Leadership Lessons from Leonard Luck: Don’t Walk Past a Mistake

As far back as I can trace, my ancestors have been entrepreneurs. My Great-Grandfather (Joe Luck) sold boots to rubber factory workers in the early 1900s and eventually started a business that still exists today. His son, My Grandfather, owned/operated that business from the 1940s until he sold the business to his brother in the early ’80s. While working for my family’s small business in high school, I had the opportunity carry on the family tradition and learn from my Grandfather.

My Grandpa often visited the store owned/operated by his sons in Columbus, Ohio. It wasn’t just a chance for him to catch up with family but an opportunity for him to teach others about the principles that made him successful. My Grandpa was meticulous about every detail of the stores. The man never walked past a mistake.

Even the way the shoes were organized in the stock room was important to him. My Grandpa used to pull random shoes out of their spot in the wall to see how the wrapping paper was organized inside the shoe box. If didn’t look brand new, he would hand it to me to fix. If the customers knew we were willing to cut corners there, where else would we cut corners?

It’s no secret that the pair of shoes you’re buying has probably been tried on before. However, if the shoe box is disorganized and the paper is torn before you try on your “new” shoes, you tend to lose a bit of confidence in the process despite the obvious.  My Grandpa felt that each box should be treated as if it was a prized possession and even the aesthetics of the inside of the shoe box was an important part of our process.

I try to carry this mentality to this day. If we’re handing out a gently used laptop to someone on their first day of work, it won’t give that employee a lot of confidence in our abilities if the laptop is still covered in stickers from its previous owner. Even though the aesthetics of the laptop have almost nothing to do with the system’s performance, it’s important to give our customers a sense that we take pride in everything we do. What corners do your customers think you’re willing to cut?

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