Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Power of Respect

Visualize this scenario: A home was offered for sale. A potential buyer evaluated the real estate and agreed to buy it at the asking price and terms of payment. The seller and buyer verbally agreed to close the deal in two weeks. During the two week period, the house caught fire and burned to the ground. Devastated and almost in tears, the seller told the buyer that his house was destroyed by accidental fire. The potential buyer responded: "No, my house burned; we had an agreement". The deal closed as agreed and the buyer paid full price for the pile of ashes.

This incident happened to Dave Longaberger involving a factory. He agreed to buy a vendor's facility which burned before the closing date. He followed through with the purchase, rebuilt the factory, bought new equipment, and reemployed the workforce to manufacture raw materials for his basket company. It may seem illogical to pay full price for ashes when it wasn't required, but, this man deviated from tradition and took actions counter to conventional wisdom throughout his life. Today, thousands of people are gainfully employed because of the dreams, vision, and passions of this one person. Mr. Longaberger was a success in life as well as in business.

Dave was 21 when he graduated high school. During his youth, he stuttered, he also experienced epileptic seizures, and wasn't a high performer when it came to school work. He was highly decent and had respect for everyone. Although he accumulated wealth, he was not obsessed by money and was generous in gifting. He developed 18 management principles that are presented in his book. He was largely responsible for reversing an economic decline in the small town of Dresden, Ohio and put it on a path of growth. Dave Longaberger was so admired that 8,000 people attended his memorial service in 1999 when he died at age 64 from cancer.

I could relate much more about this extraordinary man after reading his biography which is shown in the picture, but, you may want to read about his amazing life story. The book is Longaberger: An American Success Story by Robert L. Shook and Dave Longaberger. The publisher is HarperCollins 2001 copyright, 234 pages.

Have a good week!



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