I’d like to wish all the fathers out there a happy Father’s Day. And if you’re not a father, then a happy Father’s Day to your father.
Since leadership is a prime component of lean success, it belongs on this blog as much as any topic. Research demonstrates that our parents are still the primary influence on our character as we grow up. So in honor of that, I thought I would ask this question of all of you:
What did your father teach you about leadership?
I could go on for this subject for quite a while, but I will share two specific traits that my father demonstrated by example. One was ethics. It was very clear that there is no such thing as business ethics or situational ethics; there is just ethics. You either do what’s right or you don’t – period. You can’t cheat a little on your taxes just because everyone else does (some statistics show that more than half of us do) or lie a little just because you won’t have to work with the person again. Ethics are the cornerstone of your relationship to the rest of society. The other thing he taught me was responsibility. My father was president of Weldon Machine Tool for 25 years. Responsibility is an easy word, but is only tested in the toughest of times. When Weldon had a bad year, he sacrificed his salary so that the company and the employees could continue on.
There is an interesting book called the 100 Mile Walk which is about a father and son who went on long walks to iron out their collective thoughts, and differences, on leadership. It also taught them a lot about each other. I actually have not read it yet, but plan to buy it and read it. It was reviewed this week in Business Week (which you need to subscribe to to read). Here’s a segment:
The six months of strolling and hiking in 2004 resulted in a book, The 100-Mile Walk: A Father and Son on a Quest to Find the Essence of Leadership, published in January. It also smoothed out their relationship. Sander owned up to making “a lot of mistakes” with his family. “I learned a lot about myself from Jon,” he says. “I’m sorry I didn’t do it earlier.” Jonathon came to understand his father’s ambition, his constant talk of being best in class. “Before, they were just words,” says Jonathon. “He convinced me of the heart of it, what it can mean for a group of people to know they’ve done their best.”
If you are interested in the book, you can check it out here:
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