Business Lessons I Learned from my Mother

My mother was Miss Romagna. Her name is Anna Laura. I wanted to have her purple blue eyes and ready smile. She has the welcoming spirit of a woman always ahead of the times and comfortable in her own skin.

In addition to being a mother of three (all girls), she has had multiple careers — accounting, sales, public office, geriatric care, and beautician; some overlapping for years.

Mother really gets communications — the listening part especially — the organization of work, along with the care of the individual.  Whether she negotiated credit rates or the recovery of the elderly, she made significant contributions to the health and sustainability of the relationships she helped create.

While she was busy building a customer base for the advertising agency she helped get off the ground — her book of business was in the order of several million Euros — she never forgot to lend a hand in our projects.

In fact, I owe it to her if I completed many a course work in University.

To this day, mother remains the Chairman of my Personal Board and my very best friend and confidant.

Along with teaching me the meaning of independence by example, here are three of the lessons I learned from mother that helped me in business:

  • Always leave a place and person in a better condition than you found them in — a deceivingly simple thought that can have great ramifications. It means you show up, contribute, and remain present to what is asked of you in the moment. I've found myself wiping the water splash around a sink at an airport while thinking about this. Or stopping to chat with someone who needs to be heard even if I'm in a hurry. As a manager, this means learning to draw out the skill and talent people already have.
  • Tell them the truth — if a program is not going to work, don't sell it to them. Shift your focus from making the buck in the short term to building the relationship for the long term. In a team environment, be honest and kind at the same time. As a manager, this means having frank conversations with your people. There is no need to be brutal when honest.
  • Stay positive — no matter the circumstances and people, always find a way to express your energy in a way that includes and accepts. Creative people focus on the problem and challenge with an eye to finding a solution — often this is where innovation brews. Using time and effort to move forward is wise and productive. If you think about it, what holds us back is often our thinking that we can't do it. Or looking at a closed door for too long. As a manager, this translates into providing feedback in a timely and constructive manner.

There are many more.

All revolve around the philosophy that being your real self beats being a copy of someone else any day. This is a tribute to all mothers — teachers, friends, sisters, colleagues, bosses, heads of state, etc. They all leave a profound imprint in our lives and hearts every day.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, the beautiful connective tapestry of our lives.

What lessons did your mother teach you?


[recent image of mom at a party]


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