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November 13, 2008 - Image 43

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-11-13

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Business I career coach

Learning From Your Dog


recently reconnected with a business
coach I had not seen in some time.
She was excited about her latest fam-
ily member — a new mixed breed puppy
she adopted from a local animal shelter.
It had been 30 years since my friend had
a pet in her home; and she couldn't wait
to tell me how training the dog, whom she
named Oscar, had transformed her life in
a way few other things or experiences have
done for her.
She assured me that owning and caring
for a dog was good training for running a
business. I was skeptical at first. How can
a dog teach me or anyone else about busi-
ness success?
There is an old adage I had not con-
sidered: A dog at play has the mind of a
wise martial arts master, a mind capable
of perfect focus. It makes sense. Oscar sits
patiently near my friend while she eats
at her table. His eyes remain glued to her
and his nose pointed up toward the table.
He wiggles a little closer to her with each

bite but he never oversteps his
you don't finish assignments at
boundary. If he thinks she can-
the end of each work day?
not see him, he gently nudges
It's time to stand up, stretch,
her leg with his nose.
take a moment to breathe
Oscar's job is sitting and stay-
and get right back on task.
ing put during mealtime. He
Concentrate on your job, your
has perfect focus. When he eats,
company, the bottom line. Stay
Oscar concentrates on his meal
disciplined and you won't feel
— with perfect focus. When he
overwhelmed. Don't dwell on
goes out for a walk, he follows
Rob ert Sher
what went wrong or how you
her lead — again, with perfect
Col umnist
lost your focus. Instead, con-
focus. When he plays fetch, he
centrate on what you can do
focuses on catching the ball. He can stay
next to achieve your potential instead of
focused for hours.
on your limitations.
Perhaps you should start thinking like a
Try turning your back on the computer
dog at play: Focus. Focus. Focus. Dogs can
— and not the people in your office
help you understand how to lead, how to
— when you are in a meeting. Make eye
manage and how to stay focused on the job. contact. Put the cell phones on vibrate
How many times a day do you get dis-
and out of harm's way. Do not text mes-
tracted by the beeping reminder of an
sage during the meeting. Be fully present.
incoming e-mail message or a text mes-
Listen. Respond. You don't want to get
sages on your cell phone? Do you read
so distracted that you have no idea what
the news on your Blackberry during staff
transpired during the meeting.
meetings? Are you so busy multi-tasking,
Most dogs are always fully present. When

S-1 1!



trained, they stay on task. They generally
don't stray too far from home. They cer-
tainly don't pick up cell phones while being
trained and they pay attention when their
leaders give instructions like walk, sit, go to
your crate. They aim to please and so they
practice tasks until they perfect them.
You need to be fully present to stay
focused and the only way to stay focused is
to practice it. If you concentrate completely
on your company and employees, they will
respond positively and will focus on the
jobs you hired them to do. Likewise, you
will find your way to business success. ❑

Robert Sher, CPA, is a certified executive
coach. He formerly was CFO and partner for

Schostak Brothers & Company. He has been
a delegate from the Michigan Association of

Certified Public Accountants to the National

Future Forum, working on the CPA "Vision"
Project. He serves on the boards of charitable
and professional organizations. His e-mail
address is: info@bobshercom.


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November 13 • 2008


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