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The Next Level, The Recession, Good Meetings
In working with a coaching client this week, I was forced to take an aggressive stance on an issue when his mind was prone to wander. He wanted to ponder the future, to explore the hallows of his mind in what could be. He wanted to play the “what if?” game as if he had just bought a lottery ticket. Fine, maybe it’s a useful exercise for some, to exercise their dreaming muscle. But not for long, and not when I’m billing you by the hour.
“Your job is to move your company from this stage to the next stage. Nothing else,” I told him and he was a bit crestfallen. That’s ok, he has a therapist and she’ll make him feel better. He doesn’t pay me to do that, he pays me to “make straight the path.”
When I work with CEOs, we spend a good amount of time GPSing them to see what stage of development they’re in today. Most people don’t know that organic things — and companies definitely count as organic things — exist in strata of development. Infants grow to be babies, then toddlers, then kids, then teens (ugh!), then young adults and so forth. No one encourages toddlers to think about their retirement plans, we wouldn’t stand for that. We want them to work on being good toddlers.
But when it comes to companies, the rules seem different. The best CEOs understand that their company has a path of development and the CEO builds the cultural vision, recruits the team, and funds the growth to that next stage of development. Then she can sit back and decide whether she’s the person to lead it to the next phase of development or if she has a different role to play.
This is an extremely liberating concept. Focusing your actual productive work on the things that most need accomplishing and letting the rest slide means that you can move the needle and stay on purpose. Business owners who do that are the ones who win.
“You are the author of your own life, and its never too late to replace the stories you tell yourself and the world.”
Two huge thing happened this week in the economy and I haven’t heard a single economist talking head mention either one.
First, the M2 money supply dipped below zero bar for the first time since the Great Depression. This means that the growth of cash and convertiable-to-cash assets is negative. It means liquidity is drying up and it’s the result of the Fed’s unreasonable and hostile rate of interest rate raises over the past 12 months. Every time in history that M2 has dipped below zero a recession has followed within months. Usually it’s measured at -2. The Great Depression was a -12. We are currently sitting at -4. That’s a predictor of how deep and long the recession that inevitably follows will be. If the Depression was 10 years at a 12, that means this recession could be 3 years long and that’s a really long recession historically.
Second, the 10 year Treasury Rate just eclipsed the composite cap rate yield for real estate. That means that you can take your cash, invest in a close to risk-free 10 Year Treasury note for the same return you can get by buying and holding a piece of investment real estate, or 4.6%. This will encourage a great many investors to hold bonds in the near-term to see how the economy works itself out of the inflation problems of the COVID overspending debacle.
For the first time in my adult life, bonds become a meaningful part of my portfolio and here’s the trick. If I buy the 10 year today and the Fed works magic over the next 3 recessionary years and cuts the inflation rate in half, then bond yields must also decrease. So people coming into the market for high interest instruments will over to pay me more money for my bonds that are paying higher rates of return. I then sell those bonds at a profit after having used the cashflow from them, and then invest those proceeds into real estate whose prices by-and-large will not increase meaningfully during the recession.
“You must be willing to give away what you wish to receive yourself. What you think the world is withholding from you, you may just be withholding from the world.”
I’m constantly surprised by how many people get away with running such poor meetings. The most productive person I ever worked for divided her meetings into 4 sections:
For Your Review. Largely these are topics with an update, reporting on recurring items, and policies that we want everyone’s specific attention on. These items affect everyone.
“October is Cyber-Security Awareness month. Each week we will review a piece of our cyber policy. This week let’s talk about phishing emails.”
“We’ve closed the books on September and our profitability was 29%, triggering a contribution into the profit sharing plan for the first time in 3 months.”
For Your Information. These are specific items that we want everyone to know when it becomes necessary to know. These items affect some people, or affect you only when certain things happen.
“The lobby is being painted on Monday, park around back.”
“Gillian is out for 2 weeks, send me an email directly if you want calendar time.”
For Our Discussion. These are specific items that we are seeking input and active discussion around from the participants in the meeting.
“The Hurricane leveled the venue for our Christmas party, so I’m looking for ideas on places that can provide a seated dinner for 32 people.”
“I’m considering revamping the way we onboard new employees in the Client Success channel. For those of you who have been through that recently, what things do you think most need to change to make it more effective and useful to a new person on the team?”
For Our Decision. These are either items that need a consensus-based decision, or is an informational item where a decision has been reached.
“After hearing the discussion on office hours and remote work, I’ve decided that remote workers are required to be available between 8 and 5, just like office-based workers.”
“By a show of hands, who agrees that we can cancel the next all-hands meeting on November 3?”
Notes are taken on the meeting and posted to a shared resource like Google Docs so that everyone can review, as necessary.