By Ed Collupy, executive consultant, W. Capra Consulting Group
Over the years I’ve always had a book or two on my desk at work and near my comfy spot at home. Some I started and put aside, others I read in a couple of days, but many took time to get through. I read to learn and to be entertained. In the last year, as my career and life have evolved, I’ve found myself reading to share. In fact, I’ve started Book+, a book club amongst my colleagues.
And, where author Seth Godin encourages you to create a ruckus motivated me to bring forth the idea at a planning meeting as a way for us to stay connected as a team especially with most of us being in different places each week. We would choose a book that we would all read and then share our thoughts on the book and what each of us found most important, most intriguing, most challenging, most insightful, most fun. Disruptions like this, I thought would get people thinking and talking and it certainly has for me.
The first book we are reading is ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of the software company 37signals. Described by some as a “playbook” and for me in the business of technology and systems finding new ways to do things is always at the top of my list. In their quick to read chapters they take contrarian views on priorities: “ASAP is Poison,” GPA’s Don’t Matter,” “Ignore the Details Early On” and “Planning is Guessing.”
In The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, a recommendation I posted to our Book+ repository took me back to the 14th century and the original meaning of “priority.” They and others have written how over the years the word priority has evolved. The word comes from the Latin, meaning first. For centuries the word priority remained un-pluralized and how today we don’t only pluralize it, we add emphasis by saying “top priority” or “last priority.” By placing an adjective in front of priority it begins to provide leeway in when and how we approach what needs to be done.
In the convenience and petroleum business, and especially with Information Technology projects, we are confronted with a fast paced and ever changing world – it’s hard to keep up and the speed at which new business solutions come to market, current systems are changing, and older systems are no longer supported is daunting.
One of the natural things we do is begin to plan and develop a priority list. The ONE Thing will challenge you to think about the ways that guide implementations at your company but may not turn out successful, since planning at the startup often stems from too many priorities instead of focus on one.
Just as I finished reading about about the concepts of priority and thinking about how to rework, I was challenged again with what I had just learned. Dave Sanderson, a technology salesperson that called on me for a number of years, published his story on how quick priorities shift and how having one priority, doing the right thing, reshaped his life. In Moments Matter, Sanderson recalls being the last passenger off the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 that crashed in the Hudson River. With many thoughts in his head in those few harrowing minutes he set his mind on one priority – help others first. A powerful story, Moments Matter should be your priority on your reading list. The message Sanderson wrote inside the cover to me, “…all moments in life matter…” will certainly be the one thing I will remember for a long time as I continue to find ways to make sharing the priority from the reading I’m doing.
Ed Collupy, executive consultant at W. Capra Consulting Group can be reached at [email protected] and be sure to visit www.capraplus.com for more retail technology and business insights. Collupy has IT leadership and business team experience directing and supporting retail systems for store operations, merchandising, fuel and accounting teams in the C-Store industry.