Since I was a kid, Thanksgiving has always meant the congregation of family. More than any other holiday, the values and traditions of Thanksgiving have had a tremendous impact on my life.
I remember how the entire family would always gather around my grandparents’ table. My grandparents owned a dairy farm with plenty of work to be done. But, when Thanksgiving came around, the chores were briefly forgotten and grandma began the loving task of preparing the holiday table. Of course, grandpa chipped in and helped as much as gram would allow. The most important thing, was that my grandparents took ownership of Thanksgiving.
My grandparents lived a long fulfilling life, and when they could no longer prepare the Thanksgiving table, my wife and I took ownership of that loving task. We always enjoy doing it; after all, traditions need a leader to survive.
Part of our family tradition is to remember the “giving” part of Thanksgiving — or any generous act — is a gesture from the heart, with no thoughts of “how will our guests give back what we’ve put forth, or will I be remembered for my generosity to the local Foodbank?” Actually, everyone in our family has a role to play in the Thanksgiving celebration; each person brings their traditional dish to the holiday table.
The people of Shamrock are also my family. Here, too, everyone has a role. And here, too, I take the initiative, but I choose to ask everyone to share in the preparation of making Shamrock among the best places to work. And I’m blessed to have this wonderful, extended family in my life. They are a significant part of my success.
Like my personal family, my Shamrock family shares the traditions we’ve established through the years. For example, we have a saying here: “If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it.” We often ship boxes based on an equal number of items per box. A wise woman in shipping discovered one box among many was short several printed pieces, and one box was over the same number. I told her it was okay to ship, since we weren’t shortchanging the customer. “No,” she said. “I can’t ship it, because shipping is my responsibility, and we promise to ship the same exact number per box. I can’t say I would be proud to ship this job, since the numbers per box are wrong.
I guess I “raised” her with the right set of values and traditions. And I was proud of her… and a bit proud of myself, too.
Traditions and values need a leader to make sure they thrive from one generation to the next. This is true for personal and business families. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy the gift of sharing in leadership before the next generation takes the reins during this season of Giving Thanks!