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“You have to do what you have to do”

jordan hard workI recently dropped off a suit at the cleaners in my neighborhood. I was surprised to see the owner, Paul, sewing on a button. I said to him, “I was not aware that you were a tailor!” His comment was, “You have to do what you have to do—it is part and parcel of delivering a quality product. You want to make it right and you want to deliver the finished product correctly and on time!”

It reminded me of going with my grandfather, JD Green, to his factory one Saturday. He had his own corner in the plant and I was surprised to see him looking at various garments. Each garment had a certain minor flaw—usually a spot or maybe a non-functioning zipper. He showed me how to fix each defect. A number of his sons made fun of him for working on Saturday, doing work which some would consider below his stature in the community. My grandfather explained that he saved his company many dollars by repairing the product and being able to sell it as a “first” for the full price. His work ethic set the standard for his employees who, like me, respected him and aimed to follow in his footsteps.

I thank my parents and grandparents for teaching me to work hard and pay attention to the details. As my mentor/mother would say, “Nothing comes easy,” and “You do not postpone until tomorrow what you can and should do today.”

This “hard work” ethic is the catalyst behind successful people in every field, from athletes like Michael Jordan to executives like Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Jordan spent his off seasons taking hundreds of jump shots a day. Schultz continues to work from home even after putting in 13 hour days. When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban started his first company, he would stay up until 2 a.m. reading about new software, and went 7 years without a vacation. He writes in his blog that it took an incredible amount of work to benefit from his “luck.”

Success doesn’t just happen magically. “You have to do what you have to do.” You are the role model for your team. Your work ethic sets the standard for your employees and shapes the corporate culture. Your diversity and hard work models success to your staff and contributes to the growth of your company. As your business grows, so does your future.