Trust through a Wealth of Relationships

I found myself sitting in a room of folks listening to them talk about the number of projects they cranked out since the first of the year. Some of these groups had completed a lot more than others. They spoke of bottom-line numbers and then rewarded themselves for meeting a number. Good for them… I suppose.

As I silently left the conversation I started to compare their projects with our team’s. It was cut and dry, we run our business  completely differently and have completely different results; We do more than hit our numbers, we duplicate excellence, and always plan past the objective. We do this by taking an entrepreneurial approach to everything we touch.

To quote the Savannah based law firm of Bart Meyer & Company, “We Build Trust through a Wealth of Relationships.”

The number one resource you have is People; trust them, build them up, and treat them well.

Here are a few steps we take in the successful management of our projects:

  1. We take ownership and full responsibility of our projects.
  2. We find what is working right and duplicate it, no matter how simple or silly it may be.
  3. We ask lots of questions in the planning process. Our philosophy is that a well planned project is about 60% complete.
  4. We don’t make Elephants climb trees. We ask what our vendors can do, share our vision of the project, lay out all the requirements, and ask again if they can meet the criteria. If they cannot, we ask how we can help them.
  5. We see our vendors as PEOPLE first. They, like us, have kids and colds and homework. They have families, marriages, funerals; some are fighting cancer others helping elderly parents. Some days are good and others have plenty of opportunity for improvement. Our team is no different.
  6. Our team knows a lot but our vendors know more. …so we ask more questions

These are only but a few steps that have been the secret to our success. Success will breed success. Share information with your vendors. Help them succeed even outside of your business. Recommend them to your neighbor,  the car dealer, plumber, accountant. You will win every time.

Question: How have strong relationships helped you win in business? Personally and Professionally.

The USCIS… a Personal History

The United States Customs and Immigration Service  (USCIS) began in 1891 under the Department of the Treasury. Only a few short years later (1895) it moved in to the Bureau of Immigration; then in 1903 the Department of Labor; 1906 Naturalization Service…and the changes and confusion did not stop there.

ImageThey would change names and departments another four times prior to being called the Immigration Naturalization Service or INS in 1940.

World changes in 2001 created a new Service. In 2003 three departments were created under the Department of Homeland Security; USCIS was one of those three.

Prior to 2013, I had never had an overwhelming need to understand the inner workings of the department. I, of course, had personal views of immigration but never had to directly deal with immigration services.

During the courtship of my wife (Yes, it was a courtship. Dad’s teach your sons!) I did everything I could to learn about immigration from the USCIS website. I might as well have been learning Hebrew. This is anything but a user friendly site for Americans… much less for those who have not grown up in the US.

My wife has spent more than 200 hours in preparing documentation for a single 45 minute interview. But it gets better. The US History and Civics test is a requirement for the infamous Green Card and Citizenship authorization. Funny thing is, immigrants know more about US History and Civics than our school kids, college graduates, and professors in most universities. Don’t believe me? You take the test!!!

Where were you when you learned: the 18, 19, and 23 Amendment, how many seats are in the House? The Senate? How long terms are… and the big one; What are the THREE Branches of Government and what are their functions?

(I’ll pause for dramatic effect for that last question)

I have died at least four times while helping my wife fill out forms and read complex instructions on what to fill out and what not to fill out. There is nothing positive to say to the USCIS folks in the arena of forms nor the volume of information collected. My wife, though, is and should produce the scores of documents required. Albeit, it’s killing me!

Far too much information is collected from the US Citizen sponsor. “Proof of my Citizenship,” Really? No thanks, you get to take my word. I feel like a Roman being challenged in his home town by a sojourning peasant farmer from a far away land–a Gaul.

Look, from the beginning, immigrants are what America is about. Not illegal, but legal.

The facts are this on immigration :

  1. It’s confusing, complicated, and convoluted. It is hard and you (the sponsor) will HATE IT!
  2. It can be a good thing (or bad)
  3. You will fill out more forms than any other group of people on the planet
  4. If you do not know who represents you in congress AND have never written them, shame on you– go correct your ways… Most immigrants DO know this information and have written their future representative. You will be better for it!
  5. Love your awesome spouse in this process.  They are doing this for you.



