I will get back to my Branding Story Arc next week. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite Holiday. It is all about people and family. I want to start a tradition in my Blog about how a business is defined by people. To start this off, I want to tell a story that comes from the very beginning of my career.
As some readers may know, I come from a small town in Upstate New York. I went to college in Rochester, New York. After college, I took my first job in Miami with Racal-Milgo (a company that changed names in the late 1980s and is now long gone). I drove with a friend from New York to Florida and took an apartment in Ft. Lauderdale right after the 4th of July.
My parents visited me for Labor Day and I had plans to visit home for Christmas. The problem for me was going to be Thanksgiving. It would be the first Holiday that I spent away from home by myself. For me, it was just depressing. My first Holiday alone and it was my favorite Holiday.
The week before Thanksgiving I was working away and my boss asked me to come to his office. His name was Alex Downie. A very funny man who was one of the most unique people you can imagine. He was born and raised in Scotland, but had to move to the US a long time ago. He still had an accent but it wasn’t bad unless he was drinking. He converted to Judaism when he got married. I thought that added the irony that just surrounded the man.
What Alex did that day was to invite me to his house for Thanksgiving Dinner. I went and had a great time with his family. I had met them before in our monthly poker games and it was very nice to be surrounded by people who loved each other.
To me, that is what Business is about – People. Alex did a very human thing and helped a young subordinate get started in his career. I could not imagine a better boss at the time. Alex was not perfect, but he was a very nice, very human man. We lost him just a few years later to cancer. That was the first time I lost someone that was that close to me. His death still makes me sad.
So as we approach the Holidays ask yourself, is there some way to bring Humanity to your Leadership? It is a great way to bring your whole person to bear as a Leader.
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