March Vinyl Acquisitions

I actually made it a month without buying any records!  Of course, I was recovering from illness and working through the 2,000 records I bought in January, plus it was the shortest month of the year, and I had a couple business trips (photos from one coming soon!), but the fact remains I didn’t buy any vinyl in February.  I had worked down the January acquisitions to less than 100 records to process, which included clearing one of my two shelves of about 150 records that were “in queue” to be listened to as well.  So overall, a good month for working through my acquisitions, and I felt like I had reclaimed much of my available space in the man cave.

I made up for it in the last 8 days, buying about 825 records, of which about 75 are “junk”. Of the 750 I like, about 475 are mostly Motown and soul, and the other 275 are classic rock.  They’re currently sitting in 9 crates and boxes, so all of that available space I created in February is about gone.

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9 boxes of vinyl remaining after sorting out the “junk”…

The group of classic rock is fairly spectacular in my opinion.    It came after the Motown collection, and Mrs. Outspoken’s response after I received the call about the collection was “Really?   You have all these albums yet to clean and listen to, and you’re buying more?!?!”

Yep.  I gotta buy when the opportunity arises.  I went 7 weeks or so with nothing, so buying 2 collections in a little over a week might seem a little over the top, but both were great deals at under $1 per album.

So what makes the collection of rock so great?  How about 4 Zeppelin, 4 Pink Floyd, 4 David Bowie, 4 Allman Brothers, 3 Beatles, and 20 Bob Dylan for starters?    Other artists with multiple albums include Van Morrison, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Steeley Dan, Springsteen, Foreigner, Rush, Yes, Kansas, CCR, ELP, Grand Funk, Heart, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, the Cars, and Aerosmith.  It’s basically a compendium of 70’s and 80’s radio rock music, including some of the softer folk-ish tunes, with none of the pop-disco stuff.

Then there’s some oddball stuff too – stuff I just don’t see. The Butterfield Blues Band, Steve Hackett, Kate Bush, Patti Smith,  Nektar, and some Christian praise stuff by 2nd Book of Acts and Phil Keaggy.  Honestly, I could probably enjoy listening to about 80% of this collection, and if it comprised my entire collection, it would represent probably 60% of what I’d want to have.  Basically, the guy who assembled this collection and I had similar tastes.  🙂

One of my favorite finds so far has been an album from The Monroes.  It’s an EP, only 5 songs, and it was their only album.  I really enjoy it.  Definitely and 80’s sound, but 80’s guitar, not the electronic stuff.

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It was missing a lot of Beatles (but hey, it has Abbey Road), Hendrix, and some of the psychedelic stuff I like, but overall, it’s a great collection in my opinion.   I’m sure I’ll find enough titles to cover my costs, but I think I’ll be keeping a much higher percentage of this collection than normal.

Both of these collections came through my previous contacts; the albums are finding me at times!  It’s also part of why i got the deal I did on them.  I’ve treated the sellers fairly, and they’re active collectors, so I was in a way helping each of them move a large quantity of records quickly.    I also agree to buy them all, and don’t get into cherry picking the collection  or nit-picking on the condition of certain albums.

The way you treat people is important in life and business.  Over the course of my career, I’ve always been focused on process improvement; how to find ways to do “it” better.  It hasn’t really mattered what “it” is, as the basic problem solving methodology of Lean works anywhere (at least I’ve yet to find an application where it doesn’t).  While some people call me an efficiency expert, I look at it more as improving the overall performance of the teams and systems of an organization.    We change the system to change the result, and coach the people through the systemic changes.  But it’s about more than results; for the changes to stick, it’s also about behaviors.

As we change the behaviors and systems to produce different results, we start changing beliefs within the organization.  What happens when the shared beliefs of an organization change?  One, we change the future of that organization.  Two, we have created a culture change.

How’s all this tie into me buying arguably too much vinyl?  Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first.  But for one, I buy with no fear of spending too much, because I have a several year track record of all my hobbies actually producing money.  I have the tax returns to prove it.  🙂 Plus, I’m spending cash that has come from the hobbies.

