Brian’s father — Logan’s grandfather — died in 2009, when Logan was just a few years old. But in that time, he introduced Logan to the world of toy trains. It quickly became a obsession with Logan. During his toddler years, he wanted to ride the Christmas train at South Park Mall in Strongsville as often as possible, with anyone who was willing to take him.
Since he was still learning to speak in complete sentences, Logan would phrase his request as “choo-choo mall.”
However, Brian saw something beyond his son’s love of trains. He saw a lesson passed from grandfather to grandson — a lesson that has relevance in the business world. Brian talks about it in Chapter 19, “Choo-Choo Mall.”
Toy trains don’t have much to do with business, unless maybe you work for Lionel Trains. But toy trains can have a lot to do with enjoying yourself and savoring the moment, which, believe it or not, is important in the business world.
Often, we hear the leaders of American business put forth platitudes, such as “If you’re not evolving, you’re dying,” or “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.” The sayings have merit. Standing still in the business world is a recipe for allowing the competition to blow right by you. When I’m talking about stopping and savoring in a business sense, I’m not talking about slamming the brakes on your whole operation.
You can stop and smell whatever flowers are around in a much less harmful, micro-level sense. It’s not just a good idea — it’s essential. It promotes the collective mental health of your employees, and it allows them to stop and realize what they’ve accomplished, which can be more motivating in the long run.
If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities to let your employees know what they’re doing right by letting them stop and take a look around, you’re going to lose the chance because those employees will leave for jobs where they can find that sense of accomplishment that they’re missing.
Letting your people have that feeling is a gift. It’s not unlike the gift my dad gave to Logan. My dad died in 2009, so that link is gone. But during his final years, he still managed to pass a common interest and sense of enjoyment on to me and Logan. My dad planted the seed, and every time I took Logan to ride the train at the mall, it’s like I was watering the seed.