Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We Now Return You to Our Regularly-Scheduled Program, Already in Progress

It’s been two weeks since I blogged, my longest hiatus in some time. I would like to tell the things that have happened to make that pause necessary, but somehow this isn’t the time. Perhaps it will dribble out over the next while.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table feeding Life cereal to my 10-month-old, Nathaniel, and it’s 6:30am. He’s been up for an hour, torturing his mother, who has gotten sick from lack of sleep and a massive onslaught of kid germs, so she’s back in bed and it’s my turn. This suits me, as I’ve been awake for half an hour thinking about the potential ramifications of a 67-point drop in the credit score of one of our clients. Maybe the deal will still work. Maybe not. Should I care that much?

Nevertheless, I do.

We’ll be making some changes here at the Group over the next few weeks. There will be new faces, old faces in new places; the Group is growing and changing, going after new markets and altering our approach to old ones. We’ve never done any advertising, and that might change this year. We’ve decided to double our business in 2007, which is going to require new methods and systems, a new image, and especially new ways of thinking and acting on the part of Chris Jones.

I’m not a good businessman. I never have been. My father before me was not, neither was his father. Businessmen have to care more about the success of the business than they do about the feelings of the people that work there, including themselves. That’s a hurdle I haven’t successfully jumped. I try to collaborate where I should be leading. I put off execution where I know feathers will get ruffled. I have come to realize this to be profoundly selfish – it does my employees, my partners and my friends no good to allow bad decisions to stand just because changing them will cause short-term headaches. The wound has to be washed out and bandaged. Hurts like crazy. Still has to be done, or the long-term effects will be greatly worse.

I have killed businesses that way, through inaction.

Not this one.

We’ve built something here, and I do mean WE have built something, everyone who has participated in the journey so far. The Group has become more than a mortgage operation, more than a place to find money for a house. We’ve become moderately successful. It’s time to drop the “moderately”.

We’ll be expanding our line of seminars to include credit and investment. We’ll be purchasing a building in Lehi to serve as our permanent base of operations. We’ll start showing up at trade shows and other events of that nature. Heck, we might even have a logo or something, although that seems pretty radical to me.

The Chris Jones Group has always been about having conversations with our clients, doing for them whatever it takes to help them reach their dreams. I was interviewing someone the other day and he asked me what I get out of this business, as in, why this instead of selling widgets or whatever? I hadn’t thought about it, at least not for some while. But my answer was this – I am a gardener by nature. I love to help things grow. I love to take bare soil, add water and sunshine and seeds and see living things come up. A gardener is a creator, and like all gardeners, I love to create beautiful things. With this business, through the creation of beautiful things for our clients, we also can create something beautiful and lasting for ourselves.

We’ve done pretty well. We will do better.

Watch this space, as they say, for more.


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