life lessons my dad taught me

Life Lessons My Dad Taught Me Growing Up

One of my favorite topics is “Chubby Rules,” the life lessons my dad taught me growing up.

My father’s real name was Harold Hague, but everyone called him Chubby. Like me, he was plump as a kid. (I weighed 220 pounds at 12. The culprit? Eating 5-6 donuts after school each day.)

This week, I am sharing one of Chubby’s best business lessons. I hope it works for you.

What are the life lessons my dad taught me?

One night, Dad and I were brainstorming at his real estate office in Cincinnati. We discussed several ideas to bring in more customers. I casually suggested that we run these ideas by our 100+ sales agents at the next sales meeting.

To this day I remember precisely how Chubby responded.

“Greg,” he said firmly, “most people are uncomfortable with indecision and uncertainty. They need laser sharp focus and firm direction from leadership. This is true in business, politics, even with parents raising kids.

If we constantly “float” our ideas to everyone in the company, they will individually start worrying about how it impacts them personally. Also, they will have an array of varied opinions, perhaps getting hurt feelings if their recommendations aren’t followed.

Be assured that productivity will drop and we’ll be consumed with assuring everyone things will be okay.”

Be selective who you ask for advice

Chubby explained that the best companies are almost always in flux at the top. That’s OK. Good leaders explore creative ideas. But, they are thoughtful about who they bounce those ideas off of, limiting it to a select group.    

When an idea is vetted and finally deemed good enough to become a different direction for the company, it is announced with great fanfare (and planning). It is promoted as a new and amazing “certainty” that will take the company (and its employees) to a higher level.

This new direction must be intelligently and articulately presented as a well thought out plan that’s good for everyone in the company. Jingle is out. Jangle is in. It’s simply an “a” in place of an “i.”  

The Jingle Jangle Rule

The Jingle Jangle Rule doesn’t mean we don’t discuss creative ideas with others. I do it all the time, and their input helps me make better decisions. I limit my “sounding boards” to a carefully chosen few, never a generalized discussion with many.

This lesson applies beyond business. I used it raising my sons. Great political leaders follow it governing (and winning elections).

From inspiring speakers, to bestselling writers, to revered religious figures, they don’t project uncertainty and indecision. Leaders know that people don’t follow uncertainty.

The Jingle Jangle Rule has served me well. My grown sons even use it in their businesses.

The bottom line: Jingle ‘Til You Jangle.

“Leaders lead so that others can follow.”

Ron Edmondson