Like most farmers, my grandpa had a second trade to supplement the farm. He ran a car repair shop in the small town of Blackwell. It was not far from 1-35, so he was the one who got the calls when someone broke down on the side of the road. In the decades of running the shop, he rescued many travelers. Some of the other car shops would take advantage of the stranded motorists with high rates. Not Grandpa George. When it came time to pay he’d tell them, give me what you think it is worth to you. Crazy business logic, right?
When I struck out into my career, my Dad passed on some of that family wisdom. My parents showed me these principals, so it wasn’t a surprise when Dad verbalized them. Here are the two takeaways…
No Matter the Task, Give Your Best
No exceptions. If you’re scrubbing a toilet, be the best toilet scrubber there is. If you’re filing paperwork, give it 100%. If you’re planning and implementing a marketing campaign, pour yourself into it. At some point, your mindset needs to shift that this isn’t only about you.
How Can I Make You Successful?
My Dad asks one thing, the driving force of his work: “How can I make you successful?” Think about your business interactions and what are the ones that stay with you? I’m going to guess it was when someone took the time to help you solve a problem, who helped you out, or went the extra mile.
Uncommon Work Ethic
In the dog-eat-dog world of business, these words make no sense. You have to do whatever it takes to get to the top, right? But what if there is a different way, one that centers around the people around you? Business can and should be about relationship building. When your focus is on solving someone else’s problems, you build respect and trust. You know, the sandwich shop that knows your order when you walk in the door or the greeter that made you smile on a bad day. It is these people who are connecting on a human level instead of a monetary one.
At the end of the day, my grandpa was well-known for his car repair shop and had the respect and love of those who knew him, not to mention all the stranded motorists he saved. My dad is not any different and has kept this work ethic going strong. Let’s not forget the simplicity of giving our best in whatever our job is and focusing on helping our fellow man. It’s what Grandpa and Dad have done, and the advice I’ll be passing on to my kids.