Archives for May 2015

The Art of Delegating Part 1 – Decisions, Decisions

A delegator is only as good as their ability to define the task to complete is.  Do you actually know what you want?

Decide on the task or project.  Consider every detail about it.  Leave nothing out.

Then, choose your worker.ArtOfDelegating1

Your employees can’t read your mind or deliver results if the task is not made clear.  If you have an idea of what you want, but cannot write down succinct steps as to what it is or how you need it to happen, you are not ready to delegate it to someone for completion.

“Just do what you think.”

That might be fine for a seasoned professional you trust implicitly.  But it is a dangerous game to play, especially if “what they think” isn’t anywhere near what you were hoping for.  It wastes your time, their time, and the company’s profitability.  Are you sure that you want that particular person to attempt to do the job?  Consider the task, and choose wisely the person to get it done.  Maybe it’s not an assignment appropriate for certain members your staff .

Once you’ve clearly defined the scope of the job and know what your employees strengths and limitations are, also be clear as to what you are willing to be flexible about BEFORE setting them loose on the task.  Nit picking details and endless corrections throughout an assignment will not only frustrate you, but will put your employee over the top with angst, lack of trust and respect for you.

“Counterproductive” is the polite word to describe an ever changing assignment.  Know what you are asking for and know who you want to do it before you ask for it.  Make sure you’ve left no important details out. You may want to even add a couple “what if” contingency plans for unexpected snags.  Then stick with your decision.  With clearly stated instructions and expectations, your employee will be able to hit the mark with ease instead of chase a moving target to exhaustion.


Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

I am Jack—Beach Boy

Hi, I am Jack!  I am a good boy!  Yes, it’s me again!    Sorry to have been away so long, but my new human has been very busy and keeping me very busy too.  Just listen to this…..

So, one day when it was really hot out and the sun was very bright, she takes me and her friend to this great big long sandy place that has water all the way out as far as I can see.  Guess what?  There are humans and other dogs, and birds everywhere!  I am not interested in those humans and dogs.  But those birds.  Wow!  Big white ones with spindly long legs, little white ones, and some big gray ones with very long beaks.

Of course I am dialed in and ready for action.  I am a good boy, and I am an excellent hunter.  Surely this is a place for us to go get the bird.  I could get all of those birds for her!

But no.

She says “no bird”, every time I try to take a run at one of them.  Is she crazy? She won’t let me off my leash.  Still I try to alert her each time one of those birds comes close. Her and her friend don’t care.  None of the other humans or dogs seem to care either.  What’s up with that?BeachBoy2

Well I am a Pointer.  And I am really smart.  And I know those birds are taunting me.  They are asking for it.  They know I can’t get to them. They casually walk by just out of reach, acting like they don’t know I will fetch them.  I didn’t mean to tip over her food and drink, I didn’t mean to mess up the towels and drag her friends bag by the corner…but come on, those birds are right there!  If I could just break free of this darn leash I could get one or two!

Not only does she say “no bird” over and over, but then she tries to distract me.  She stands up and heads into that great big water.

She ran into the water and called to me.  I thought, “What are you doing?  Where are you going!?  What if she doesn’t come back? ”   Her friend unhooked my leash and I ran across the sand to her because she called to me.  Who knows what might be in this big water.  Maybe big birds or other creatures!  I admit it, I am nervous, but I want to show her that I am there for her and so I run right into that water to her.

The water came toward me and splashed onto the sand so I had to push through it and it made my face wet.  It got deeper and deeper, and soon I couldn’t touch the sandy ground so I just ran as hard as I could without touching the ground.  My legs would not go fast in the water. I could not run fast.  It felt strange for the water to make me float, and I was still nervous, but I managed to keep my tail and nose up and out of the water. Not so much with my ears, though.  I thought I would drown, but somehow I stayed afloat until I reached her.  All the while she is calling me “come on, Jack, good boy, you can do it!” Oh I don’t understand why she is doing this to me but it does feel pretty good, being in this warm water with the sun shining on us.  Even if I have to keep running and running to stay afloat.

