I often say that I am the makeup of so many people and without question, my mother played a vital role in the formation of my core values. She passed away last August, peacefully in her sleep at age 97. My mom was significant not simply because she gave me life, but because she defied expectations, marching to her own beat. During a time when women were not as career oriented as they are today, my mother pursued a career with American Airlines, leaving her family back home in MI when she relocated to CA. She was an avid pilot, knew how to fly before she knew how to drive, always living life to its fullest. She went on to work in advertising and finally for the state of California in the Employment Development Department from which she eventually retired.
We shared many things, like a passion for golf, she often was found in the hot afternoon sun or pouring rain, walking the course and pulling her cart and she taught me to face challenges head on; and the value of being honest and transparent.
The decisions I make, both personal and business, are influenced by the values of the people I have developed relationships with over the years. In honor of my mother’s legacy, I wanted to share some of my core values that continue to guide me.
Motivation and Drive — Tenacity is critical for success. From watching my mother’s up and downs, I have learned to turn failure into motivation, and if I work hard enough, nothing is out of reach.
Choice — is the way to navigate change. Be deliberate and intentional while thinking through carefully about the future implications of every decision you make and for everything you do. You are creating your own future.
Honesty — Tell the truth; If you did something wrong, own it. Always be honest with your customers, employees and those around you; at the end of the day you will come out on top.
Confidence — There are times you need to take calculated risks by having the confidence to follow your instincts to make critical decisions that will drive progress and results.
The Small Stuff — If you allow for little things to slide, it can lead to a path of least resistance. Who you are is determined by the choices you make each day.
Listen — Wisdom doesn’t just come from our mom or dad; it can come from anywhere, anytime if you are willing to listen. I have been fortunate enough to work with many of the icons of the industry over my 30-year career. Wisdom and knowledge are not gained by talking but by listening.
Since the release of the first iPhone 10 years ago, it has become one of the most influential products ever made, changing our interactions, sense of the world and each other. Even gum sales have dropped 15% since 2007 because we are so consumed by our mobile devices in line at the grocery story we no longer reach for gum to stave off boredom. Technology is shifting our culture in other ways as well. For example:
Cursive handwriting, once considered a fundamental skill, is being phased out of public schools. New York state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis drew the line on the cursive generation gap when she encountered an 18-year-old at a voter registration event who printed out his name in block letters. Malliotakis noted that students who can’t read cursive will never be able to read historical documents. “If an American student cannot read the Declaration of Independence, that is sad.”
Our core values like honesty and integrity are being tested with the proliferation of information on social media. Michael Bugeja, professor, and director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University wants colleges and universities to require students to take media and technology literacy courses so students can learn where to go to find credible news stories.
In “Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself” Peter Drucker wrote: ”In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time — literally — substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.”
Just as we think we are working at the top of our game, new challenges and opportunities present themselves. While technology may shift us, it does not replace thinking and judgment; it can only enhance it.
Over the years, I’ve found that when navigating through uncertainty, I fall back on my core values as my guiding compass. It is easy to get sidetracked by the “new shiny objects”; don’t let them get in the way of who you are and where you are headed. As Peter Drucker said, “The real discipline comes in saying no to the wrong opportunities.”
In today’s ever-changing economic climate, change is inevitable, and the values of a company will drive the business forward. Governor James M. Cox once said, “Ask yourself one question, is it right?” Today, we still live by those words by doing what’s right for our customers, for our communities and each other. The innovative spirit of Cox that has driven our progress over generations will continue guiding us into the future, as we transform the way the world buys, sells and owns cars.
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Originally published at medium.com