Some Advice for Kay
My father listened more than he talked. After a large sit-down at our house, a friend once remarked, “That meal was over an hour. The only word I heard your father say was bread. He didn’t even ask for the butter.”
When I told my dad, his reply made me laugh. He said, “I don’t like butter much.”
My dad left home and school in 1919. He was 12. Everything he knew about business and life he learned from paying attention to the world around him.
It was my dad who taught me to view the world as a lifelong business school.
The Best Business Advice Ever . . . in 50 Words
Each morning when he drove me to school, my dad would point out people we saw and tell me what he observed. When we got the place where he dropped me off, we had a small ritual — a sort of script we would go through. I can’t say quite how it started, and I no longer remember it word for word. But it went something like this . . .
Dad would park the car, turn to me, smile, and ask, “What’s the score?”
I would answer the same every time, with words I had learned from him — bits at a time — over the years. To this day it’s the best business advice I’ve ever heard.
Learn your business from your customers. Understand their minds, their hearts, and their lives. Do what you do to make their lives easier. When a problem comes, leave them a place to stand and stand tall beside them. . . . And remember, everyone is your customer, even your dad.
Then his eyes would light with smile. He’d offer his huge, work-worn hand, shake mine, give a nod, and say, “It’s a pleasure doing business with you.”
I’d answer something like, “Oh dad, you’re too cool.”
All I would add is cherish the rituals and traditions. They make moments remarkably unforgettable.
What’s the best business advice you ever heard? Is there a story that goes with it?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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