November 19, 2015

Be thankful for the negative that leads to the positive

By Jim Annis, CEO


This year on America's Got Talent, a young competitor named Drew had a pronounced stutter due to a life-changing, devastating sports injury. Once the "cool kid" at school, he learned humility that he had never known which made him a better person. His comedy routine demonstrated talent and bravery in the face of adversity and earned a standing ovation and the hashtag #TheGoldenBuzzer, catapulting the young comedian directly to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall. Howie Mandel told Drew that "comedy usually comes from a dark place ... you looked for the light at the end of the darkness."

This Thanksgiving, like Drew, we are thankful for the things that give us growth — those things that seem horrible at the time, then help us make us better workers and better people overall. While developing this topic, we all went around the table, sharing our sentiments below. (P.S. We are not being funny.)

We are thankful for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The burden has forced us to learn how to be more efficient. It has required us to know the law and demonstrated that we (well, everyone) cannot be complacent. It is always a learning day with the ACA. We must look at least 18 months down the road. We now have job security and industry security.

We are thankful for the client who calls and screams at us. They challenge us to be better at answering questions and developing new systems, services and solutions. Also, they magnify the positive attributes of the "nicer" client who calls us next.

We are thankful when an employee leaves unexpectedly. Not right away … but soon, the remaining employees step up and say, "Don't worry, it will be fine, we will divvy up the responsibilities and make it happen." They demonstrate leadership skills that might have been hidden for years.

We are thankful for our leaky roof. It reminds us that we have a work environment that shelters us, houses a great place to work and makes us realize that bringing all the employees into one building was a great decision. We are all in it together, leaks and all.

We are thankful for the sales deals that do not go through. Sometimes, the more we know about the one that "got away," the more we know we dodged a bullet. Whew! (And we typically learn a little something too).

We are thankful for the commerce tax (we will pay taxes in the amount of 15 basis points for anything we make over $4 million in sales in our industry). We will make less money, forcing creativity and better decisions, while believing in the vision of our great state of Nevada and keeping revenue here.

We are thankful for the Great Recession. It revealed our true grit and our passion. It reinforced our belief in the saying, "The pig gets fat but the hog gets butchered." We did better than survive. We thrived and lived to tell about it. It is a gift to be able to run through the hallways and thank everyone that works here in an off-the-cuff fashion and for no particular reason.

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Applied's COO, contributed to this article.

Read the article in the RGJ here.

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