26 thoughts on “February 15, 2021: Bank It”

  1. During this current cold snap, I have had the pleasure of working just about every day, which involves multiple trips to the bank or store. The one day I took off was on Friday. We drove up to Duluth (even colder) to see our daughter for her birthday. Honestly, the cold has not bothered me much. With remote start on both vehicles, I am really only cold for about 6 seconds as I walk to and from my vehicle. Also, for the first time ever, both vehicles have heated seats and steering wheel. We are spoiled. I remember, as a child, having to do chores outside in weather like this. I remember our old house would get so cold we would wear hats and parkas to bed at night. During the day, I would have a blanket wrapped around me. I remember at my Dad's joint, we had an outside pump house and on days like this I would have to run an extension cord and heat lamp out to the pump house so the pump would not freeze up. I know that some of my employees are fighting freezing pipes, vehicles with no heat, etc and I know that my wife and I are spoiled. (Disclaimer: we are paying most of our employees well above average wage for our area and I am working on getting our full time employees health insurance. It's almost funny when other restaurant owners complain about minimum wage going up. I try to tell them that the more you are able to pay your staff, the happier they are and the higher quality of employees who will stick with you. Staff quality and happiness directly translates into better performance and in the end... higher sales!)

    1. You mean to tell me people should be treated as assets to be invested in rather than leeches who only exist to lessen the bosses/shareholder's cut?

      1. I worked for several decades for companies that were solely focused on the bottom line. Giving up dollars in sales by focusing on the pennies. That is one major reason I decided to go out on my own. My whole venture pretty much started as an experiment to prove that business is best run by building good will with the staff and general public first. We manage the pennies, but are not fixated on them. It has taken 6 years, but word of mouth on the street is that we take care of our employees and we support our community. The pandemic has magnified how a community looks at how immersed each business is in helping with the common good. I teach my leaders that our role as managers, or owners, is to support our staff. Give them the time, tools and knowledge to be successful. Servant leadership, upside down pyramid, whatever you want to call it. Most companies that SAY they do this, really don't. We have to live it day in and day out in every action. I am taking a much needed vacation this week, and one goal I have is to start writing the outline for a book about building a business a different way. My long term goal is to transition fully into writing by the time I am 60... maybe 65.

        1. I have learned a great many lessons about how to manage people poorly over the years through the actions of bad bosses. Now that I’m part of the problem management team I take great care to not repeat those mistakes. I am happy to delegate and offer learning / skill building opportunities to everyone on my team, and happy to get out of the way when they take initiative. I’ve also got a great team that is capable of outstanding work, though some of their personalities can get in the way of a totally easy and carefree work environment .....

          The two biggest hurdles I have are that I was once one of them, and had personal friendships with two of them outside the work place. One of those team members gets that our dynamic has changed a bit and is flowing with it, the other .... not so much. I got a text message at 9 pm the other night asking to clarify our friendship in defined terms so that she could have clear “expectations”. Ugh. Adulting is hard sometimes. Relationships aren’t linear, and sometimes they’re messy. I don’t know how to gently nudge this person to say hey, we’re friends, but our relationship can’t be the same because I’m now in charge of your salary, and for keeping you accountable for the work you’re doing for the institution, and I can’t have even the whisper of favoritism because the team is more important that any of us as individuals. Very frustrating.

          1. I had a friend at work and then she became my supervisor and then we stopped friending outside of work and then a year later I got promoted and now we're friends again. Just wasn't a big deal to us. Maybe because we're both married with kids.

          2. I have lost a few good managers over the years who just could not wrap their heads around the fact that you can't go out partying with subordinates. Only bad things can happen.

            1. Things tend to be messier in New Orleans for all the reasons but partying / parading can be part of work. I bought a house from the cfo of our institution, and have a long standing friendship with him even though he’s my boss’s boss. We talk a lot of shit about the place, but we have negotiated the line of what can and can’t be talked about.

              I just need to have that conversation with my team member, but, being from the Midwest, I’d just like to avoid that potential conflict and have both parties figure it out without saying a word. Too bad I’m not in Minnesota anymore.

              1. Hope my comment did not come off wrong. I have had a few subordinates that I have been able to play golf with or have a beer with over the years. I was more referring to guys who want to hang out and party with the entire staff in order to get on their good side. Thus the line between work and play becomes blurred.

                1. Oh, not at all.

                  I’m just dreading this particular employee. She’s in a bad way as a lot of folks are during the pandemic, and is pretty lonely. Not exactly a great time to shift friendships, but I also can’t have the emotional hostage taking.

        2. I suspect--and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong--that part of your success is also taking as much care as you can to hire people who are not just good at their jobs, but have good character as well.

          1. Yes, during the interview process, we are looking a lot harder at character and work ethic versus experience/specific skills. We can teach the right person how to cook or serve. We can't teach the wrong person how to be a nice person.

    2. I love your joint; it was my stopping point back when I was shuttling every week between Fargo and Minneapolis when the weather allowed me to leave the dog in the car so I could grab a beer and a meal in the bar. Different dog now who isn't so content in the car, and I'm staying at the lake and taking HWY 10 now cuz Covid, but I hope to get to Alex again soon to taste some of the new stuff.

      1. Thank you. Next time, you head this way, give me a heads up. Message me on by book of face. If it is after May 1st the joint is going to look waaaaay different!

      2. ND is one of the dozen or so states I've not been to, Whenever we finally take that roadtrip to Fargo, we are definitely stopping in,

  2. I have been able to use this cold snap to actually get my skating rink into working order.* There's still about a quarter of it that just isn't usable - it's nearly all ice, but a large diagonal slice that's higher up on the yard froze with large peaks and valleys (because it was snow that was freezing), and the amount of labor that would go into smoothing that out isn't likely to be worth it, especially when doing so could incidentally degrade the better ice "down hill".

    Still... we have skates for 2 of our kids, and myself. But the same cold that finally allowed me to get this done is preventing us from using it.

    *In our area we basically went from "it would get above freezing most days" to this bitter cold. There was a short transition period with a few days in single digits/low teens. What a weird winter.

    1. I don't remember much about him, but looking at his record he looks like he's been a fairly decent pitcher when healthy. He just hasn't been healthy very much lately.

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