Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines, Marriage and Business

In the spirit of Devin Thorpe's post, here are a couple of things that can help both a start-up and a marriage:
  • Clear expectations
    • Business application -- Rather than saying, "Dave, I need you to take care of theproblem with the rating system?" try, "Dave, I need you to take care of the error code on the top of the rating page because we've had four customers report that they cannot purchase their ratings. If you could have that finished by tomorrow evening, that would be great. Does that work for you?" Give details, context, deadline and make sure they're cool with it. If you're the one being given the vague assignment, take responsibility for getting the full story.
    • Marriage application -- Not, "Honey, I need to be to work early tomorrow. Can you help me get the kids ready?" Instead, "Can you help me get the kids fed by 7am so you can take me to work by 7:15? I have a meeting with the board at 7:45 that's really important." I don't know how many times I've agreed to do something for my wife, only to find her doing the job for me a short time liater with a "My husband is an idiot." look on her face. I've learned that it's important for me to know when she needs something done so she doesn't feel let down when I finish blogging/make a phone call/wait until halftime to do what she asked.
  • Make time to get outside of the day-to-day grind with your partners
    • Business application -- Execution is HUGE for a start-up, so it's not uncommon to develop the tendancy to lock yourself in the office, only emerging for meetings and sales calls. Take the time to go to lunch with as many employees as possible each month. Get to know them, their family, their interests, their goals, their talents and all of the other things about people that make them so interesting and lovable. We do our best to do this at FuningUniverse and the results have been significant. I don't know how many times I've heard one of our employees say that the primary reason that they work at FundingUniverse is the people.
    • Marriage application -- Go on at least one date per week -- especially if you have kids. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of "Wake up, feed the kids, go to work, come home, feed the kids, read a story, put kids to bed, clean the house, go to bed. Repeat." If you don't take the time to spend one-on-one with your wife, it's easy to begin seeing her as just another cog in your life -- the lady that helps you pay the bills and change the diapers. Continued courtship helps you see her as she really is: the woman who stood so far out above the rest that you decided to give her your heart, mind and life. A little corny, but nothing short of true.
What have you learned from business that has positive application in your marriage?

I wish we all spent more time blogging about this stuff. Employees with broken marriages are much less productive than those involved in healthy marriages. People with marriage problem are often distracted, grumpy and mentally tired. Besides, I think most of the people reading this blog would agree that no matter what kind of rockstar you are at the office, nothing can make up for failure in the home, and nothing will have a more lasting affect on your happiness.

One more thing now that I'm off my moral high horse: If you have any killer ideas for a Valentines date for a pregnant woman who may very likely be a little queezy tonight, let me know. I have something planned, but I think I can improve. Send your ideas to jeffbjordan at gmail dot kom.

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