Montana is a beautiful state and i have been fortunate to call it home for the last 20 months. I had the privilege of working with some terrific people on my team at The Resort at Paws Up and see the property enter a new and exciting phase as a premier experiential resort, rich in natural beauty and teeming with enthusiastic staff and activities guides. Guests from all over the world regularly complimented us on a unique and satisfying experience that typically fell way outside of their usual comfort zone, and I got to wear jeans and boots to work every day!
I have now moved on and returned to Canada, closer to my wife's family and to pursue my love of training and development by resurrecting Immersive Communication, a company I started 15+ years ago.
I believe I have built my reputation over the years in creating and enhancing great teams and so I plan on leveraging the skills and experience I have gained by offering programs to other service-based companies. In addition to my signature Captain Quality program, I am certified to teach Emotional Intelligence, Myers Briggs Type Indicator and am passionate about wine education (as a Certified Wine Educator and Specialist of Wine). My years at Kohler exposed me to many opportunities for Business Process Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, all of which are in my toolbox. I will be enhancing all of my training and development programs with mobile apps and online resources, while also offering my skills as a photographer and expanding my writing.
To quote my personal motto, no experience is bad experience, our lives have been enriched by our time out West and we will continue to grow as we enter yet another phase of our lives.
Nice article in the local paper, The Missoulian, about the resort and my new position here. We are trying to recruit some active retirees for summer employment and last week's job fair was very successful, mainly because this article appeared on the front page the day before!
It has been a difficult year in which to find time to blog regularly but I'm going to make a New Year Resolution to try to do so more often in 2013.
My time in the Caribbean came to an end in August. While I have a personal motto that "no experience is bad experience", and I learned a lot during my tropical period (including how to drive a boat!) there is definitely truth in the saying "horses for courses". At heart, I'm not really a desert island kind of horse and when the mountains and rivers of Montana beckoned, I was drawn to them like a moth to a flame.
So in October, a new adventure began as I was invited to join The Resort at Paws Up as Chief Executive Officer. Initially I was here on a part time basis, for two periods of two weeks, returning to Waterloo, Canada in between assignments, where we now have a small place close to Ginnie's kids, mother, brothers and grandsons. We then drove from Canada to Montana in late November (5 days, 2300 miles) to begin full time on 1 December. Since then we have been to Las Vegas for a sales meeting and staff Christmas party and Ginnie spent Christmas back in Waterloo while I have been working and successfully guiding the team here through their busiest holiday season to date.
During the year, we managed to welcome many members of the family to our many abodes throughout the world (USA, BVI and Canada), and share in the safe arrival in late August of our second grandson, Oliver. Furniture has been moved from WIsconsin to Canada to Montana. Personal belongings were shipped back from BVI to Montana and we are slowly settling in to our new abode on this spectacular ranch.
The photographic opportunities here are so many and varied and although I haven't had much time yet, here is a sampling of some of the views we have!
Click on this button to read my latest article about the use of technology in wine lists!
He wanders around the resort and is extremely friendly, especially when guests give him a hibiscus to eat!
It has been a long time since my last blog post which was all about change. Ironically, since then, we have been through an enormous period of change that started very soon after that posting and has consumed vast quantities of time ultimately ending very positively.
After many months of job search littered with dead ends, false starts, broken promises and the kind of frustrations that appear to be common to all job seekers, I have finally "landed".
As is often the case, I heard about the new opportunity through networking; a Riverbend member who has become a friend, heard about the position through another mutual acquaintance and after submitting my resume, I was interviewed by Skype the following day. Online personality and intelligence tests followed and within three days, Ginnie and I were heading to Michigan to meet the owner of the new company, David V. Johnson. We were so impressed by the professionalism and speed of response, something that sadly had been missing from many of the companies with whom I had been in contact during the last eight months, and David is an inspirational entrepreneur who has had great success in US real estate and resort developments and is now branching out into the Caribbean.
A few days later, we were heading down to the British Virgin Islands to see Biras Creek Resort (a Relais et Chateaux property) and David newest development on Virgin Gorda, Oil Nut Bay. We loved everything about the region, the people, the scenery and the company and a few days later we had negotiated a package for the position of VP-Hospitality for Victor International, responsible for both the US and BVI developments.
The official papers have now come through and tomorrow, Virginia, our puppy, Hopi and I will fly to the BVI to start our new adventure. We will be spending the next two years in the Virgin Islands and then return to Bay Harbor, Michigan with continuing responsibility for the BVI properties.
All of the furniture from our Sheboygan home remains in storage in Wisconsin and will go to a new home in Michigan in two years. We have shipped a few personal odds and ends to Virgin Gorda and will look forward to dodging the Midwest winter as we luxuriate in temperatures in high 70s and low 80s. It will be an enormous change and naturally there is a certain amount of trepidation (see my last blog), but we are embracing it with open arms and can't wait to get started in earnest.
Thanks to the many, many of you who have offered wonderful support to us during these last few months. It has been quite a salutary experience and we have been living out of suitcases for many months. However I believe I have a much better understanding of the plight of the unemployed now, and we were able to have some great experiences as well, including our month-long cross country road trip, and being able to be in Canada together for the birth of our first grandchild. Life is short and all of these memories help to round us as people.
As I often say, no experience is bad experience and the next chapter is just about to begin!
Every so often, Facebook comes out with an enhancement or a different way of presenting things to its subscribers. Inevitably when this happens there is an outcry, people begin posting incitements to "hate Facebook" and there is a huge surge of online negative emotion. The purpose of this post is not to agree or disagree with the changes to Facebook, but rather to examine the inherent aversion that humankind has to any kind of change.
In business, leaders are often asked to be "change agents" and that has been a buzzword for a while and something that many of us put on our resumes. In truth, change of any kind is initially uncomfortable and many of us try to avoid it. The pitfalls with this approach are that familiarity breeds contempt. After a while, when things are so routine, so unchanging, progress ceases to be made and in effect we start to regress - move backwards. More than ever, in the ever changing world in which we live and work, if we fail to be nimble in our apprach to change, we will be left behind watching our competitors roar ahead of us in a cloud of dust.
Change is necessary. Change is actually essential. But change is not comfortable. The answer to getting better at navigating change, is practice. Like any skill, change requires that we practice it, and practice it often. In that way, we will slowly become more comfortable with the uncomfortableness of change and rather than run from it, moan about it, complain about it, we will begin to embrace the positive effects that change can bring.
Are the recent changes to Facebook a step backwards or forwards? I really don't know. But I am pretty sure that within a few weeks the naysayers and complainers will have begun to accept the new look and very soon will have forgotten the previous iteration altogether.
As business leaders, or change agents, our responsibility is to support our teams through the uncomfortableness of change, not to isolate them from it. We must encourage doing things just a little differently every day, to break habits, open the mind and explore the positive benefits of change. In many of my training sessions, I encourage the participants at the end of the day to drive home by a different route, and pay attention to how it feels. Or if they usually enter the house by the side door, to go in through the front.
Practicing change is easy. The more comfortable we get with that feeling of initial discomfort, the greater the ultimate benefits.
Stephen Beaumont CWE