On Saturday night we held our annual fund-raising gala for the foundation. It was a success by any measure. We more than tripled our contributions, which will allow us to be more aggressive in support of our city police officers. Our mandate as a foundation is to support our officers to give them peace of mind in doing their jobs by providing a financial safety net for unexpected needs. We also promote public safety, provide scholarships, and give comfort to children in distress by providing toys and pillows the officers can give them to settle them as they resolve domestic disputes.
I’d like to share a personal story with you as to why I believe this is such an important cause to support.
Several years ago, we lived on the east coast. I had a friend of mine tell me that if you were on the New Jersey Turnpike and you were stopped for speeding, you should put your windows down, take your sunglasses off, and put your hands on the steering wheel so the officer could see them. They would write you up for a seat belt violation instead of speeding. I never thought much of it, although I did it once on the PA Turnpike. The trooper gave me a warning instead of a speeding ticket. Still, it didn’t come to me why I was doing it. Selfishly, I thought it was for me not to get a ticket.
A few years ago, I was driving to Shadow Glen, outside of Austin, to play golf and I was talking to my friend sitting in the passenger seat. I realized I was speeding when I saw the officer turn on his lights. I just pulled over and put my windows down, took off my sunglasses, and put my hands up where the officer could see them. I had my friend do the same. As the officer came to my vehicle, I could see him walking up with his hand on his weapon. When he saw my windows down and hands up where he could see them, he visibly relaxed. And it dawned on me that what I was doing was for him, the officer. It was not for me to get out of a ticket.
What our officers do for us is not to be taken lightly because we live in Bee Cave, TX. While this is a safe community, it is safe because of the people who put on a uniform and protect us, every day. For those of us who follow the Bee Cave Police on Facebook, we can see just how dangerous a job they have. Therefore, I support this foundation.
This year’s gala was different than any of the past galas. It was truly a team effort. I took over as president after our founding president moved out of state and resigned the post. I really didn’t want the role, but I took it on. The changes I made were out of necessity. I could not do this by myself. We have a very talented board of successful business people. In the past that talent has been terribly underutilized. Not this year.
We divided into committees and had each member chair a committee. We talked through what each person was responsible for and they signed on without hesitation. This is a strictly volunteer board. Everyone has a full-time job. The results speak for themselves. It was simply amazing to see the creativity. The commitment to excellence. The commitment to the police department and the officers that run toward the things that we run away from.
I share this because it is the exact same way in business, as it was with this board. When we hire talented people, give them clear direction, and allow them to be creative, the results can be spectacular. This isn’t news to most leaders, but perhaps this will trigger you to do a short evaluation of yourself. Am I actively living this in my business today?
Yesterday I reflected on this with my team at NineRuns. Do I fully utilize their talents? Do I listen to their input? I can do better, I’m sure. I’m dedicating myself to listening to their thoughts and ideas. We will have a better company for doing it.
Our board is doing holding a recap meeting next week. We still have work to do to wrap up the gala, but we also need to recognize where we can improve. I’ve already received emails with ideas. We will celebrate our success. We will continue to improve, and we will continue to learn.