Then she backed away and made me follow.  I stared deep into her eyes, trying to tell her this is probably not a good place to be, but I ran as hard as I could in that deep water and kept close to her.  She kept saying “what a good boy!  You can swim!”  Well I don’t know what that means, but I wasn’t about to let her get out of reach.  I did my best to be her good boy and follow her.  And then suddenly she disappeared under that water.

I tried to grab her with my paws, but it all happened so fast!  I splashed and splashed, but she was gone! And I tried to turn around and look behind me but it was so hard!  And I ran very hard, but didn’t really go anywhere.  It went on forever!  I was getting so tired!  Then I felt something touch my side under the water.

ARGHHHH!  What is that?

Suddenly, she appears right next to me, and hugs me, lifting me up a little from the deep water.

I was pretty upset.

“Oh, Jack, did I scare you?”  She said.

Well that’s an understatement.

So I plunged my head into the water.  I wanted to see where she had gone.  I gasp…well look at that!  I can see her legs.  Look!  She is standing on the ground…..

Well who knew you should close your mouth when you put your head under the water?  Is that what she did?  UGH, I did not like that salty water taste, but it filled my mouth and went down my throat so fast!  I started to panic and splash, and I coughed it out of my mouth while she held me.  Wow, that was close!

She hugged me and told me I was her good boy, and I floated in her arms, resting.  Then she guided me back toward the sandy land and let me go.  I started running after her, and soon the water was not so deep.  Soon I could touch the ground.  Then we were out of that water.

The sand squished between my toes and I stood and shook off that water like a big dog, dancing around and feeling all wet and happy to be alive.

We rushed back to our blankets and chairs and she grabbed a towel to wipe more water off of me.  She was so excited, telling me how I am such a good boy.  I wagged my tail and danced while she rubbed me down.  But I sure was tired after that water game.  And the air is cold on my damp body.  So when she sat down on her big chair, I put on my best moves, and inched my way to her.  I wanted to be near her, cuddle with her.  My human who says I can BeachBoy3swim.  I want to be right with her.  So I manage to crawl up onto her lap.  She is nice and warm.  She pulls a big towel over us, and holds me in her arms.

I am so lucky to be with this human.  She takes care of me.  I love my human. I’m glad I found out her feet were always on the ground in that deep water.

And that big chair was the perfect place for us to be, where I kept a keen eye on those lurking birds, just in case.

You can read all about the adventures me and my new human PR are having together in the outdoors… I will write lots of stories under “I AM JACK” in her blog category, “Words From The Wild”.   I will be careful not to have many typos.  I am a good boy!  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our journey together, and PR Brady AdVentures.



The Art of Delegating – Introduction to a 4 Part Series

The other day I was talking with a former colleague who manages a production department, and is struggling with delegation issues.  He described an incident where two employees actually fought a tug of war with a broom over who was going to sweep the shop floor.  One ended up storming out, and consequently was written up.

“How can this be?” I asked.

As it turns out, my colleague had promoted someone into a floor manager role who was lacking in certain skills; namely, the ability to delegate.  “Josh” was on a press finishing up a product run.  The floor manager asked Josh to sweep and dump the trash before the end of the day.  Josh had about 25 minutes left to complete the product run, and just over an hour left in the day. No problem.  But when the floor manager saw dirt on the floor and the garbage still there 15 minutes after assigning him the task, he turned to Steve and said “go sweep and dump trash or it will never get done.”

And so the problem began.  ArtOfDelegate

Josh, while working hard to finish up his run, caught a glimpse of Steve sweeping.  Confused, he felt Steve was being an opportunist by trying to take away his responsibility and make him look bad. Steve thought he was just doing his job, didn’t appreciate Josh getting possessive about the task, and  felt “set up” by the floor manager. In the end, neither got the job done, one was written up and the floor manager ended up with the chore.

