That day, my dad sobered up and never had a drink the rest of his life. As the oldest, I shouldered a lot of that family dysfunction.
My mother was a preschool teacher at the Presbyterian Church. She was diagnosed with cancer when I was in college, and the doctors told her she had six months to live. She lived for 20 more years. She was tough.
The fact that my family was a bit broken in my younger years is part of what drove me into sports, and team sports especially, where you’re surrounded by friends and constantly supported.
I put on a face that my family was normal and I was going to get good grades, persevere and be disciplined to push through, despite everything. I’m still very disciplined about how I manage my time.
Early leadership lessons for you?
I was at Procter & Gamble, which was a promote-from-within company that placed a huge emphasis on the role of the manager to develop their people. In fact, it was part of your performance review.
My first hire was supersmart, but he really wasn’t performing over time, and I felt pressure to get this guy promoted. I basically carried him and got him promoted. But about four months later, he was gone for performance reasons.
The big lesson for me, and it stuck with me forever, is that you’ve got to be really transparent and straight with people, and if they’re not cutting it, you’ve got to tell them where they’re not cutting it. Hold the bar up high, and if it’s not a good fit, call it.
Being extremely transparent builds trust over time. I’m not a big fan of organizations where people backstab or talk behind others’ backs. So when I’ve led teams, it’s always been about how we work together to get the best results.
But politics can creep pretty quickly into any organization.
I’ve got some trusted people who will tell me if that stuff’s going on behind my back. If I see it, you’ve just got to squash it like a bug as soon as it happens and not…