Leadership requires balance in our lives.
You are children of promise. I hope that you do not plan to be just common but that you plan to excel. There is no place in this world for mediocrity; we need to strive for perfection. You can obtain perfection in so many areas as you seek and work toward the goals you have established.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
The expression one wears on one's face is far more important than the clothes on wears on one's back.
In our relationship, Larry was the more "public" person. I was the "safe place" for him to come to and find peace. It took him a lot of years to accept the fact that I was what he called "milquetoast" until one day I said to him "This is exactly what you like about me --I am the only steady and calm thing in your life." Instantly he knew I was right. He had to go out into the chaotic world and slay dragons every day, and I was able to stay at home and make a place where he could find refuge, comfort, and love when he returned. He appreciated that.
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.
A lot of people simply don't bring this intensity to work, although they don't realize it. I try to describe it this way: Let's say there's an intensity level of 10. Some people can work to a certain intensity level and think they worked hard and achieve a 9 1/2. Another person can work at it and do a bad job and believe he or she worked to a 9 or a 10, but it would actually be a 4. So many people work at the minimums rather than the maximums. They're going to do as little as they can to pull together all the loose ends. A bunch of people say, "I wanna have..." and "I wanna be..." but they're not willing to pay the price. The price is time and effort and being a student of what you're doing.
Larry Miller never did change, even though his bank account did. As Lee Benson wrote in the Deseret News, he was the kind of man you hoped you'd be if you had money. Miller was arguably the most famous and beloved man in Utah, but he never acted as if he knew it. Benson recalled a quote from Kipling when he wrote of Miller: "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings, nor lose the common touch."
That was Miller's nature, but he also went to some pains to ensure that money didn't change him. As I sat in the Miller house with Gail, she placed her late husband's wristwatch, wedding ring, and wallet on the table in front of me. "Notice anything about them?" she asked. The ring is a plain gold band-which he liked to tell people cost $22- and the watch is a nondescript $100 Seiko with a worn leather wristband. He wore the same watch for years, changing only the band when it began to crack. He didn't buy a new wallet until the stitching fell out of the old one. "He wanted to keep grounded and remember where he came from and not put on airs." says Gail. "He made a conscious effort to remain the same."
Larry wrote in his notes: "The worry I have with having nice things is getting dependent on them and not having the toughness to survive without them."
"You've got the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, you've got the lake, and you've got the Utah Jazz," says Frank Layden. "That's what people know. I travel all around the world, and everywhere I go that's what people talk about when they learn you're from Utah. The Utah Jazz. John Stockton. Karl Malone. The Jazz have been critical to this city. If you don't have that arena and the Jazz, we don't get the Olympics. And we don't get the NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Finals.
"I'll tell you this: Larry's name should be on that arena somewhere. On the floor or on the building, whatever. When he got into something, he took it seriously. You'd see him down on the ground with a hard hat on when they were building that thing. When he built the Delta Center it was the best arena in basketball. It's first class."