Changing the World

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

-Mother Teresa

We talk a lot about making an impact, leading missions, driving innovation, accomplishing business goals, and building teams. We all wear a lot of hats – business development, project management, technical delivery, financial controls, client management, volunteering with sports, church, community and…the list goes on and on.

But the most important roles are the ones right in front of us – our families. If we wear ourselves out running through walls to “change the world” and miss out on the opportunity to impact our own families, we have failed. 

So, this week, I have three challenges for us (you and me). Send me a note on LinkedIn if you accomplish any of them.

1. If you are married or dating, book your date night for Valentine’s Day. I don’t care if it’s the Thursday before or the Tuesday after. Pro tip: going out on the 14th is chaos. It’s more thoughtful if you prepare the meal yourself at home. We aren’t viewing Valentine’s Day as an event; we are viewing it as the first step in developing a habit. Book your date night and then block that night on your calendar every week from now on. You have recurring project meetings for key priorities, right? Let’s get our personal key priorities booked in the same way. 

2. If you have kids, do the same  – calendar a reoccurring event with them. If you don’t have kids, do you have parents around? Grandkids? What is a ritual that you can do with them weekly, bi-weekly, or at the very least, monthly? Game night? Donuts on Sunday morning?  Chocolate chip pancakes for dinner and a movie? This is a separate date. Avoid trying to merge family time and spouse/partner time. They are different relationships and require different attention.

3. Sharpening the Saw. You’ve probably heard the parable about sharpening the saw. I first heard it told by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Two people set out to see who could cut down the most trees in a forest. We will call them Project Manager A and Project Manager B. They both set out into the forest, cutting down trees. PM A is chopping away and keeps looking over, and PM B is sitting on a stump. This motivates PM A to chop harder, saying to themselves, “watch me get ahead.” This goes on for an entire day, and eventually, they count the results. PM A cut down fewer trees than PM B cut down. PM A exclaims, “How could you have cut down more trees? You’ve been sitting around taking breaks all day!” PM B exclaims, “I wasn’t taking breaks. I was sharpening my saw.” The moral of the story is to take the time to sharpen the saw – maybe it’s in the form of exercise or nutrition, maybe it’s faith and spirituality, maybe it’s academic advancement, or maybe it’s just better sleep. 

As January comes to an end, where are you on those resolutions? What habit are you taking on next or what habit do you need to revisit? How can you sharpen the saw?  

This email is a Nike nudge to”Just do it.”We are all doing our best to juggle the balls, wear the hats and do all the little things. COVID interrupted our lives, and we’ve been fighting to re-establish a battle rhythm (to steal an Army term). Use this as an opportunity to assess your calendar, your week, your month and your year. Plan your priorities, and then work on your plan. It’s not worth winning at work if we aren’t winning at home.  

Snow is coming here in the Philly area, so I am heading home to make memories with the kids. 

BJ Kraemer, President

What Does Your P&L Look Like?

“Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.”
-Peter Strople

Have you ever had to give a eulogy?

Correction: Have you ever had the honor of giving a eulogy?

I wrote that sentence over because when you first are asked this question, it sparks feelings like “I can’t do him/her justice” and “I can’t keep myself together.”
It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also one of the greatest honors I’ve ever been given. Capturing a person’s life, the moments that defined your relationship with them, and your perception of who they were is difficult. Telling stories of fun times, challenges overcome, or the never talked about defining moments of your relationship that only you experienced with them. Somehow those stories and moments touch everyone, not because they were there, but because they see the same character traits in their memories of the lost loved one. 

Who is giving your eulogy? What stories are they telling? What character traits are they highlighting?   

If you’ve never thought about this, do this exercise. Write your own eulogy. Or, if you feel bold, write one based on the life you’ve already lived and another as if you’ve lived to your target age of 156.

There is no set formula or format. Maybe you open with a quote – by you or someone else – that you think defines who you were. A starting point might be to jot down some memories. Proudest moments? Most challenging? Funniest stories? Most loving or generous moments? Most importantly, who did you help throughout your life, and how did you help them? Or like in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, how might those lives be different if you weren’t around?

We may measure businesses based on Profit and Loss statements (P&Ls). But when it comes to leadership, P&L = People and Legacy. 

How are you Inspiring People & Places?

BJ Kraemer, President

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action

“Everything gets harder if you start going on and on about how hard it is.”

-N.D. Wilson

Two weeks into the year…how are those goals? Resolutions?  

Or was that all talk?  

John Maxwell tells the story of a young man that comes up to him after a conference and announces to John that he wants to do what he does. So, John asks him the question, “Would you like to do what I did, so you can do what I do?”


John goes on, “You see, we want to do what they do, but we don’t want to did what they did. And what we don’t understand is if we don’t did what they did, we don’t get to do what they do, because the do is what people see, but it was the did that made us who we are. Without the did, you don’t get the do, and without the did, you’re just in deep dodo.”

I love a good quote (you think?), and I believe that words are a powerful tool. From music to movies and books to bedtime stories, words can inspire, or they can divide. They can build up, or they can tear down. They can forgive an old enemy, or they can create a new one. Words can tell a love story, a war story, a fairy tale or a fable.

The words we use matter.  

The words that are inside of our heads, the words that come out of our mouths, and the words that are typed with our fingers. What we say and how we say it has power. So, let’s use them wisely and positively. 

But remember, words can’t take action unless we do.  

So, what’s the next action on that goal you set for the year? That resolution you made? 

As John Maxwell said, “Without the did, you don’t get the do.”

Take action. This time next year you will wish you did.

BJ Kraemer, President

Inspiring People & Places: Episode 24

Title: “How Great Leadership Shapes Culture with Army Veteran, COL (Ret.) Mike Ellicott, Founder & Professional EOS Implementer at Castle6 Group Inc.”

Episode Summary:

BJ sits down with Army Veteran COL (Ret) Mike Ellicott, to discuss his journey from the Army to helping leaders shape culture in the AEC industry, as a professional EOS implementer.

Let us know what you think of today’s episode by messaging BJ on LinkedIn here.

Host: BJ Kraemer, MCFA

Special Guest: COL (Ret.) Mike Ellicott, Castle6 Group Inc.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

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Click here to listen online.