Part Three, by William S. Frank
11. I don't know what my future will bring, but I know
it will be good.
This time I was headed to an oil and gas company in Wyoming where a manager was to terminate his best friend of 25 years. This was a tough one. Mark, the manager, asked me to meet him the night before to plan the termination meeting. He met me in his hotel room, which was odd.
He was tearful and said he was terminating his best friend, Travis. Their wives were best friends and worked together. Their children were best friends and played together.
This was one of the few times I've seen a seasoned manager cry.
12. I'm not retiringI'm rewiring.
Anna Jo is a national treasure. She continues to represent Mile High Montessori in the community and in the Colorado legislature, passing bills in favor of early childhood education. She's a wonderful example of re-inventing yourself. If you didn't get to meet Mother Theresa, you should sit down with Anna Jo.
13. When you're hiring, you're creating the future of your company.
Donn left COBE when the company was sold and became my outplacement client. While getting to know him I asked, "What's the most important part of your job?"
I figured he'd say something like, "artificial intelligence, plastic polymers, or statistical sampling." Instead, he said, "Hiring is the most important part of my jobbecause when you're hiring, you're creating the future of your company." That was brilliant, and I've never forgotten it.
Donn's team called prospective R&D engineers into COBE and asked them to make group presentations. They sent the eager candidates home for two weeks, then invited them back for more interviews. They threw difficult technical problems at them, many mission-critical to the business.
They sent the job hunters home again. The waiting was unbearable; I witnessed it when trying to get candidates hired at COBE, and all of us hated it. Interviews were followed by more interviews.
One day it clicked: they're taking their time to get the right fit. They know the candidates, the candidates know them. There are no surprises. "When you're hiring, you're creating the future of your company."
14. With part-time effort, you get part-time results.
All my life my mother taught me that "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." She didn't just teach it, she hammered it into me. And legendary Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." He also said, "Winning isn't a sometime thing. Winning is an all the time thing."
One of my clients was the grandson of the famous Denver architect, Temple Hoyne Buell. Buell established the largest architectural firm in the Rocky Mountains, and designed and built 300 buildings here. He's a legend. I asked the grandson if he might consider part-time work, and he said, "my grandfather said that 'with part-time effort you get part-time results.'" I've always liked that quote.
15. You-all are a lot smarter than I am.
Charles became a close friend, and later, an investor and shareholder in CareerLab®. He attended our two-hour staff meeting every Monday, and we occasionally had lunch at J. Alexander's with what he called "an adult beverage." Although a prominent executive who had been a personal friend of Sheldon Coleman, Charles was understated. Coming from a powerful position in a big company, having clashed with the titans of Wall Street, I would have expected Charles to be more opinionated, but his style was different. He listened a lot and seldom spoke. But when he spoke in a staff meeting, we took notice.
He would sit in a meeting for an hour not saying much, then would begin with something like this: "You-all are a lot smarter than I am, and I don't know nearly as much as you do about this, but couldn't we consider (fill in the blank: taking an equity partner to increase our market share, or staffing a trade show booth)?"
Charles wasn't from the south; he hailed from Wichita, home of the Coleman Company and the Kansas Jayhawks. He said you-all, not y'all.
Of course, everyone in the room understood that Charles knew way more than we did. Ours was, after all, a six-person company, not a 6,000-person company like Coleman. True to his title, he knew how to communicate. Our staff, board of directors, and clients all loved Charles. He was charming, and that endeared us to him.
Charles B. McIlwaine
~ Peter F. Drucker
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