At some point or another, everybody had a father. It happens that I have a great one, whom I’m lucky to still have. With Fathers’ Day this weekend, I’ve been contemplating all the things my dad has taught me throughout my life. If you’re lucky, your dad taught you all kinds of things, like how to throw a baseball, believing in yourself, and how to treat people well. Hopefully he also taught you about perseverance and tough love.
Business may not be the first topic that pops into your head when you think about the lessons you’ve learned from your dad. Perhaps it should be. If you look closely, dads can demonstrate a great deal of good business practices. They may not even realize they’re doing it, but their behavior reveals strong business acumen.
Here are 4 business tips you can learn from a dad that you might not realize:
1. High Standards
Do you remember those arguments you’d get into with your dad, perhaps when you didn’t perform well on a report card, or you’d done something you knew was against the rules? Remember when he disapproved of your haircut almost as much as he disapproved of that one friend? Believe it or not, dads who do this are, perhaps infuriatingly, displaying an innate sense of an important business rule. Dads have high standards for their kids, just as a business leader must have high standards for himself, his employees, and his products. Demanding the best quality is an important way of keeping customers happy, helping employees grow, and building a reputation that sets up the business up for long-term success.
2. Understanding Your Role
Smart dads and smart husbands know exactly where they stand. They understand that the wife and mother is the boss, and they don’t try to overplay their hand. This doesn’t mean dads don’t take initiative: think about all the times dads help and support mom and kids without being asked. It does mean that he’s a good team player who doesn’t recklessly upset the apple cart or take dangerous risk.
3. Long-Term Planning
Whether it’s planning for retirement, saving for college tuition, or organizing the logistics of the family vacation, dads are always planning for the future. They have clear goals, and they lay out exactly how they plan to get there. They understand that well-planned projects turn into completed projects. This is exactly the kind of clarity and vision needed in business. Leaders need to understand what success means and what steps must be completed to get there. A commitment to long-term planning puts your company in a position for long-term success. It also encourages market awareness and useful innovation. It sets an example for everyone in the company to think about how their daily actions could contribute to the continued health of the company.
Dads can be outrageous. They can be silly, wild, and maybe a little embarrassing. Dads are supposed to be fun, and this is one of the most important business lessons of all. As a leader, you set the tone for your company, both in terms of internal culture and how external parties view you. Being fun can be a powerful statement about your ethos. Employees who are happy at their job and have a good time produce higher-quality work, offer better customer service, and are more dedicated to their company. Fun increases employee engagement and builds customer relationships. It’s a way of going about business that pays infinite dividends.