Therefore, I believe, as does Mrs. Outspoken – even if not as completely as me – that I’m not being irresponsible or delaying our objectives, because in the end I actually contribute towards those shared  objectives from my hobbies.   And I believe I’ve done so buy dealing appropriately with others, and the evidence of that is the number of opportunities that tend to find me.

Second, since there was so much David Bowie in the one collection, would be this album:

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A line from the song Changes is perhaps the foundation of the best inspiration I can think to provide today:

“These children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”

No matter what it is you’re trying to do or achieve, there are often people who will try to hold you back, make you feel like it’s too hard, not worth it, or even impossible.  Don’t listen to them.  Act responsibly and with intention, treat people with dignity and respect,  but be courageous at the same time.   You can’t do what everyone else thinks you should do and still achieve the greatness that is within you.

Great things aren’t done by being average.

 

 

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Respect for People

Temple of Saturn
Temple of Saturn

A colleague of mine was venting some frustrations last week.  Apparently she had spent 5 hours providing information and slides for a presentation to be used during what was expected to be a 3-hour meeting.  When she received the final deck of slides she discovered none of her information was included.  She almost quit on the spot, and at the minimum she was not productive the remainder of that day.

Here’s a talented young leader of a multi-national company that spent 20% of her week doing something that didn’t matter.  In fact, she said the meeting was mostly a waste of her time as well.  What could I say?  All I could do was to get her focused on the positives of the week, and to have her learn from that scenario as something to never do to her team.  I pointed out she can learn just as much from a bad boss as she can from a good one.

I speak with this colleague often – she’s in a tough situation.  Mary works for a boss that seems to have little respect for her employees.  Meetings called with little to no notice, 0r even being called into a meeting mid-way through the meeting only to be peppered by questions.  Again with no notice.  Most of the team has limited contact with their boss outside of meetings (in fact a few have only spoken with the direct manager twice in 6 months).  Ideas are challenged and criticized to the point that most of the team has stopped offering suggestions.  And worst of all, about 75% of the senior members of that team have left the company.

Mary seems to be in the middle of one of those scenarios where people don’t quit the company, they quit their boss.  It takes a lot of effort to build a good team.  But an unfortunate result of having a talented and motivated group is that when bad leadership is put in place the members of that team are very mobile.  They can leave relatively quickly, and most of them won’t suffer fools for long.  If you see an exodus from a team, look at the leadership first.

In his book “The Rise and Fall of Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp”, Brian Solis writes of the cultural undoing of Sony as the company switched leadership from  Akio Morita to Noboyuki Idei.  When I worked for Sony, I met both men personally.  And I can say that in the first year of Idei-san’s tenure as CEO the company changed dramatically.  A great organization was being dismantled, and I had a front-row seat for the beginning phases.

The company transitioned rapidly to a one that treated employees like family to one that treated them like resources.  Sony had never laid workers off until Idei took the reigns.  Regardless of what was written in corporate documents, respect for employees was no longer a key value.  I left the company within a year.

Five years later, I had the opportunity to tour my old factory.  It was depressing.  Out of 500 or so people in the building, I recognized only three.  It used to be a gleaming facility, now it looked like little more than a dusty warehouse with trash strewn everywhere.  Yet they were still producing product.  Instead of making $100 million in profit each year they were losing money.  It took seven years to build that team from nothing to greatness.  But it only took months to tear it down and leave it in ruins.

I’ll be surprised if Mary doesn’t leave her organization within three months.  In fact I’m doing what I can to help her find an exit plan.  People are an organization’s  most important asset.  Every day as a leader, you have the opportunity to show your respect – or lack thereof – for your team.  So ask yourself “How would I feel if someone did this to me?”  Don’t ask your team to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

Have any of you ever felt disrespected by or worked for a bad manager?  How did you react?  What long-term impact did that “bad boss” have on you?