CEO Report: The Significance of Line of Sight
July 31st, 2017
By Jeff Petersen, CEO
Summer is upon us, with winter being a distant memory (thankfully!) and many have been enjoying their annual vacations. It is an opportunity to experience areas of the world as part of our continuous lifetime learning. Our learning experiences could be in the United States or possibly another country. I
continue to be inspired by the many stories of friends and clients upon their return from journeys to various locations around the world.
Marj and I recently returned from a two week tour of France. We were fortunate to share this experience with a couple of our best friends; one of whom grew up in France and still speaks the language fluently. As part of this experience, I was interested in comparing my perceptions of France to the reality of the culture. In preparation for the trip, I did my best to brush up on my very limited mastering of the French language, as well as studying French culture with the book, French or Foe by Polly Platt, as my textbook. In addition to my “textbook”, a long time friend and client loaned me a book and a couple of DVD’s on the history of the Normandy invasion. This was particularly meaningful since his trip to Normandy was previously on his “bucket list”. Overall, this preparation helped provide a much richer experience as well as some humorous moments testing the “theories” of Polly Platt’s advice along the way. One observation in conflict with my “textbook” is that smiling in France is not a “faux pas” as suggested by Ms. Platt, and that the French are friendly when you show respect for their culture and language. The published smoking statistics seem to be accurate, if not understated, with the French smoking rates at over twice the rate of those in the United States.
While there were many experiences that together formed an “epic” trip for me, there were three experiences that I would like to share. These experiences help highlight the importance of “Line of Sight” in our personal and professional lives. Line of Sight can make the difference between success and failure or be the source of a much richer experience. Before sharing our experiences, let’s take a step back and define Line of Sight. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a line from an observer’s eye to a distant point” and “the line between two points …”. This sight could be visible to the eye or what our lifetime experiences have formed within our mind.
We can watch The Longest Day or Saving Private Ryan or read one or more of the many books on the Normandy invasion, but actually walking Utah or Omaha Beach is a very emotional experience. Trying to imagine wave after wave of soldiers attempting to safely make it across the beaches, with so many young soldiers dying bravely defending our freedom, both took my breath away and gave me a sick feeling. My Line of Sight was the importance of protecting our freedom and therefore ensuring that the sacrifices made on those beaches in France continue to be honored and respected within our country.
Claude Monet, one of the founders of French Impressionist painting, is my favorite artist. One of the most famous subjects of his paintings, beginning in 1899, were water lilies. On our drive from Paris up to Bayeux in Normandy, we unexpectedly (our friends surprised us) stopped off in Giverny for lunch. It just so happens that this was the location of Monet’s home from 1883 to 1926, and the grounds continue to be maintained to this day for the many visitors that come to see the inspiration for many of Monet’s most famous paintings. Actually seeing the water lilies in person provided an even greater understanding of the story surrounding the paintings that continue to bring me great joy to this day.
Many of you know that I love road cycling, and I have participated in many challenging rides over the years. I have co-founded a local not-for-profit, Bike Tri-Cities, to provide inspiration to our community to become a “Bicycle Friendly Community”. The most famous bicycle race in the world is the Tour de France, and it is held in France every July over a three-week period. There are 21 “stages” and the cyclists race over approximately 2200 miles. Although the race has been “tainted” many times with doping scandals, it is still an amazing demonstration of strategy and physical and mental fitness. Watching the stage replays and reading the race reports is no substitute to actually being at the finish line and experiencing all of the “behind the scenes” race action. Watching the Tour de France replays in the future will be a much richer experience now that we have attended one of the race stages.
Line of Sight is also important at Petersen Hastings. We have been investing in our Team at Petersen Hastings by engaging the Gallup Organization (Gallup.com) as part of one of our Zero Alpha Group initiatives (www.zeroalphagroup.com). It is important that each member of our Team understands how their unique contributions at Petersen Hastings impacts our ability to best serve our clients. We measure employee engagement twice a year to gage our strengths and weaknesses as an organization as part of our continuous improvement process. We are very proud of our Team as they have demonstrated that they are “emotionally invested” in protecting and providing a continuous high level of service to our clientele. We believe that it is important for each member of our Team to understand our Mission, Vision, and Values as the foundation to a clear Line of Sight. We know that our client’s success becomes our success!
As always, thank you for the opportunity to partner with you on your financial journey. We welcome your comments and questions, and why Line of Sight is important to your financial success.