Sunday is Father’s Day. And just over a year ago, I bid a final farewell to my Dad.
I learned many values and leaderships skills from my Dad, even though at the time I wasn't paying attention. He was a role model.
This essay (below) reflects on seven philosophies and leadership qualities essential for influential leaders and marketers.
In 2004, I sent these leadership qualities to advice columnist Dear Abby for consideration in her Father’s Day column. She published it.
Using the titles of the seven values from my original version (with some adaptation), but with descriptions and values adapted for leaders and marketers today, I offer these recommendations based on what I learned from my Dad, my role model, while growing up on a farm.
1. Make Hay When the Sun Shines.
Not every marketing campaign, nor every quarter or every year, will be profitable. Count on it. So when business is good, capitalize on it. Test more and outside the box, probably with more risk, while you can afford it. Someday your messaging is going to fatigue and you should have three tested campaigns ready to go.
2. Sharpen Tools on a Rainy Day.
When things are slow, invest in yourself and develop your team. Go to an event. Read books and discuss what you learn together. Review your Unique Selling Proposition. Take a critical eye to your marketing message and ask if it’s confusing, unbelieveable, boring, or awkward. Reinvent often because marketing today is evolving and changing at a dizzying pace.
3. Do Two Things at Once.
Whether you’re the leader of your organization, or a manager, in this day and age you must master the art of multi-tasking. Now, I’m the first to say that you can overtask your mind to mush (especially with so many interruptions from email, texts, or IMs). But you must juggle efficiently to double your effectiveness.
4. Keep Machines Cleaned and Maintained.
Take care of stuff. Like the tools and technologies you use to get your work done. Learn about new technologies that could apply to your business. Get in front of change and you’ll find it a more satisfying experience than when you’re behind the curve.
5. Stay Between the Lines.
Don’t be the marketer who drifts into a gray area of ethics. Don’t risk your reputation thinking you can make a few more bucks with a questionable offer. A reputation takes years to build, and seconds to destroy. Bad behavior will catch up with you.
6. Take the High Road.
Business culture today is vastly different than when I first started in direct marketing in 1978. It’s more competitive and tougher. Treat your staff, customers, vendors and others as you would want to be treated.
Customer trust is earned and built over time. It needs to be consistent. When you’re true to your customers, they will stick with you. That’s powerful. And trust is what leads to long-term business success.
You can read the full “farmer’s version” of "What I Learned From You" here.