My Wood Burning Stove – Everything It’s Taught Me About Business

My wife and I bought a home 17 years ago. We love our home and the cherished memories it keeps. Many of those memories include collecting, splitting, and burning wood to keep us warm. Each year we gather and split anywhere from two to four cords of wood. They say that burning wood heats you up three times: when you gather it, when you split it, and when you burn it. We have certainly found this to be true.
We have converted our backyard into different areas where we can process the wood in two steps: splitting and stacking.

Marketing requires consistent searching and effort.

Just as finding firewood for the upcoming winter requires one to start looking in April, so does marketing require one to keep a constant search open for new and potential clients. A good marketer is not spotty in when he or she puts all effort into reaching out to potential clients; a good marketer constantly gathers and searches, knowing that consistent effort is a must.

Preparation.

Oftentimes we will find a tree that has just been cut down, so the wood is green. We have to let that wood sit in the yard anywhere from six months to a year in order to dry so we can then split it. Splitting green wood is almost impossible. This is similar to nurturing along potential clients before they become clients. The timing has to be right before we can actually engage with them as clients. We can stay present and vocal with them, but only when the client are ready to do business with us can we do our job properly. Just like leaving wood to sit so it can be split properly, we need to let our potential clients decide when they are ready.

Go with the grain.

When splitting wood, I have found that it is easiest to put the larger side towards the hammer that will push the wood towards the stationary axe, and the thinner side towards the axe. This allows the splitter to cut with the grain of the wood instead of fighting the grain of the wood. In business, it is important to be aware of climates, situations, and attitudes that, when confronted, would be a difficult struggle, expending more energy than is needed. One can, instead, continue in a current course until the right direction is found, knowing that there will be a time and a place for everything.

 Work around the knots.

Every batch of wood has pieces that won’t split correctly because there are knots in the wood that are impossible to get through. Knots can exist in business, as well. There may be things ingrained in any industry that are just part of it or the way things get accomplished that are impossible to fight against and will not go anywhere. Sometimes these knots need to stay in place and we need to learn how to work around them because they actually help the business stay in place.

Getting the right people for the job.

My wife grew up stacking wood. I have tried to do it before, but she has the necessary experience to make sure that the wood is stacked correctly. When she stacks it, it won’t fall over or lean once the wood dries or in harsh weather because every piece is perfectly placed. When I do it, the pile sometimes leans, because I simply did not grow up doing this. So, my wife stacks the wood and I split it because our experiences have given us different strengths. It is more efficient this way. So, too, in business, should people be placed in positions according to their talents or experiences, their strengths.

A good foundation is imperative.

When my wife stacks wood, she always comes to me and says, “In order to begin another row, I need some solid, square pieces that will ensure that the foundation is strong, that way the pile doesn’t fall over.” In business, having a strong beginning will create a solid foundation, ensuring that the business process can continue forwards  without fail. There need to be good, solid, consistent practices put in place from the beginning in order to accomplish this. My previous posts talk about having a champion, or creating standards, or owning data, or involving IT, and these are those strong practices that create a good foundation.

 Energy will be produced.

Burning wood creates energy, and so does a business that lays good foundations and follows it’s principles set up from the beginning. By taking these lessons that I have gained from gathering, splitting, and burning wood, I have been able to see positive effects in my business; in the RSC culture, in the profit I see, in our relationships with our clients, and the things we have been able to produce. They are essential, and I hope you can learn from them as well.


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10 Keys to a Successful IWMS Integration: Pt. 8, Working in the Relationship Arena

This week we are excited to bring you Part 8 of our 10-Part series on successfully implementing an IWMS.  In this article we will discuss how to maintain a healthy relationship arena.

 

In any situation that requires collaboration, tense relationships may exist between any given parties involved. An IWMS system may span many, if not all, departments in a company, and those installing the IWMS must work with and get permission from many department heads. If the relationship arena between departments in a company is not healthy, the IWMS installation can be slowed down, inefficient, or stopped completely.

What is the Relationship Arena?

The relationship arena is a term we use at RSC to refer to the teamwork between departments in any given company and/or between the company and the third party installing the IWMS. Ineffectual teamwork within the relationship arena may lead to a slower IWMS installation. For an IWMS to be installed as quickly and efficiently as possible, quick and efficient communication and collaboration needs to happen. This will be hindered if the relationship arena is not healthy and functioning, or in other words, if there is a breakdown in teamwork because of strained relationships between departments.

How To Maintain a Healthy Relationship Arena

In earlier posts, we talked about the irreplaceable value of an Internal Champion. For a more defined role of an Internal Champion, please see article 1 of this series.

As discussed above, two key elements of teamwork are communication and collaboration; the Internal Champion will be able to shine, not only because of his/her ability to communicate in the vernacular of many departments, but also because of his/her ability to collaborate with different individuals. If the Internal Champion can help with effective inter-departmental teamwork, the IWMS installation process can be moved forward with minimal to no inefficiencies.

Even if a relationship arena is not functioning at its best when the third party arrives to install the IWMS, the Internal Champion should be able to help facilitate the installation because of his/her leadership skills and willingness to cooperate, creating an environment of teamwork, building a positive relationship arena.

The key role of the Internal Champion here is mediation — not only does working within a relationship arena require strong communication skills, but the ability to help others when a problem arises. This latter ability can look like helping two team members solve a disagreement, protecting a company from aggressive, third-party sales, negotiating between departments, etc.

The Result of Having a Healthy Relationship Arena

Together, with the support of the Internal Champion, as well as the roles that each team member play, the companies involved in installing the IWMS can create a synergy and unity based on compromise and understanding that will move the installation along smoothly.

Once good teamwork is established, the tasks that need to happen to install the IWMS can be completed as efficiently as possible. Consequentially, your IWMS will operate as you need it to because no important piece of information will have been lost in the process of working as a team.


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