07 Jan 2020: The Car’s Still There
I drove Volvos for years; a somewhat cool, yet logical choice in cars. Then one day I tried to pass a garbage truck, just as the driver was making an unsignaled left turn. Bam. The car did what Volvo promised it would do, crumpled up around me in an envelope of safe and sound. No seatbelt. No airbag. No injury. Just really good, life-saving engineering.
I went to reorder my now totaled car, only to find out it would be 8 to 12 weeks before I could get the same model and color. That’s when brand loyalty went out the window, and the BMW salesman persuaded me into a 1987 528e. This always-wanted-one came with a very hefty discount because that configuration was basically a dog in BMW clothing, and BMW wanted to rid the sales lot of these efficient rubber-belted ETA engines.
At first, I was on the receiving end of a little grief from my narrow-minded associates for owning the Ultimate Driving Machine. At the time, BMW did not enjoy the US market share it does today. The roundel badge above the kidney-shaped grill was a symbol of luxury. My argument in owning that much car went something like this:
“Let me tell something about that car. That car is in the office parking lot long before you finish your Fruit Loops; it’s still there when you get back home to your sweet baby’s arms. That car rarely leaves the lot at noon, and chances are you’ll see it there Saturday morning on your way to the course. What’s more, I’ll likely put two or three sets of replacement tires on that car before I even think of buying a new one.”
The defense rests, your honor.
Which brings me to the core of my 2020 resolution: show up. The car in the parking lot remains a simple manifestation of a basic business philosophy: show up. Granted it’s not very sexy, doesn’t sell management books or fill the success columns of leadership blogs. But it works. Woody Allen said it, “80% of success is showing up.” Mark Twain hinted at it, with success is doing what others don’t always want to do. Einstein said it another way with the whole 90% perspiration thing.
Many employers, especially in the service business, are very frustrated by the current population of job seekers who don’t consider showing up to be a deal-breaker. Me, I’ll stick with it.