“My department seems to really struggle with job satisfaction.  People are quitting more, and the energy is so heated sometimes you can cut it with a knife.  What do I do?  I don’t want to demote they guy now, but he can’t keep the peace, get things done, or even keep employee morale intact. He’s out there doing their tasks instead of crunching numbers half the time!” my colleague sighed.

Just because a person is assigned responsibility to manage others, doesn’t mean they should have been.

Clearly, the floor manager is lacking on all sorts of levels and his manager needs to think about how to coach him through, or out.  Having him learn some delegation skills would be a step in the right direction.

The clinical definition of delegate, as a verb, is:

To choose (someone) to do something

To assign responsibility or authority

To give (control, responsibility, authority, etc) to someone: to trust someone with (a job, duty, etc.)

Entrust (a task of responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.  “he delegates routine tasks”

Day to day, delegation is three basic things.  Communication, letting go and empowering the other person.

Communication is key.  Less than 1% of the entire population is composed of bone-a-fide mind readers.  There’s a good chance your employees are not in that 1% group.  If you don’t actually say what you want, they are not going to know. When you articulate clear, concise instructions that your team can understand and run with, you will be better able to do your job.

As a manager, you have to be strong and secure enough to let go of control.  Did you forget why the people working for you were chosen?  You are not a one person team.  Let go! Trust that others are competent.  Remember the people working for you are being paid to do a job. Give them some credit that they know how to do it. Keep in mind that there is always more than one right way to get things done, and someone else’s way can be just as successful as your way.  When the people around you look good, you look good.  Let go, and you’ll be better able to do your job.

Last, as a manager, you have to let the people you hired to do the job do the job.  Step back and let your employees do their job, without fear of having the task taken away mid-stream .  Are you the press operator?  No, you’re the manager.  Are you the designer?  No, you’re the manager.  Are you the sales person?  No, you’re the manager.  Respect the various roles and duties within your organization.  Most importantly let your workers do their job completely, in a way that makes them feel glad to be there, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.  If you let them do their jobs, and feel the positive results of getting it done, you will be better able to do your job.

Sounds simple, but there’s a little more to it.  Welcome to a 4 Part Series on the Art of Delegating, posting the next 4 Mondays.  If you need to delegate, follow these four basic rules of thumb and you will see increased productivity, and find yourself  with more time for things you should be spending time on.  That is, of course, unless you enjoy running ragged doing it all yourself while your employees stand by and watch.

Have you experienced bad delegation as an employee? Have you struggled with delegation as a manager? We would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share this post with others who may find value and interest in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures.

Basic Borsch

BasicBorsch1When I start craving comfort food, one of the first things I make is a good, hearty, basic Borsch.  A bowl of hot, beet soup on a cold day, with maybe a couple slices of a rye bread, or better yet, some boiled pierogis, and I am a happy girl!  I’m half Ukrainian, after all.  Same goes for summertime, on a hot day, a bowl of chilled beet soup…oh nothing beats Borsch! It’s beautiful to look at, full of vitamins, and so easy to make.  You can grow virtually all of the ingredients in your own back yard garden!

Basic Borsch

6 C fresh beets, cut into thin strips

2 potatoes, cubed

1 large onion, sliced

2 C shredded cabbage

3 carrots, cut into thin strips

2 C fresh tomato juice (usually 4-5 Roma tomatoes in the blender)

1 ½ C green beans

10 C water

4 T fresh chopped dill

4 T fresh lemon juice

Cook beets and carrots until tender—about 15 minutes.  Add potatoes and simmer another 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and beans.  Simmer another 10 minutes.

While that pot is simmering:

Sauté onion in butter.  Add the cabbage with about 1/3 C water and cook, covered, on low heat until cabbage is tender.  Stir into the beet mixture.  Add the tomato juice, and bring to boil for 5 minutes.  Turn heat back down to low, and stir in the dill.

