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  • Jim Mertz

The importance of helping your child learn real world solutions.

This past summer I had the opportunity to bring my 11 year old daughter Sasha on a work trip. We visited one of Coleman Consulting Group’s food manufacturing clients in Northern California. The management team at Blue Diamond was very hospitable to Sasha and even took the time to show her how the plant processes their delicious, world famous almonds.

After Sasha’s tour of the plant, it was time for our management team meeting – the real reason for the trip. As the Coleman and Blue Diamond teams were busily discussing alternative shift schedules for the plant and positive ways to implement new schedules with the hundreds of Blue Diamond team members, Sasha sat quietly in the conference room. I assumed she was playing on her cell phone.

After we left the plant, Sasha asked me several good questions. The conversation went something like this:

Sasha: “Dad, do you always use a lot of math to help people fix schedule problems?”

Me: “Yes, we do. That’s why math is important to learn in school. We use math every day in work and business.”

Sasha: “Dad, are a lot of the people working here not getting many days off?”

Me: “No, they’re not Sasha. That is one of the things we are helping the plant change so the people will have more and better days off. We call that work/life balance.”

Sasha: “Dad, please do a good job for the workers because I wouldn’t like it if you had to work every weekend and I didn’t get to see you.”

This was both a proud dad moment and a moment of pretty great job satisfaction. I spend a lot of time traveling and sometimes work with clients that don’t just see the value in doing the hard work to not only help the business but also create work/life balance for their people. I smiled and told her that we would keep working to create a solution to help the workers at Blue Diamond – after all, there is no one better than our Coleman Consulting team at implementing great solutions.

A month later, I had another proud dad moment when Sasha came home from school with a big smile and an A on her math test. To my surprise, I read the first question of the test, and I smiled too.

Her math question read: Write a real world situation that could be modeled by the equation 24/y = 3

My daughter Sasha had answered: There are 24 hours in a day. The almond plant runs 3 shifts a day.

Y = how many hours in a shift. 24/3 = 8 therefore Y = 8-hour work shifts.

Her concern for some employees who aren’t getting a lot of time off made the math she’s learning in school very real. We may not think our kids are paying attention. Most of the time they are listening, and sometimes they just might just surprise you with what they have learned. This fun trip as a “junior consultant” ended up being a great real world math lesson. And the lesson for me was that my work at Coleman Consulting Group changes lives for the better.

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