Finally caught a breath today and felt like was on top of things again.   Many of the small things got cleared away, emails got returned, days got planned and chunks of time got setup for strategic stuff.

The morning, I had my first personal training session with Sunny.  As planned, starting off very slowly, 2 days a week in the gym and 2 days a week cardio at home.    Its  been a year since I left the Singapore hospital and just now I feel like I’m in a place where my energy is back to work out my body.    It was a first session, and Sunny took it easy on me, which was great, but nevertheless, getting back into fitness still hard.  So, I expect next little while to be challenging BUT despite the very easy workout – the effects of it I felt over the whole course of the day.  Perhaps the combination of taking a break last night, getting up early and then training was what it took BUT it seems like the whole day flowed perfectly.

So, from business side, had a great meeting with a trainer that will help launch our Corporate training for 2010.   The plan is that as we start on boarding people we need to have orientations, lead ins, guidance, etc.   As I look at the staffing on boarding that will be needed over next few years, I feel I’m just at the right time to start this.  My budget is not huge, but still I’m putting dollars into this, because in 6 months when we onboard 10 or 12 people, the payback will be huge.   I’m looking for a combination of skill assessment, current staff development plan, HR framework for on boarding and executive training.   The issue with training setup is that it is infrastructure based, and as such the return on this investment comes at least 1 year down the road.  BUT, instinctively I know that I needed this – otherwise my growth and scaling will not move forward.  I had a block on my org chart for a training department for 3 years now – so it feel great to finally fill in this blank.  The other exciting thing about this is now I will be able to offer my current leads, training and growth in a structured way.  

I read Drucker 2 years ago and his suggestion for growing companies was to build your management team from within, and to start 2 years before you need them in place.   With what I had at that time, I did that  and gave the guys that had leadership potential opportunity to show themselves and develop.  They did.  BUT not in a formal way, so now, they have experience, lessons and ideas about things they may have issues with.   Brining in training for them at this point, I feel, will give them a huge boost in their knowledge.  Another words, they are ready for this, and I’m excited to see what will happen when I give them the tools to turn on their potential (that they may not even 100% realize they have).  I think it will be magic.

Beyond that, Mossy has started as my consulting CFO and he has been fabulous.  He is brining in beautiful things to the table, self starting, organize and moving forward.  Today we went over the budgets for 2010 and forecasts.  This ties into the tax planning for CN companies, hiring budgets, etc.   PearlsOnly business is quite predictable now, but new ventures are still unproven in terms of volumes, etc.  so we have to make some assumptions in terms of what will be needed.   Nevertheless, I think in less than a week I will have a 2010 budget – and that will allow me to plan, schedule and move quickly forward with growth.

Cash flow is a bit tight, but that is not a bad thing as it just forces us to keep on looking for savings, better way to do things and to remain smart and on the edge.   

Now that I’m caught up, I have tomorrow scheduled out in chunks of time for strategic work (high value).

Side note – my new housekeeper has shown her self with a lot of capabilities – and so as I have been looking for ways to free up my time – I’m thinking now of moving her into the office full time as my 100% PA – freeing up Eileen to focus on HR, recruiting, training.   I would potentially keep the old housekeeping (that I had such a heartache in letting go) – and have Julia – the PA manage her.   If anything, it would be great to keep the old (not in age) house keeper on – kind of feel like she is part of the family – so some guilt would be relieved here too.

My goal here would be to have Julia start screening my emails, schedule, house things, etc.   Anything that is low value and non-strategic I would move over to Julia.   Just like my gut feel with Jessica was – (my feel for that fact that she would be excellent at Op’s manager) – I have the same feeling about Julia.  So, will trust my instinct on this again – and will move forward.

Goal will be to give myself more time for strategic projects AND also time to have a more balanced life, while moving the company through a HIGH growth period.  Another words, my challenge is NOT only to grow the business BUT to grow it in such a way that the growth does not consume my life.     Feels like I’m on the right track and outsourcing the ‘daily’ things is the key.   Will see what the future blogs show. 🙂

As a side note – I’m noticing that these blog posts are very useful for me – they force me into a daily reflection mode – where I look back on each day and see what could have been done better.  So, in a way, this blog is giving me a feedback loop on how I did each day, and its giving me a nice adjusting mechanism to refocus and rethink on how to make the next day, next week better. Super powerful tool.