Week 183 in Detroit.
When I think back to what I used to describe as the ideal work day, I would describe a dynamic week where my role drives the business in several areas across meaningful areas of the company. This week was as dynamic as I could have predicted.
Several days in New York debating the regulatory environment for home mortgages.
Several days in Detroit working with our consumer advisers on the future of our business. As a senior leader said recently, “you can’t win the business with policy but you can certainly lose it.” Others would disagree. Either way, by Friday, I had worked deeply on regulatory fixes, I had worked on the future of the business (and how we can add more eligible homeowners) and I had caught up with my team on their projects. It did not leave much time for anything else. A balance is necessary but thankfully we were able to make it work. In short bursts the travel and deadlines are doable. Focus on the work, get it done. Overall it has to have an offset in favor family.
This week was the New York City Marathon. My friend, Roger, ran his 64th marathon at this year’s race. Incredible accomplishment. Since we attended the Detroit marathon a few weeks ago, as spectators, I can relate to the joy of celebrating the runners. Meredith found this post on one person’s view of the marathon participants: https://www.manrepeller.com/2019/11/watching-marathons.html
Check it out and then go watch a marathon next time and be sure to cheer.
Run all the miles!
Praise versus Pressure. What do you use when? I spent some time with a long time political adviser and strategist this week. Gene Sperling has worked for President Clinton as a domestic policy adviser and for President Obama as chair of the National Economic Council. Gene also has the most important claim to fame in my world — political consultant for The West Wing. In fact, Gene met his wife on set because she was a writer on the show. Considering how often I’ve revisited the The West Wing year in and year out, Gene maybe has had more influence on my viewpoint than on my work. The stories and the approach to politics in The West Wing are equal parts thought-provoking and fiction. Wrapped up in a story with a bow, the storylines aren’t that clean in real life. The strategies, though, are applicable.
Praise versus pressure is a simplified versus of everything we do, right? Flight versus fight.
The idea is applicable to all of us. Whether trying to persuade your leader or your team, it’s either praise or pressure. The carrot or the stick.
The perspective that Gene added was who you praise is also a tool. Praising another candidate in a political campaign gets the attention of the other campaigns. So instead of pressuring the focus of your effort, praise their opponent. How can you think about this in your business?
So much for Millennials: First time homebuyers have always been a mysterious group. Years of millennial articles have given way to Gen Z homebuyer articles. Oh, how quickly we move on.
The challenge for first time home buyers who have to compete with economic constraints (like debt), market constraints (like lack of supply) and competitive constraints (like iBuyers or cash buyers) is rising cost for whatever remaining homes do become available.
In areas where jobs and companies have grown, housing is expensive and home ownership is near impossible. In the Bay Area, tech companies have started donating money to try to address the constraints.
Whether we all become tenants of our company benefactors remains a long way off, but so does, it seems, the benefit of these fundings.
A new take on work: This article is likely to piss you off. I’m just saying. I like it for that reason, but for many of the Saturday Cup of Joe readers, it will come off as pretentious, naïve and wrong. I included it for exactly that reason. Agree or not — this is going to make you think. For example, how do you respond to this quote? “Let’s start recognizing the truth: Hating your job is smart, and it’s the right relationship to work.”
My perspective immediately goes to the belief that we should be always questioning and testing our assumptions to ensure we still agree (with ourselves). In other words, do you still feel the same way about your work? Your company? There’s no reason to feel obligation such that it overrides your joy or happiness. Questioning work. Questioning whether choices are still the right choices is fair and good.
For instance, though it makes a little less sense out of context, another quote from the article that I appreciated was: “Let’s start working together openly on those projects, and let’s stop framing them as ‘individual acts’ rather than collective ones.” In reference to work to politics to community, this rings true for me. It doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going to come out agreeing with the author, but let’s ask some hard questions on work. On purpose. Let’s ask all our questions on purpose.
I often write on LinkedIn that being intentional is the most important part of everything. From entrepreneurship to leadership to time management, making intentional choices improves outcomes. No question. Even when making a choice that turns out to be the wrong one, making it on purpose as opposed to glossing over it or accepting someone else’s choice is always better.
With your economic life, your work and your purpose, any thought or article that ensures you have the ability to articulate and explain your continued work will make you a better employee/boss/team member/spouse/parent/friend.
Let’s question work.
Speaking of work, here’s a list of companies that look at things a little differently. What constitutes what you want from a job? What about proper expectations?
Here is a list of the unlimited PTO, kombucha on-tap, “powder days” (which I discovered means the day off to go skiing), and dog friendly offices where you can now apply.
With Halloween coming and going last week, scary movies hung around a little longer in our house. Whether it was Poltergeist or the series The Haunting of Hill House, we’ve seen a few more scary movies lately. It got me thinking about scary stories. When I came across this Atlas Obscura article about mental asylums and why we’re obsessed with them, I knew I had to include it here. If for nothing else than just to see how many of you agree with me that a movie is 10x scarier if the building somehow plays a role in the evil threat. Abandoned buildings are a must. Abandoned buildings with a history are even better. Abandoned buildings with a history that includes supernatural or paranormal events is the ideal setting.
“He thinks too much: such men are dangerous” — William Shakespeare
Continued success and continue to answer well,