The most important business decision I have made this month.

Some businesses are slowing down for the holidays. But at The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, we are in overdrive. December has been our busiest month of our busiest year yet. And we see no slowdown in sight. Today is my 12th day working without a day off. I have the only house on my block without Christmas lights. And I couldn’t be happier.

Decision Making

This level of demand forces you to make a variety of logistical decisions in order to meet all of the needs. In this period of record demand we have had to make a lot of really important decisions.

Last Thursday we began an exciting project that had us shooting a series of videos across the state of Texas for 10-days. There were massive amounts of logistics to coordinate to pull it off. We would be working with 5 different powersports dealerships, 5 different charities, and we had nearly 100 different locations to scout and film. There would be daily travel as each of the locations were 1 to 4 hours away from each other. Because apparently everything is bigger in Texas (I am surprised they don’t talk about that more…).

The First Puzzle Piece

Planning this shoot was a puzzle. And just like solving a jigsaw puzzle, we had to start by finding our first corner piece. We had to find that important, non-barbecue-related factor that we must plan all of the other details around.

In this case the entire plan started with a 3-year old boy’s Christmas play. When we looked at the 10-day shoot, our creative director, Adam ‘Henry’ Emery and I had to determine how we would split our time on the shoot so neither of us had to be out of the office for 10 days. Henry said, ‘My son has a Christmas program on Tuesday evening, December 10th and I would hate to miss it.’ So we built the 10-day travel schedule, and all of our logistics around that.

Prioritize

In our busiest month in agency history, the decision to build our travel around a child’s Christmas program was the single most important decision we made. With all of the challenges we faced, we started with the most important. We value our people above all else. We want them to prioritize the people and events they value most. And while we will have many more work obligations, there is only one Christmas play when you are 3-years old. And Mom’s and Dad’s should be there.

Key Takeaway

Put first things first. Prioritize family and friends whenever you can. Help your co-workers and clients do the same. When you develop organizations that support families, you also develop families that support your organization. And like Van Halen said, that is the best of both worlds.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.  

 

 

Are you keeping your priorities straight?

Last night I was supposed to have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant in Minneapolis. I was supposed to stay at a great hotel too. And this morning I was going to have an easy start to the day before we rolled cameras on our video shoot at 10am.

Instead, I woke up in Milwaukee this morning at 4am. I quickly got ready and hurried off to the airport to catch a 6am flight to Minneapolis. But don’t cry for me, Argentina. The truth is I am living the dream. My dream. It’s that dream where you get to enjoy all the most important things in life.

Orchestral Maneuvers

I rearranged my travel plans and took the pre-dawn flight because my daughter Ava and son Johann had a school orchestra concert last night. And in my perfect life, I get to play creative advertising guy, entrepreneur, business traveler, AND, involved father and husband. I get to attend my children’s events in person, instead of seeing them on video, in photographs or while supervised in the prison visiting room. 

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That’s my daughter Ava, to the right of the violin in the middle of the photograph.
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My son Johann is the 3rd from the left.

The Talk

Last week I had a speaking engagement to over 120 marketers, sales people and small business owners. I was the 3rd of the 3 speakers to talk to the group about storytelling. Apparently they were saving the least for last. When my talk was finished it was time for food, beverages and networking. All of which I love.

But as soon as the applause quieted after my talk (which took seconds), I grabbed my work bag and Usain Bolted for the door. There would be no food, no drinks, no meeting of new people. No spoils of public speaking. No attaboys as I hurriedly exited the venue like the Von Trapp Family Singers.

Good Reasons 

Meeting new people is one of my favorite things. But my 9-year old son Magnus was performing in a school choral concert that night, honoring America’s Veterans. He had a speaking part, and I worked with him to prepare for his concert as I prepared for my own presentation. I wasn’t going to miss his concert for all the appetizers in Milwaukee. And Milwaukee knows how to appetizer. #CheesilyTheBest.

So I left the swanky downtown socializing event to race to the folding chairs of the Wilson Elementary school gym, 30 minutes away in Mequon. And I couldn’t have been happier.

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My little guy Magnus is the boy in the back row, in the white shirt, with the long blonde hair.

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My son Magnus is the 3rd from the right. His big line was, ‘N stands for Never Give Up!’

Today

This morning I was up at 4am. I will have a full day of filming on location in Minneapolis. And my plane will land back in Milwaukee tonight at midnight. It will be a long day. But it’s a small price to pay to get to maximize my time at home.

Key Takeaway

For working parents, and especially business owners, it is easy to feel like work is your most important priority. Because keeping the business in business and earning a living is also important to the rest of your family, whether they recognize it or not. But don’t miss your family events if you can possibly help it. Those concert years go by in a blink. The sports years sprint by. And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon say we need to set great examples for our kids too. So get creative. Problem solve. And whenever possible, be there for the things that are meaningful to those who mean the most to you.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.