Time and Perspective

Look around your company and think about life in this perspective:  What time zone or time warp is everybody living in? I don’t mean geographically. I’m speaking of knowing what perspective is witnessed and experienced based on job duties.

I recall when it dawned on me that my staff lived in different times, and I, as the owner, was required to be present in all of them. I was the owner and manager of an RV park.

  • Wearing the customer service hat (answering the phones and greeting those who came in to shop) meant living in the present or the ‘now’ world.
  • Taking reservations meant living in the future, projecting how best to book sites to optimize both our upcoming campsite occupancy and provide the best experience for the guest.
  • Wearing the marketing hat meant living in the future (what Independence Day specials should we create? Or, even though it’s snowing out, how and where should we be to encourage summer camping?).
  • As the bookkeeper, it was a split-personality time warp. You lived in the past (balancing books and paying invoices that were from past purchases), the present (invoicing, and ensuring proper funds in the accounts), and the future (projecting our cash flow to handle the upcoming months).
  • Those doing janitorial services were living more in the past (who made this mess?!).
  • Maintenance workers tried to live in the future in the sense that it is easier to maintain things before they break, or to be prepared with replacement parts. Resolving unexpected developments could bring greater challenges. Quality maintenance crews seek solutions before problems arise.
  • Year-end analysis put you in the past.
  • New-year preparations and planning put you into the future.
  • At the end of the day, you weren’t sure what just ended but you fell asleep before your head hit the pillow, and when morning came it mattered not whether it was a Sunday or a Thursday … it was merely another day to do it all over again!

Perspective plays a significant role in how we see our businesses. I hope to never forget a lesson I learned very quickly one year. I’d grown weary of being in the office day after day, year after year, so one season I chose to hire extra indoors staff so I could delegate myself to some outdoors maintenance. This began in May. By the first of July I was telling my neighbor how my park was just pathetic, falling apart all around me, and what in the world was wrong with this season! I was frustrated, irritated, and downright fed up!

He calmly pointed out to me that my business was in better condition than the past year, and everything was actually in fine shape, but what was different was my perspective. I was no longer in the office hearing all of the laughter, all of the compliments, and all of the cheerfulness, as well as to hear the issues and complaints. Instead, I had positioned myself to only be drawn in for the issues and complaints that others were unable to resolve without my input. I was only hearing the worst of the worst and none of the great, good, or OK.

WOW, was I ever happy I shared my misery with that friend! The next day staff and I adjusted our roles. We managed to find a better balance for everybody! We all gained a little fresh air and solitude, while we still managed to get in a bit of the office time.

Consider this. Will shifting duties around a little give everybody a better balanced perspective? I recommend you consider this.



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4 thoughts on “Time and Perspective

  1. I never though of it in this “perspective” but I find the same to be true. When ever I can, I spend a day just wheeling around like Forrest Gump on my riding lawn mower. It gives me such a sense of satisfaction but soon I realize it’s a bit much for me after several hours under the TX sun. Soon the bookkeeping that bored me was looking much more attractive. As you mentioned I see this same situation with staff (which I very seldom have.) Nice to know I’m not the only one. Change is often a good thing.

    • I’m so glad you commented! Yes, I agree about change being a good thing. And I know what it’s like to seldom have staff. That’s how it was for me, and it always kept me bouncing between past, present and future! But I had helpers every summer and that was when I really noticed how varied the perceptions could be (aside from personality differences, since that also factors in!).

      Again, thanks for chiming in!

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