A Business Lesson From a Broken Glass Table

Business Management

A Business Lesson From a Broken Glass Table

A couple of nights ago we had a pretty wild wind storm at our place. (When I say at our place it obviously wasn’t just our place but it does sound more dramatic that way!)

My wife and I both heard lots of things rattling and flapping through the night, but we didn’t hear the big bang some time in the early morning. The wind had caught the big canopy umbrella and lifted it out of its slot so it toppled and fell on to the glass-topped outdoor table. The table subsequently shattered into a million bits…

On the grass!

OK, so I wasn’t happy about the table. And the umbrella wasn’t in too good shape either. But to have that amount of glass sitting on the grass was a bit of a disaster. It was a bit like this except the table was about twice the size. And did I mention it was on the grass?

So it had to be cleaned up as soon as possible. We can wear shoes but the dog can’t.  

There were some big chunks (which tended to crumble when touched) but mostly tiny bits from the safety glass, sinking into the too long grass. I thought briefly about using the mower to pick it all up but quickly ruled that out as not my smartest idea ever.

It was a huge task and somewhat daunting, so I decided to start at edges and pick up small sections at a time. It was slow going but as I worked away I started to think about the task in relation to other big challenges – such as building a business. The parallels were very interesting:

  • I worked slowly and carefully, not looking at whole situation (which was somewhat demoralising), just the section in front of me. But I knew why I was doing it and what I was aiming for so that kept me quite motivated (GOALS).
  • I had a small cup into which I placed the pieces I had picked up. (Did I mention they were small and there were about a million of them?) With each full cup I got a strange sense of satisfaction at having achieved something tangible (MILESTONES).
  • Occasionally I’d look up and see what had been achieved and was pleasantly surprised (REVIEW).
  • I had to work in a position that wasn’t the most comfortable (kneeling) and I got small cuts on a reasonably regular basis. So I was sure to take breaks when I felt myself getting a bit careless or tired, avoiding the risk of doing too much damage (RISK MITIGATION).
  • Eventually I was able to get some support from my son in the large task which made it so much easier (TEAMWORK).
  • Finally we brought the vacuum cleaner to the party and literally sucked up the glass fragments. (I’m sure it wasn’t the best for the vacuum but I figured it was used to picking up dirt anyway). That way we were able to really move things along and make it easier to get all the tiny bits (TECHNOLOGY).

I love how there are business and life lessons all around us J.

David Solomon

Business Performance Strategist at

I help women entrepreneurs to build a Higher Purpose Business – a business that serves their values – one that works for them, not them working for it. My mission is to help women in business unlock their magnificence. The end game? To help women build businesses that are rewarding for the heart and for the purse - thereby to economically enable and empower women to help heal the world.

Comments (1)
Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Love the analogy and it made me smile :) I'm just feeling dread thinking about all the pieces you had to pick up but well done :D!