Serve with Pierogis and sour cream on the side, or a good rye bread

Serves 12 – 16

Freezes well!

Sound yummy?  If you try it out let me know what you think!  Check out more great recipes under my Killer Cookin’ blog category, and please feel free to share with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!


Shower Me

I’m not gonna lie.  I’m the girl that can go well over a week without a real, modern, fully functioning bathroom.  Yep.  I can go without a shower.  I can go without a toilet.  I can do what I have to do when I’m in remote areas, “ruffin’ it”.  When it’s just me and the great outdoors?  No problem.

But I am also the girl that absolutely needs to have access to a shower when I’m not in the backwoods.  If I am going to be mingling with my fellow humans, I don’t want to stink.

Shower0When I arrived to Florida December 1st, I’d been on the road for 5 days without a shower.  And then it was another 2 weeks before I finally broke down and took a shower.  Yes, two weeks.  In this beautiful paradise farmstead, there is only one rustic option for a bath—an outdoor, cold water out of the well, shower.  Yup.  Cold water piped right out of the ground through some PVC, and out a shower head.  Turn the sprocket and there ya go.  So I bit the bullet and got in there when I finally couldn’t stand my own self any more.

OHHHHHH baby, that was one helluva refreshing experience!


Then, I tried combining a “Sun Shower” full of hot water with my cold-out-of-the-well water-shower.  What a pain THAT was.  Shower2Scalding hot and freezing cold water sources that just plain refuse to work together.  The idea that this would be an ongoing situation broke my heart.

I wanted so badly to have a real shower.  There had to be a way to get a hot shower here on the farm.

Well, I came to learn about a way to have a hot shower without using electricity.  Without trying to hoist a huge bag of hot water over your head and then have to hold a dinky little nozzle of super-hot water into the blast of cold water while trying to suds up and rinse off.   I found out about propane driven hot water heaters.

The water heater itself runs about $100.  Then you need a 20 gallon propane tank, some miscellaneous PVC for in and outbound water flow out of the water source, a couple shut off valves, and a pressure gauge and hose to control the propane entering the heater.

A very astute and kind man who shall remain nameless actually had a brand new hot water heater (still in the box) that he wasn’t currently using, and he let us have it.  We were able to gather up all the additional parts over the course of a few weeks.  Then the amazing Jeff came and installed everything.

Lo and behold, we now have the ability to have a hot shower at the farm.  I am not exaggerating in the least, how cherished an experience it is to be able to have a nice hot shower after 70 degree days on a working farm.  Truly priceless!  And I’m sure the public we deal with, and other people I meet with all appreciate it just as much!

Shower4So here is how it works:

Step one–open the shut off valve to allow the water to run.  It will be cold water.

Step two–turn on the propane.

Step three–this step basically takes care of itself.  The igniter switch operates on two AA batteries, and doesn’t even have to be flipped each time you use it; turning on the propane ignites it automatically. Within just a minute or so, the water begins to heat up to the perfect temperature.

Shower3There is also a temperature gauge in place to control how hot you want the water.  One 20# propane tank will provide many showers for us.

But wait, there’s more!  After several months of enjoying hot showers, we have tweaked the “system” to be more accommodating.  Jeff made improvements to allow us to simply turn on one shut off valve located IN the shower to start the hot water, without having to go back and forth through those steps.  What more could a girl ask for?

My favorite time to shower has become late night.  Taking into consideration the open air design, mosquitos are gone by 9ish, and the stars are totally out and shining bright.  When there is a big moon, it’s simply an enchanting experience to suds up to the call of the owls.Shower5 Nothing compares.  What a grand treat!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to have a hot shower but there is no electricity, you may want to check out the idea of a propane powered hot water heater!


You can read about all kinds of products, places and services I’ve found to be exceptionally great, or exceptionally not great under my “Whats New” blog category—along with many of my own handy little DIY ideas. I look forward to your comments!  And please feel free to share this post with others that would find value in learning about this information, and PR Brady AdVentures.