The Most Astonishing Stories Come From My Clients

Yes, they do. Stories about tragedies, stories about breakthroughs, stories about just averted crises, stories about business and stories about life outside of business.
Here’s a story which came to me last year, from a hugely successful entrepreneur in Kansas City, who was describing to me that for the very first time in his ten year history of founding, growing and expanding his great company he has decided to hire an executive assistant.

As an aside, in case you feel this might be an insignificant story — an executive assistant? — know that in the worst year our economy has experienced in the past ten years, 2009, my clients’ company grew by 20% to over 25 million, selling about as ordinary a product as you can imagine — baseball bats!

Yes, that’s it, he’s in the baseball bat business. Direct to the consumer. Online.
And now, just now, after leading for ten years without one, he has decided it’s time for him to hire an executive assistant.

I asked him: “boy or girl?”

He answered: “It is a girl. She has been my assistant at my home for a couple of years. She is a college graduate, and a very trusting person. She comes to our home and organizes (no cleaning) and sets up appointments to fix things around the house
“Pretty cool story about the tipping point that made me look for an assistant at home.” he continues.

“I was changing a light bulb one day and realized I was sick and tired of changing light bulbs. I never seemed to have the correct bulb, and if I did, I would be on the 3rd floor and the bulbs would be on the 1st floor.

“Anyways, I thought I would create a Systems Action Plan for changing the light bulbs and turn it over to a new assistant so I would never have to do that routine work of changing light bulbs ever again. There are 148 light bulbs in our house on 3 different levels. There are 9 different types of bulbs. I created a system which included putting the correct bulbs on each floor, a min/max reorder point and a storage area on each floor for the bulbs. I then went out to look for someone to come over to our house once per week to do this task and whatever other special projects we may have.

“Anyways, she loved the system, and she has created many more. She comes over on Thursdays, so the longest a light bulb could ever be out at our home would be 6 days, since all burnt out ones are changed on Thursdays. Now, I know it’s not as good as Walt Disney World, changing the bulbs before they go out, but that might be our next step! And since that day, I have never changed a light bulb in my house, and have eliminated several routine items like grocery shopping, laundry, hot tub upkeep, and car servicing.

“Her kids are now old enough to be home by themselves after school so she would like to go back into the workforce. Basically, I had a 2 year interview with her and she is awesome! She came up here a couple of days ago and dropped off her resume and I’m going to hire her. She also has someone to replace her at my home for the tasks she did there.”

So, welcome to the new executive assistant, and welcome to all the new systems she is about to create to make our CEO an even more productive and happy man!

And here’s the really cool part about all this.

What my client did at home is what he has been doing for the past ten years in his thriving company. Inventing new ways to do the most obvious, and finding even more extraordinary ways of doing the things he never thought needed to be done, but, once done, have enabled him to build…with a bunch of young, inexperienced, but highly motivated folks — a most extraordinary company.

Imagine, seizing the day with light bulbs!

Will entrepreneurial wonders never cease!