The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Successful Partners, in Marriage and Work
Idea of the Month
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month's great idea comes from Beverly Davis, my wife and working partner.
Davis' great idea:
All couples who work together should separate their responsibilities and not crossover into each other's primary area of responsibility.
I always equate time and the use of time to the phrase, "In the blink of an eye." No matter how much time it takes to complete an event in your life — i.e., the years you have been married, a long sought-after vacation, the education of your children — when looked back upon, all seemed to have whizzed by in a flash.
This was brought to mind recently as my wife, Beverly, and I celebrated our 50th anniversary. We reminisced about the usual things; events in our lives, children, grandchildren and so forth. However, what stood out in my mind was the fact that for most of those five decades Beverly and I have worked together, building one business after another. We still do work together; if you call my office today, more than likely you'll speak with Beverly.
Thus, for this month's column I asked Beverly if she had just one really great idea about spouses working together. Of course, she did, and more. Expounding on her imminent wisdom highlighted above, Beverly emphasized the need to always be there for each other when decisions need to be made. And finally, she advised, "Always respect each other."
I've heard it said that half of all marriages nowadays end in divorce or separation. In particular, when the marriage of working partners begins to fail, the trauma from it all can be exacerbated. Not only are the couple's family and friends adversely affected, but employees of the company as well. Here is where advanced planning is absolutely essential to the continuance of the business. There are important questions that each couple should ask of their spouse when planning for the future:
- Is either spouse the dominant participant in the business and can the business survive without their contribution?
- In the event of a divorce or spousal death, can the other manage the business effectively? If not, who then is responsible for day-to-day management?
- Is each spouse having fun and enjoying their lives, both business-related and personal?
In my case, I've been fortunate to be married to a lady who is not only my best friend, but the best business associate I could have. I cannot tell you how many times I might have taken wrong turns or made bad decisions in my business career, only to be gently steered in the right direction by Beverly. It takes a lot of work; plus, dedication above and beyond that which is needed in a stable marriage. No matter how long you are at it, the time seems to go by in the blink of an eye.
I'd like to pose an idea that hasn't been addressed by our industry; it just may be worthy of consideration by some of the national and regional associations. Why not form a subgroup of working couples to discuss the opportunities and methods of combining a successful business relationship and marriage? Think about all of the businesses that are around today where both parties in a marriage are working, and working effectively. A byproduct of this group might generate a lot of good managerial ideas to pass on to the rest of the industry.
Lastly, thanks to you, Beverly, not just for your great idea, but also for the 50 great years we have worked together.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.