Leadership requires balance in our lives.
We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
How did we do it? I get asked that often. Here is one of the main messages in this whole book: It is not fancy. It is as fundamental as blocking and tackling. I just did it. I just went to work every day and did everything that needed to be done.
I have a three-legged milk stool in my office perched on top of a cabinet. It is a great symbol for how to succeed in business. There are three legs: Take care of the customer, have a little fun, make a little money. If you don't do that, it doesn't work, but if you do, it comes together easily....
I learned that too many people who become bosses don't understand the market or work as hard as they should.
Here's a classic trap: A businessman is successful with one business, so he thinks two or three or four would be even better. This changes the equation dramatically. With one operation, you can be there yourself and use the sheer force of your personality to drive it, but as soon as you get two you're dividing your time; you need someone who is strong and good enough to run the other business. It's going to be more difficult to make a profit. Other people don't care about it as much as you do. There are some who work hard, but they are few....
Good people are hard to find, but they're there. We've got many good people in our organization. The trick is to find them jobs that keep them interested and match their talents and what they want to do (not everyone is a boss). Then you have a happy, motivated work force. In our company, we give our general managers the opportunity to buy 10 percent of the dealerships they manage. We prefer that they do this-obviously, someone who has a financial stake in the business is motivated to work hard and make the business a success.
His temper was something I don't know he ever got over, but he learned to control it. He confused temper and passion a lot. I told him that, but he had a hard time seeing it. He felt like if he didn't get angry he wasn't true to his passion. One time he said to me, "You wouldn't understand because you're so milquetoast." But finally it dawned on him that you don't have to be angry to be passionate or strong-willed. You can be those things and be a nice person.
Here the Lord counsels us on balance. Faith is vital, but it must be accompanied by the personal work appropriate to the task. Only then do we qualify for the blessing. The appropriate approach for students is to study as if everything depended upon them and then to pray and exercise faith as if everything depended upon the Lord.
Not all lessons will be learned in the classroom. The most important ones will be learned as you are on your knees. Some will distill in your mind and heart as you seek to use this experience as one of establishing the right balance in your life. Here you will set the priorities of life. Will they be primarily material or spiritual? Do they continue to center on service, or are they drifting toward selfishness?
You might expect that if you spent such an extended period in twelve different households, what you would gather is twelve different ideas about how to raise children: there would be the strict parents and the lax parents and the hyperinvolved parents and the mellow parents and on and on. What Lareau found, however, is something much different. There were only two parenting "philosophies," and they divided almost perfectly along class lines. The wealthier parents raised their kids one way, and the poorer parents raised their kids another way.
The wealthier parents were heavily involved in their children's free time, shuttling them from one activity to the next, quizzing them about their teachers and coaches and teammates... That kind of intensive scheduling was almost entirely absent from the lives of the poor children. (In the poor children's lives) what a child did was considered by his or her parents as something seperate from the adult world and not particularly consequentential.
Lareau calls the middle-class parenting style "concerned cultivation." It's an attempt to actively "foster and assess a child's talents, opinions and skills." Poor parents tend to follow, by contrast, a strategy of "accomplishment of natural growth." They see it as their responsibility to care for their children, but to let them grow and develop on their own.
Lareau stresses that one style isn't morally better than the other. The poorer children were, to her mind, often better behaved, less whiny, more creative in making use of their own time, and had a well-developed sense of independence. But in practical terms, concerted cultivation has enormous advantages. The heavily scheduled middle-class child is exposed to a constantly shifting set of experiences. She learns teamwork and how to cope in highly structured settings. She is taught how to interact comfortably with adults, and to speak up when she needs to....
By contrast the working-class and poor children were characterized by "an emerging sense of distance, distrust, and constraint.
Nature strives for balance.