Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

My example, my hero

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My heart is heavy as I write this article; my father passed away a few days ago. I’ve been thinking about Dad and the important lessons he taught me, both when I was growing up and lived with him in my childhood home, and in the years since. He was an honest, hard-working, humble man. He was always happy and loved to crack jokes—I didn’t think they were funny when I was a teenager, but now I find myself doing the same thing with my sons.

Though I don’t think it was ever his specific intent, he taught my siblings and me – and many others in the community – how to lead in whatever we pursued. Here are three important lessons that have helped me get to where I’m at today:

My example

Hard work: Nothing replaces hard work. No matter what job you must accomplish, there’s nothing more important than getting busy and getting the work done. Dad raised me on a cattle ranch, and there always seemed to be work waiting for us. He taught me the best way to get things done was to “roll up your sleeves and get to work.”

Responsibility: At a very young age, Dad taught me responsibility. He gave me chores to do and paid me for the hours I worked, with the agreement that I would keep track of my time. I learned, at a young age, the importance of accounting for the work I did. He let me start my own cattle herd at a very young age. That experience taught me about how business works and sparked my desire to someday own my own business.

Perseverance: If you want to succeed, you’ve got to “stick with it.” Dad taught me the importance of the statement “stick with a task until it sticks to you.” He taught that if you press forward with hope and desire, you can accomplish anything you set out to do. Dad continued to teach this lesson in his older years. He suffered with cancer and the pain that went with it. He always had a smile on his face no matter the circumstances. In our last meeting, on July 4th, he was positive and gave me great advice. He fought the good fight right up to the end.

These lessons, and many others he taught me, came much more from his example and the way he lived than from eloquent speeches or sit-down discussions. I love you Dad! Until we meet again…

Questions: What have you learned from your father? How do you honor his name? Please leave a comment in the space below.

The Product Management Perspective: I have learned there are things more important than products. The relationships we have with the important people in our lives are far more meaningful.

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