Where Are You Investing?

I was re-reading a manifesto of sorts (full article here) by the one of the foremost speaker/consultant’s on the world stage today: Tom Peters.

As I read I believe there is more to this short paragraph than first meets the eye, while at the same time it might be glossed over as just another insightful statement out of many. However, I think there’s something within it that’s a great deal more enlightening for anyone worried about their jobs, their business, their children, their (fill in the blank).

From: What I’ve Come/Am Coming to Believe:

“Three-star generals and admirals (and symphony conductors and sports coaches and police chiefs and fire chiefs) OBSESS about training. Why is it an almost dead certainty that in a random 30-minute interview you are unlikely to hear a CEO touch upon this topic? (I would hazard a guess that most CEOs see IT investments as a “strategic necessity,” but see training expenses as “a necessary evil.”)” – Tom Peters

Stop and think about the last line for just a moment:  “…most CEOs see IT investments as a “strategic necessity,” but see training expenses as “a necessary evil.”

First off, I agree with that statement for I have seen it countless times. Rather than train others (employees, management, whomever) as to be better at problem solving, or empowering them to deal with issues in a more efficient (and many times less expensive) manner. The first thing that get’s the sun is the idea of: “We need a new gizmo 2000 to fix this. And, we’ll pay or validate its expense by eliminating that pesky old thing we refer to as an “employee.” Might work for screwing nuts and bolts. Not so much if you’re trying to avoid customers from feeling they’re the ones to be ____. (again you fill in the blank.)

Although we might think this happens elsewhere. I believe many of us to do this in our own dealings yet don’t realize it as such.

How many look for some new program or app as a way to get organized before they first look to see if maybe it’s our thinking that needs organizing first? How many dash off to get the newest and greatest phone, tablet, PC, or what ever as a way to be more productive first? I could go on however, I believe you see my point.

The first place one needs to spend their resources; is in their own intellectual firepower. Learning, training, and more should not only be something one constantly invests in as to improve ones own capacity or reasoning. It should be the absolute first place one starts. Far too many start with a new gadget or program. Usually this line of thinking only produces ephemeral results. Sometimes it can produce unwanted results as in; a better way to waste ones time while appearing to actually be busy. (Can sign in to check status on every platform with a single click!)

Now I know some of you are saying or thinking: “I wonder if he practices what he’s preaching?” Which I truly feel is a fair question.

Currently I travel all over. I have conversations with people from around the globe. I meet, talk, and have discussions with business leaders of all types as well as others. I write and more away from a traditional desk or office constantly. I am reachable 24/7/365 if need be and I don’t even own a smart phone. Nor are any other of my so-called “productivity” devices at this time linked to some phone contract or carrier. (As in my iPad®, or others are wi-fi only.)

This is not to say I’m some Luddite, far from it. I was one of the first to have a cellular phone when they first came out (I didn’t have the iconic 80’s Brick – but close to it!) And, have never been without one till as recently as 2006. It was during that time period after 2006 I decided to invest more in increasing the efficiency between my ears, rather than something more efficient I held up to my ear. It was a dramatic shift that changed everything in more ways than I first realized. And to this day people still shake their head in disbelief as if I don’t get what I’m missing. The problem for them is – I do.

When they are unreachable it’s usually because they’re in some closed-door meeting or bad cell. For me it usually means I’m at the pool.

I like watching real birds rather than playing them. Yet, I can only make that statement because I put the investment in myself first. It was there I learned that maybe the better solution to efficiency or productivity was less involvement with efficient productivity wasters.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr