the awsome responsibility of babysitting my 2 month old greatgrandson and collecting his two sisters from school. Whenever I go to pick the girls up from school they whinge on about going to the park with their school friends and having one of my rare warm fuzzy maternal moments I decided to treat them and gave in to their demand while I sat in the back of the car to feed Noah
It was all very pleasant, I could see the girls playing away happily with their friends while I listened to the satisfying sound of baby guzzling away. All was well with the world.
The girls played for 45 minutes. Noah had satisfied himself, burped for England and was now ready to sleep. Time to go. Ah! The back door childlock was on. I was trapped in the car. "Not to worry" I thought "just put Noah in his car seat and climb into the front, job done!" forgetting that ancient bones just don't comply like they used to. No movement, no compromise and no way could I clamber into the front.
"OK," I thought "DON'T PANIC. Just knock on the window and get the girls attention". Now, our daughter calls this car "the beast" (Barrack Obama copied us!). It is called the beast because it is big with blacked out windows. So - get the picture. There's me trying to attract attention but no-one can see me through these wretched obscured windows! ....and the girls still played happily away!
A bit of head scratching later and I come up with a solution. Reach over and open the electric window. Window doesn't open! Why? More head scratching. Ah! Maybe the engine has to be running. At last, the window glides down to reveal one worried little girl peering through. "Are you alright Nanny" "Oh Elise, am I glad to see you, can you open the door please, the child lock is on". Whew, freedom at last.
Oh how we laughed together to think that Nanny had been trapped in the car for 15 minutes until Elise made the earth shattering discovery that the other back door was not on child lock! I hadn't been trapped after all. The girls thought this was hillarious. Silly Nanny! I joined in the good fun, but secretly I had lost my warm fuzzy maternal sense of humour. I was laughing on the outside but inside I was as pissed as hell with myself.
And finally .... Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
Again I ask myself the question, why do I write this guff? I guess the original answer would have been that I was aware all the while I was heavily involved in the day to day running of the business I was impeading the growth and experience of the next generation of leaders. For the sake of continuity and success it was crutial that they took decisions without looking over their shoulder to see if I would veto their ideas. (The "grown ups" call it succession planning). It was a very painful process for all of us because the business is my passion and I didn't quite know what else to do with myself so I kept showing up, misbehaving and interfering.
I tried researching the ancesters and did quite well for a while. In fact I still go back to it from time to time but I have quite a short attention span, it's a very lonely pursuit and I am happiest around people. I tried travelling, which was good, but I wouldn't want to spend my life doing it, I looked for a hobby and couldn't find one and then I decided to write about my struggles with myself. And guess what? Things changed.
At first the people around me were not sure if they approved, but as time went on they became more comfortable with it and, indeed, some became avid readers. So that was good. I could vent my feelings into the ether, it gave me a discipline, it gave me a reason for getting up in the morning and bought with it the added benefit of new friendships.
Then OG got cancer. This was a tricky one. Should I write about it or not? OG asked me to because he didn't want to talk about it himself and it meant that people weren't continually asking him how he was. So this is what I did and continue to do. When I write about him I always seek his approval, even when I snark! We both love the snark bits best!
It has been a strange journey. I believe that my absence from the office bought the desired results. My fellow directors are now stronger and more experienced and I am still around if they need my input, which they occasionaly do (but I suspect more out of respect than need, which is as it should be!).
I have almost come the full circle now. I have gone from having time on my hands to being extremely busy, but busy doing different stuff. I help out with my new baby great grandson and all the other great grandchildren and grandchildren, I sometimes "do lunch", I am chief adviser, designer and occasionally clearer upper for OG's house renovations, and my colleagues have graciously allow me to retain a desk on the mezzanine floor from which I survey my empire. I say, "graciously allow me" - for that read they wouldn't dare stop me! I still have teeth!!
Although I only speak for myself here I should say that OG is making his own journey in this process, part of which is to immerse himself in the renovations and he is, after all, much better at finding way to do nothing than I am!
And finally .. I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.