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2013 Resolutions, Business Strengths, and Filet o' Fish

Education & Training

Filet o' Fish

Happy New Year!  Although we're into the 3rd week of 2013 now, I still give and receive that greeting with clients and friends I see for the first time this year.  And yesterday I was at a meeting where New Years' resolutions were still discussed.  I attended a business referral group session, which I regularly take part in as a representative of Stewart Title.  Our speaker was fellow-member Dennis Deveja, of the Talent Development Group.  Since Dennis' topic was promoting strengths, before the meeting started some of us discussed how we were doing on overcoming weaknesses- specifically, how we were coming along with our New Years' resolutions.

Last year I opined we should let others make resolutions for us, since we don't ever seem to keep our own (and indeed, I have not yet started the exercise regimen I contemplated on January 1st).  Dennis' speech, however, put me in a more optimistic frame of mind.  He suggested that we focus on becoming even better at what we're good at, rather than try to develop skills we may just not have.  Although I still would like to drop a waist-size, from a business perspective Dennis' suggestion makes a lot of sense.  For example, more than one person has told me that since I am in a business development role, I must learn how to play golf.  If I was going to adopt a New Years' resolution based on shortcomings, I would try to convince myself to take golf lessons this year, even though I can't stand to play.  However, I am good at networking and writing.  I love meeting people, going to events, talking face-to-face with prospects, corresponding, and writing blog posts.  Given a choice between the driving range or turning into an even better networker, I am much more enthused about the latter.

I do have an amusing caveat, though, and it is one I learned at my very first job.  Like 1 in 8 of my statistical fellow Americans, I have worked at a McDonald's.  The day I got my driver's license at age 16, I applied to the McD's on Naper Blvd., down the road from my home in Naperville, Illinois.  The policy may have changed in the intervening years, but when I was a teenager, new recruits were shunted into one of two job paths: cook or cashier.  Since I was a somewhat scrawny, dermatologically-challenged young lad, it was no surprise I was assigned to work in back as a cook.

I thought I was ready for my first day.  I had met with the manager, I had toured the restaurant and I had watched all of the requisite training videos.  As with its other procedures, McDonald's has a "tried and true" training program which it has refined to an amazingly systematic approach.  Like the Army, McDonald's does not deviate from its systematic training approach.  New cooks, therefore, are assigned to the Filet o' Fish station.  This makes sense, as the fryer is generally easier to maintain than the burger grill, and because less people order Filet o' Fish than other sandwiches.  Unless, however, it is a day like my first day: On a Friday.  During Lent season.  In a town with a high Catholic population.  On such a day, Filet o' Fish is the most popular item on the menu...

I was a pretty tough kid, but I wanted to cry.  The Filet o' Fish machine was capable of making four filets at a time.  Families were ordering them by the dozens.  I was sweating, frantic and harried.  The manager would buzz in on the intercom at my station like a Bizarro world Captain Kirk demanding, "More fish!"  Like a poor man's Scotty I would reply (albeit without a Scottish accent): "I'm making them as fast as I can!  If I put any more in, the fryer's going to blow!"  That first shift was one of the worst 4 hour blocks of my life.

So, relating back to strengths: McDonald's is great at systematized procedures- They are one of the company's major assets.  But even a strength must be utilized in context.   So, for 2013, I will focus on utilizing my talents... except when I shouldn't!

Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

More Fish! LOL, evidently the manager hadn't worked on a Friday during Lent :) As a good catholic girl I could have offered some council. Suggested.

Jan 24, 2013 05:31 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Thanks, Nancy!  And Happy New Year to you!  :)

Jan 24, 2013 05:40 AM
Dave Sullivan
Real Estate One - Birmingham, MI
Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint

funny story Andrew,  when I was a kid I would always order the fish sandwich with out tarter sauce it would take 15 min to make and most of my family members would be done by the time I got to eat...  thanks for being on the call last week.  

Jan 24, 2013 06:14 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Thanks, Dave- I'm looking forward to being part of the MMLA.  Thank you for inviting me!

Jan 24, 2013 06:29 AM
marti garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, WordPress consultant

Jan 24, 2013 08:17 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Andrew: My mantra? I am too old to start something I don't want to do. Period. Never having been a shy violet, as the saying goes, there is little that I haven't done in my life that I haven't done. And successfully. But there are lots of things I don't need to do AGAIN. New Year's Resolutions always sounded more like a "crash diet", they never work. Thankfully, that's a problem I don't have. So, no real New Year's Resolutions. Mine is a plan such as "go to Hawaii soonest to visit grandkids". No problem. In business? Get more clients to the closing table. Working on it. Get more listings. Working on it. Etc. 

Jan 24, 2013 08:51 AM
CONTACT janeAnne365@gmail.com

HEY! I need more relish for that filet while you're at it- Congrats on getting Sharp Cookied and loved reading your story!  Keep writing. I'm smilin =)

Jan 24, 2013 01:17 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Marti: My first Sharp Cookie of 2013, Thank you!  Happy New Year!  :)

Hella: Thanks for the feedback!  I like your plan to go to Hawaii- Happy New Year!  :)

janeAnne: Thank you so much!  Happy New Year to you!  :)

Jan 24, 2013 08:15 PM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Andrew - ah, those first jobs; they teach us valuable lessons in humility. Something teenagers really need ;) Have a great 2013. Glad you're back.

Jan 24, 2013 09:03 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Thank you, Toni!  Glad to be back- I hope you have a great 2013, too!  :)

Jan 25, 2013 12:08 AM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Thank you for sharing the post with all of us. There were many lessons to be learned from your post.

Let's make 2013 the best year ever!

Jan 25, 2013 12:31 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Joe: Thank you for the feedback- I hope you have a phenomenal 2013, too!  :)

Jan 25, 2013 12:40 AM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I love your blog posts - especially, the personal anecdotes thrown in with the business lessons you want to impart. Talk about getting thrown in the trenches! If those first 4 hours didn't discourage you, probably, nothing ever will.

Jan 30, 2013 02:26 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Jill: Thank you so much for the feedback- I really appreciate it, especially since I enjoy your posts, too!

Jan 30, 2013 03:12 AM