I love summer- and I especially love the air of nostalgia that comes with late summer. Come August; memories come flooding back to me.
My dad died nine years ago, and one of the things he loved was August in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he lived. Many of you may know that is when the Saratoga Racetrack runs…or as my dad would say, “time for the ponies to come to town.”
I learned numerous lessons from my dad, but one important one was in that special August month. Always do your background work!!! This meant in horse racing to get the newspapers and pink sheets the night before to see who was racing the next day. The rider, the owner, the horse, previous wins…he knew it all. To my dad, this was far less about betting as it was about understanding the mechanics of what it takes to be successful. As we all know, sometimes you can have the fastest horse but just not win the race.
As I think about my work life, these August lessons are so important. Every important meeting or conversation I have had HAS always been better when I do my homework. Who am I talking to? What do they think or know about this topic? Why should they care? Simple questions that allow us to be so much more productive when we communicate. It can be so easy to go from meeting to meeting and not take even a few minutes to ground yourself in a little background info. Sometimes you may get it right, but in the long run, every relationship you have will be better with this small investment of time!