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Here we go: Success and Failure

What do success and risk have in common?

My wife and I own several swim schools in central Texas. Last year, we provided more than 200,000 swim lessons at our five facilities. We helped a lot of kids grow stronger and more comfortable in and around the water.  It was a very successful year of providing more lessons to more children than ever.

We also had a very risky year.  We demolished and rebuilt one of our five swim school at the same time we were building a brand new school. 

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Four Leadership Reflections from a Snow Day in Austin

house covered in snow

It snowed in Austin on Sunday. Real snow. For hours. If you are from the Midwest or Mountain States, what we had may not qualify as “real snow” in your opinion. But for us, the flurries swirled for 6+ hours and the local weather reporting station declared an inch-and-a-half of total snowfall between 9a and 3p. Several Austin suburbs recorded 5 inches or more.

Such fun! We’ve lived in Austin for more than 20 years.

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3 Keys to Leading in Times of Disruption

My wife and I live urban.  Several years ago, we were privileged to downsize and  move into one of the oldest close-in neighborhoods in Austin.  We live in a tiny stone cottage – one of the few stone houses remaining – three miles directly west of Austin’s downtown.  We love how accessible Austin’s downtown has become for us with its restaurants, coffee shops and various goings-ons.  Which leads me to this picture of our more-than-80-year-old house with a disruptive technology in front of it.

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It Started Under the Porch

front porch drawing

Redford was getting on my nerves. Let me explain.

When we adopted Redford, we lived in a home that had a large porch descending into the backyard. The steps were 12 feet wide and provided not just steps down to the yard, but a place to sit when we had poolside get-togethers in our backyard. My wife and I always liked how wide the steps were – they made a graceful transition from our house to our yard.

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“The Poorer The Soil, The Richer The Wine”

Several years ago my wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary by taking a 10-day trip to France.  We started with three days in Paris, then spent a week on a small cruise ship on the Seine River.

During the river cruise, we spent several days in the area of Provencal, which is the beautiful wine country of southern France.  One of the side trips we took on this cruise was to a vineyard and wine cellar or “cave” as they call them in France.

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The Discipline of Market Leaders

andy and lynn aqua-tots owners

Our 2-year-old daughter was one of the original Aqua-Tots when “Mr. Ron” the lifeguard showed up in our backyard to team swim lessons for her and a number of other children from our church and the neighborhood.

Fast forward 26 years later, and:

  • Our daughter is grown, married and the Regional Marketing Manager for a national chain of upscale burger restaurants. Her territory includes Texas and several western states.

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The Problem Of Micromanagement

Good leaders understand at the end of the day, they are accountable for their business.

Good leaders also understand that to grow a successful business, they can’t do it all. We need the skills and talents of others. That means trusting the people to whom we delegate responsibility.

What happens when we delegate, but don’t trust?

It’s called micromanagement.

After years in corporate food services management, “Beth” took early retirement and bought a franchise business in the restaurant industry.

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Leadership Hyperopia: the good and bad of it

Leadership and Farsightedness.

According to the American Optometric Association, “Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which distant objects can be seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus.”

I’ve been told I think big-picture. While I don’t consider myself a natural-born visionary, I like to think in broad swaths.  What could be possible?  What are the big implications if we could?  

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