I am an 80 year old, legally blind entrepreneur whose motto is to find a need and fill it. That is how I founded several businesses, four of which went public. My first business was selling newspapers at 6 years old on the Sioux City streets where I grew up. That is not one of the companies I took public though!
I was raised, and I use the term lightly, by my single mother until I was 10 years old before someone reported her to Child Protective Services. It was at that time that my two brothers and I were moved to the Boys & Girls Home. I lived there for most of my high school years. My intention after high school was to enlist in the Marines, but I wanted to wait until my two buddies graduated so we could join together. I received enough academic pressure from a few teachers to enroll in college and I had a scholarship from playing football, so I thought, why not, I would go for a few months while I waited for my buddies to graduate high school. While in college, I had a coach ask me if I intended to learn anything while I was there. It was somewhat of a challenge for me and he made me realize that knowledge is power.
I went on to receive my master’s degree in Hospital Administration, which eventually brought me to Baltimore to save the failing Baltimore County General Hospital. This led me to create a nursing home empire that afforded me the luxury of becoming a millionaire by the time I was 35 years old. At that point, I didn’t know what to do. Should I retire?
I took a mini-vacation to decide what to do with my life and I realized – football was my ticket out of the economic ghetto – I was going to coach football. That was the beginning of the Jiffy Lube chapter of my life.
• My motto is: find a need and fill it!
Jiffy Lube: When I was coaching at Western Maryland College one of the players came to me and said there were no opportunities left in America anymore and I told him he was wrong. He said I bet you couldn’t do it again; I told him yes I can and I will take some of your classmates with me. That challenge alone took me onto the next chapter of my career, Jiffy Lube. Learn to face the challenges and take the initiative to empower yourself and others to become leaders.
• A leader is the commander, the captain. Everyone can be a leader. Leadership means doing something with vim, vigor, and vitality. Going gung ho at whatever you are doing and doing it with such spirit that others will want to follow you.
• Great leaders are believers and makers of change. They possess a vision that allows them to set their sights on what truly merits attention.
Leadership can be using what you have learned to motivate and educate someone else to achieve a common goal. Leadership can be taking even the smallest idea and building it into something you and the people you have recruited as your team can be proud of because you found a need and you filled it.
Recognize a specific action and be the one to influence the change. Take that first step and have the courage to say, follow me, and then start moving forward.
• A good leader cannot do it all on his own. Rely on the input and ideas of your team. Believe me, they have ideas.
Leadership requires a team. Someone behind you to keep you focused and to take care of all the details of specific projects.
• Do not be afraid to approach your colleagues for advice and assistance. Part of my leadership skills have always been about surrounding myself with people who work with me to make the best choices for the projects at hand. Right now, the Hindman Foundation’s Advisory Board is instrumental in making the foundation a success by providing the knowledge of their leadership skills from their own careers.
Compliment and reward your team.
• Have a clear vision and drive that vision throughout the organization. Clearly describe your vision to your team so everyone is working toward the same goal.
• Leaders know what culture needs to exist throughout the organization, what cultures should be changed, and what to preserve. Recruit team members who embrace the desired culture.
• Great leaders have core beliefs and values and all team members should support those same core beliefs and values. This is the moral compass that the organization will rely on during normal operations, decision making, and at times of adversity.
• Great leaders help others achieve their goals. They recognize the strengths of their team members and capitalize on them. Ask your team members what they enjoy doing most as this will encourage them to put more thought and effort into their assigned tasks.
• Plan, organize & control are good words to examine
Plan: a detailed, written proposal for doing or achieving something specific
A plan is not a plan unless it is in writing. Write down your plan as a record and projection of where you are going.
Keep a record/journal of your activity and achievements to review later.
Short term and long-term goals must be based on a plan that can be defined in specific time frames
Organize: arrange resources into a structured whole and recognize the missing pieces to get you to the goal.
Control: the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. Leadership is control of self.
Control your energy and time and let it flow
• You will feel the need to make every decision the right decision, but that can cause too much stress. Make each decision as right as possible, without the anxiety. This will help you overcome hesitancy and fear.
• Great leaders draw on past experiences and reach out to their mentors and trusted advisors for support. Remember, knowledge is power!
• Reevaluate and review your path and actions because you can get off course easily. Keeping on track and focused is essential, if not, follow your gut.
• Demonstrate commitment at all times. This will earn the respect of your team and instill that same hardworking energy among them.
• Define your idea of success so you can gauge how close you come to success
• I conclude with the belief that each of you have more leadership skills than you realize. Exercise that skill.
• Emotionally commit yourself to the success of the mission
• Knowledge is power!
• Leadership is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
• Never, never, never give up!