Saturday Cup of Joe from Detroit — 160

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Friends & Colleagues,

Detroit. It’s week 160. We’re still in Detroit. We still love it.

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Thank you for reading Saturday Cup of Joe. I hope you enjoy this week’s collection of thoughts. Continued success and continue to answer well.

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Thought-provoking article on city design. How should we live or how will we live are the questions that will likely define the evolution of housing and real estate finance.

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“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce

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Be the quote. I love quotes. In fact, I always include at least one and often more in the Saturday Cup of Joe. The quote form Joyce was given to me by Meredith, my wife, knowing how much I respond to quotes.

At some point last week, though, I had a clear thought. The quotes are allowing me to avoid owning my choices. Owning my actions. I read the quote, feel good but don’t actually take action. This week I started saying “be the quote” to myself as a reminder to take action. To forge ahead. To take the idea into reality.

How are you going to “be the quote” this week?

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Follow @Stephen_McGee for incredible photos. (Like this one a red-tailed hawk leaving the nest on the old train station in Corktown.)

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Millennials: Over the 159 previous week’s of Saturday Cup of Joe, one of the most common topics that caught my attention has been generational issues. As an elder millennial (hat tip to Iliza Schlesinger), I became fascinated with the way millennials were treated in the media. Broad generalizations and insults from a generation of Baby Boomers who created both the economic and social conditions that shaped Millennials became “the narrative.” Then as quickly as avocado toast arrived on every gastropub menu, Millennials were out and Gen Z was in. Gen Z, now over ¼ of the population, has entered the workforce.

What does that mean for your business? One interesting thing is that identity issues have brought broader diversity and inclusion topics to the surface in most companies and teams. How you treat your team like people, human-to-human, make all the difference toward your culture and ultimately your long term success?

The problem with Millennial and Gen Z articles is they all seem to imply that you have make sweeping or high profile changes to your business. You don’t. Simple, candid, clear discussion of people-stuff is all you have to do. Larger the organization, harder it is.

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Leadership: What does that mean? How do you do it? People want to be recognized. This is not new but hard to practice. Not for lack of trying but we move fast. Dan Gilbert always talks about the Speed of the Game (in fact, he named his podcast after it). Sometimes, we risk moving too fast and leaving our own people behind. “People feel connected when they are understood and appreciated.Connect where it matters. This aspect of leadership is really important to manage. It is not just about treating your team like human beings — respect, etc. — but recognizing when someone is trying to connect versus just get the job done. We can’t be everything to everyone all the time. It’s about authenticity and meaningful connection.

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Pride goeth before the fall: The story of La Croix has gone from one of success to one of failure. How could a 30 year old beverage company fail by becoming popular? This article does not answer the whole story but it’s a start.

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Hollywood is now using AI to predict script / movie success. Am I crazy or does this take away some of the magic? Part of a movie is the human element. The human who wrote it. The human who visualized it. The humans who act out the words to create the universe. AI is good, probably even decent at choosing screenplays but will never be able to predict “it.” It being that special quality that takes a movie from successful to life-changing. I might sound like an old dude now but it’s not about being stuck in my ways or fearing change. It’s about celebrating that weird human quality that makes something extra special. AI will likely do a great job finding decent movies, even above average financial investments in movies. But will AI recognize Garden State? Good Will Hunting? Little Miss Sunshine? Or will we end up with good but not great movies?

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Recent story not getting enough attention: The ransomware attack on the City of Baltimore. The idea that we could have hackers freezing the entire computer system of a major city and then taunting the city over a week or two for bitcoin is bonkers to me. This should be leading the news and worrying all kinds of people from politicians to small business owners. Though the threat isn’t new, the frequency and severity is.

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Financial Literary: You thought it was hard enough teaching your kids about finances — bank accounts, mortgages and student debt. Now add in charitable giving. This University of Arizona study found that giving back is a key piece to properly understanding finances. Don’t shy away. Both conversations are critical if we’re going to work together to get better at this money thing. Earning it, managing it and sharing it. All part of the plan.

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NextBelt: When I first started writing Saturday Cup of Joe, there were varied responses. One overwhelming response was a misunderstanding or confusion of my love of Detroit. You just got there. How could you love it so much? Stay there a while and see what you think. I did and I still do. I love it. As San Francisco struggles with keeping multi-millionaires who cashed out in recent IPOs, the cities getting these millennial millionaires are other growing, expensive cities. Many are great (looking at you, Austin, TX). But others, Los Angeles, don’t need you. Detroit needs you as much as you need the city. Detroit is the heart of the Next Belt. Cities that have history, character and promise. The reason to move to Detroit instead of Austin is not about comfort, it’s about story. In Detroit you matter. In Detroit you are a part of something.

Don’t move here to displace. Move here to participate.

The former Rust Belt is still struggling to shake off the lingering story of rust. The Next Belt, however, is the cities ready to accept brilliant, passionate and idealistic Millennials or equally brilliant, focused and pragmatic Gen Zers. Move here. Move the world.

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Source: Pure Detroit

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Answer well: The ability to “answer well” is not just an individual mantra but something the entire organization can support and even ensure if done right. My motto “answer well” has always been a reminder to me to give each interaction at work my highest and best attention. Flipping “answer well” for a second, how can an organization “answer well” to serve its best team members? Engagement. Engagement is the connection among a team to give people added productivity and purpose. Trust, human nature, and control/autonomy are the keys to getting a network effect from your teams. Ideally, networked together your best performers will continue to exceed expectations simply by having the right tools at the right time to fuel their existing passion. Focus on team chemistry and engagement to maximize your company.

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Today’s Thought: Organization takes time. In a world where we over commitment and promise to deliver massive results, keeping everything straight is tough. If you spend much of your day investing in your team and their development, doesn’t leave much time for email. Spend too much time keeping up with email and your team suffers. But, you still have to deliver on your objectives. In order to be success, balance and organization are key. Organization, however, adds that much more time to your schedule. How do you think about organization? How do you keep records of your work? How do you track or monitor progress? This coming week is about catching up and about organization for me. How about you?

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Quote: “The master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will.” — Tao Te Ching

A recommendation: A quick reminder. Here’s an article that does not say anything new or different. What it does say is a helpful reminder to reflect and ask yourself important questions as often as possible. For me, it’s always helpful to remember that everything is intentional. It’s a choice. Choose wisely.

Continued success and continue to answer well,

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