Take the Longcut

If I turned left, I knew exactly what it looks like on the way back home. I had never seen where the other road goes,” he said with his eyebrows lifting. This entrepreneur turned rancher put the good in good ole boys and I just love listening to him. But, I didn’t know where this one was headed.

So, smack dab in the middle of Texas I called my wife and told her you better fly out to El Paso and meet me before I get into New Mexico cuz that’s where I might be headed next,” as his head lowered into adventure mode.

He explained, “And guys, that’s what peace of mind in retirement feels like to me…being able to have that choice.”

A plan is not limiting, it is liberating.

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At a time when instant gratification will cover up and hide many of the Longcut road signs, look no further than the king of one-click himself. Here was Jeff Bezos' original letter to shareholders.

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Bezos shortened an entire generation’s time frame only because he took the Longcut in planning. The same guy who had a bell installed in his parents’ garage that went off each time a book was sold!

The key to Bezos’ management style is the slow game. For one thing, he likes to read. A lot. To begin senior management meetings there is a period of 30 minutes with no talking and only reading. I’ve been in a lot of meetings and never heard of such a thing. Guess that’s how you do things nobody could imagine. Printed memos are read carefully, then considered deeply, and then scratched on with notes - all before ever discussing. They are called “narratives” internally.

For new employees, it’s a strange initial experience. Full sentences are harder to write.” Bezos explained in an interview. “There is no way to write a six-page narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”

There are no shortcuts.

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So, then the rancher’s bride started laughing and threw her hands up in the air. “I told him no way, I’m not going to El Paso!” Instead, she excitedly shared plans for a big weekend with her friends in Wimberley. “I love this guy but there was no way I was meeting him for that.”

After a half century together these two can finish each other’s sentences and never miss a beat, or a chance to share a smile. He grabbed her hand, “Oh, I didn’t think she’d want to come, but I was goin. I was excited to see something I never had before, that’s all.”

He leaned forward in his chair as the needle on his record player of stories touched down, “Fellas, I took that right turn instead…”