4 Lessons From a CEO Dad
Like many CEOs, I'm a parent too. In my case, a long-widowed father of a daughter and two sons. One of my sons has started his career, the other is still in college, and my married daughter has her own start-up company to run.
Like most parents, I've given my children plenty of advice over the years--some good, some bad, and some that my three wiseacres just flat-out ignored. (I tend to conveniently forget what I've said in the latter two categories).
But in this advice-giving process, I've stumbled upon what I think are four good, fatherly insights. They apply as much to business as to the rest of your life:
1. Right beats easy, but done beats perfect.
Many recent college graduates seem to think they need to find their perfect job right out of the gate. I certainly didn't find mine until I launched Blinds.com well into my forties. But in a way, each prior job was "perfect" at the time because each was just the thing to prepare me to create, eventually, my perfect job. In business, when you launch a project, website, app, or anything... the same holds true. Don't worry if it's not perfect, because it never will be. Go live, observe, and keep tweaking it until you're getting the results you want--and if you don't get them, just try something else.
2. Who you are is more important than what you do.
Never make assumptions about someone based on his or her title. Many of us had to work our way up from lowly positions, so we should know better than to disparage or ignore someone for lack of status. We look to everyone in the company for ideas, because we're all equal in our ability to make suggestions. When you actually listen to people they won't just feel significant, they will be. Listen, observe, and respect everyone around you and you'll be surprised how much better everyone will be.
3. Fall in love.
OK, maybe not with your co-worker. But with your work, your spouse, a hobby, your life. In everything you do, find the heart and keep it beating. Without passion, it's almost impossible to take even the first step--and we all know the first step is the most important. It takes an emotional stimulus to motivate people to perform at the top of their game, and your passion is a necessary ingredient.
4. You can always be better than you think you can.
I read my children that classic, The Little Engine That Could, and I meant every word of it. Continuous improvement applies to yourself as well as to your work. Get a little better every day. But don't get too carried away: Remember lesson No. 1.
What are the lessons you're teaching your own children? Your employees?
JAY STEINFELD | Columnist | CEO, Blinds.com