Skip to main content

Some assembly required


Posted on Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Small Business Today Articles

How do you drive everyone crazy at a birthday party for a boy turning 3? Give him a great toy that needs to be assembled before it can be used.  My grandson Joe turned 3 a couple of weeks ago and his mom, our daughter Emily, threw a party for him.  Not a big party, just family.  But family includes four grandsons, all under the age of 4.  So when Joe received a Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park from his aunt Katie, Joe and his cousins were very excited.  Apparently they have seen this type of toy before and were anxious to get started playing with it. 

So Emily started to assemble the best gift of the party.  She emptied the contents of the box onto the floor and started reading the directions, much to the delight of the little boys.  Unfortunately Emily wasn’t getting the toy assembled as quickly as the boys would like.  Their excitement and willingness to “help” didn’t help.  Neither did the poorly written directions or very specific tools that were required.  After a couple of minutes it was obvious that the great new toy was not going to get assembled very quickly.

As I watched the scene unfold in front of me, I could see Emily start to get frustrated.  The distraction of the little boys and their anticipation of the final product added to the pressure of assembling the toy.  I remember her saying that the directions were printed in black and white while the toy was very colorful.  It would have been helpful had the directions been in color or at least better described each part by the color of that part.  After a few minutes of being asked to not touch or move unassembled pieces, the boys found other things to play with.  After a while, Emily’s husband Pete came to help and together they started making progress, albeit slowly.

As small business owners and managers we are often trying to work without the benefit of clear directions, compounded with daily distractions.  While our goal is to assemble the company, maximize profits and create better lives for our employees and customers, often it isn’t as easy as we think it should be.  We have people offering to help, but more than likely they are distractions.  Not because they are insincere in their offer, but they don’t have the experience or expertise to offer real help.

So from time to time we need to work together with someone we trust, who has our same goals in mind, gather the right tools, get away from the distraction and focus on the job to be done.  That might mean getting away from the work site altogether or simply shutting a door for a few hours.  Multitasking might sound glamorous, but I don’t know many people who can do it effectively.

The birthday party ended around bedtime for the little boys, and when I went to bed a couple of hours later, Emily and Pete looked like they had the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park mostly assembled and ready to go.  When Joe got to finally play with it the next day, he was very excited because it worked so well.  He couldn’t wait to show me how he could make it work.  All in all I would say it was a very successful birthday, and only just a little bit crazy!

Back to Top