Zig Ziglar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zig_Ziglar) is one of the best salesmen our world has ever known. He’s quoted often, but one of his quotes sticks with me as I go about each business day. Ziglar often said, “Rules are important, but example is the great stimulus.” I learned that observing by example is among the greatest teachers from my earliest mentors. My family.
My grandparents worked hard. My dad’s father worked at two demanding jobs. During the day, he was an auto mechanic. In the evening he tended a working farm. My grandmother sold the fruits from the farm at a stand near their home. This grandfather taught me the discipline to work long and hard and enjoy the benefits of your labor. My dad’s parents benefited from their hard work by becoming world travelers throughout their lives. My grandfather was a strict disciplinarian, but a kind teacher.
My mom’s dad was a true character. He so believed that work was salvation and reward that, if there were no chores to be done, he would create one. One day he mixed a huge can of roofing nails into his cinder driveway, and promised me a penny for each nail I found. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time, and with hard work, I earned a whopping dollar and 5 cents that day. This grandfather taught me that for every chore there must be a reward, or why bother?
The elders of my family were the first, and in some ways, most important mentors in my life. This includes my dad. Dad was a very conservative, hard-working, blue collar factory man. He worked at Lincoln Electric. If you know anything about Lincoln Electric, you know the company was founded on hard work and was driven by profit as an incentive to perform. One summer, I worked with dad and got to see him in action on the company’s production line. The line was solely dependent on teamwork. Your income was driven by the guy behind you and the guy in front of you. If they performed well, you were paid well. Needless to say, they all worked as a team to achieve a higher profit for the company, and for themselves. My dad taught me the importance of teamwork, productivity and managing with fewer, trusted employees for the long haul. And making sure they’re treated with respect and reward for a job done well.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT… A good mentor is generally a good leader. Good leadership starts with being willing to work hard yourself. That’s a philosophy I learned from my early mentors, and something I believe I carry with me to Shamrock. No one will be asked to do something I wouldn’t do myself. Including washing the dishes after a meeting.