A note on LJ:

My beloved wife reads, writes, and speaks, Afrikaans, Xshoa (spelling?), and English. She could brush up on her Dutch and master it again, very quickly. She is famous in her circle of influence. She has taught 1000’s kids; from the great grandson of Robert Louis Stevenson to the kids of senators and of well known rock stars. Trained and skilled on two continents as a certified Aux Pair; she is a tireless worker who loves Jesus, me, and the United States. She is clocking in her 2nd hour tonight pulling information together of our interview with the USCIS while I type away on this very long blog.

So, the next time you wonder about the Immigration topic, go read and learn about your own country… You’ll be glad you did…

LJ- You are a Rock Star and I am crazy about you!

Thanks for all the crazy hard work!

I learned this,…

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings… If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put forth the foundations under them.

Would this company hire you?

Would this company hire you? is a blog written by Dan Miller, a great coach, mentor, speaker, author, car enthusiast …etc.

Dan makes a comment that hits home on leadership, life, and hope. Rather than summarize it, I hope you’ll read it!

I enjoyed the post, I know you will also! Please leave a comment on Dan’s page, and visit often!!



Homework, Pink Floyd, Robert Sternberg and Intelligent Giants

I completely remember the group of us jumping off the bus, making a pile of book bags on the ground, and bolting towards the wood line behind David Harper’s house almost everyday. The School Bus had magically transformed into a C47 aircraft somewhere over France, behind the enemy lines. We were cut off from out parent unit and left to complete our mission without the promise of resupply or support. This was as real as it ever could be–and we all loved it!

I remember David having the most real looking cap guns and biggest tree house and biggest back yard of any of us (and his mom was a stickler for knowing where David was AT ALL TIMES). We dealt with it and played on!

After we enveloped the enemy’s Forward Line of Troops, killed their commanders and platoons of men, we rescued the captured Allies, and then we’d go home.

We would be looking forward to fighting another day, our band of middle-school Soliders would rumage through the mountain of bags left in the yard, and start the trek to our homes… but even this was our marching back from the war to face an unknown homecoming of washing, eating veggies, and doing HOMEWORK.

So what on earth has happened? 

Our kids are turning into machines of productivity and I hate that! While I think homework is a good thing there has to be a balance of work and play. We spent three hours on homework last night, two the night before last and this pattern will play out over the week. Playing and make-believe is as important to a kids development as school and homework. 

So, are the enormous hours of homework efforts to make our kids smarter, more intelligent? Is it a way to extend the teaching time from the classroom to the kitchen table in some complicated effort to save the school money? While I think we all need some education, (que the band Pink Floyd) Hey teachers leave those kids alone! 

Robert J. Sternberg said it best and this little summary of a blurb does him little justice: It’s usually, the Practical and Creative Intelligence that determines success in life. So why don’t we teach that in school? Why can we not celebrate this type of learning and intelligence? The proof is overwhelming that the educators equivalently teach rope climbing to a class of Elephants, Tigers, Monkeys, and Zebras. Only one them will excel. The others are shunned and cast out thinking they will never make it in the classroom. If not balanced with other activities to celebrate their practical and creative intellect, they will, ( and I with others did) think they would not excel in the work place nor not in life; we’d simply excel at not excelling.

The facts speak for themselves and I’d encourage you to go look at Bill Gates education level, Henry Ford, Michael Dell, Edison, and Martin Luther King Jr. Strictly looking at academics, these iconic giants were Elephants, Tigers, or Zebras… not monkeys.

The take-away is fairly simple; 

  1. Learn to play and have fun!
  2. Read Dr. Sternberg’s work: Successful Intelligence (This link is to all of his works on Amazon. By the way, this book, is on nearly every major Influencer and Multi-Millionaires book shelf. If you want to be more ‘intelligent’ do what intelligent folks do…)
  3. Encourage your kids and yourselves to embrace education in light of Sternberg’s work. Be Encouraged!

PVT Harvey Thomas Roberts: CBT ENG/ Driver/ High School Graduate and World Changer- France 1943

After-note: I am sure the Allied Troops of WWII had no idea that decades after their heroic efforts, they would be saluted in a blog on homework and education. These men, despite their academic records, had the creative and practical intelligence to change the world, history, and future! To those families, thank you again… for yours must be the kingdom of heaven.  

Would love your comments and thoughts…