Lessons Learned From Life’s Superstars

By Stephen Bean, CLA Member posted 02-27-2017 12:27

  
Here’s How to Apply Examples Set by Extraordinary Individuals to the Successful Operation of Your Laundry Business

Over the decades during which I’ve been curiously roaming this planet, I have been indeed fortunate to have encountered and known some truly extraordinary people. I label them as being extraordinary because they each were, or are, in possession of extremely rare personal qualities.

So, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to share with you what I have learned from these remarkable individuals. What I have garnered from them by the examples they have set will help you, as a laundry owner, to improve your management expertise, marketing ability and personal qualities – hence, becoming a more successful, productive and contented business owner.

I’ve selected three quite impressive and well-known individuals out of those I’ve encountered to help illustrate my points, because these three people truly exemplify, in my view, the best in human qualities and applicable skills.

Gordon McNeill

Gordon_McNeill.jpgGordon was a supervisory special agent with the FBI. He had a most appropriate title, as he was indeed very special and a true American hero. I first met Gordon on a cruise ship with our wives in the Caribbean in 1991. We became good friends, and the four of us traveled together on many winter vacations. Very unfortunately, Gordon passed away in 2004 at the age of 61.

On April 11, 1986, there was a horrific shootout in Miami – between FBI agents and two dangerous murderers and bank robbers. Both of these murderers were killed in what would later be considered the bloodiest gunfight in FBI history. Sadly, this incident also left two agents dead and five wounded, including McNeill, who was the lead agent in charge.

Gordon had been shot in the neck and right hand by the criminals who had been using military-grade assault rifles. But my friend somehow survived, while also taking out the bad guys.

He subsequently was awarded the FBI Medal of Honor for heroism and the FBI Star – and was invited to a personal meeting with President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office of the White House. What’s more, in 1988 a movie, entitled “In the Line of Duty: The FBI Murders,” detailed this event.

Gordon McNeill displayed many extraordinary qualities that can be used by today’s self-service laundry owners. Despite his amazing achievements, he was extremely humble, displayed no sense of entitlement and was one of the most courteous people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

Despite his hero’s status, he nonetheless treated everyone he encountered with the highest degree of respect and courtesy. It was truly an honor to have been fortunate enough to have known him.

The Take-Away: When running your laundry business and dealing with customers and employees, being humble, always courteous, dedicated to your occupation, thoughtful and concerned for others would have made Gordon McNeill proud of you – and will help put your business ahead of the competition.

Ann Landers

AnnLanders.jpgAnn Landers was the most popular advice columnist in the world at one time. She boasted approximately 90 million readers and appeared in more than 1,200 newspapers. And, being married to my mother’s brother, she also was my aunt.

“Aunt Eppie,” as we called her (because her actual name was Eppie Lederer), was a most unusual person. She had no writing experience or training in journalism. Nonetheless, she competed for the job with numerous other candidates at the Chicago Sun-Times after the actual “Ann Landers” column writer passed away unexpectedly and the newspaper wanted to continue it.

Despite the long odds against her being awarded the job, Eppie indeed got the gig.

My aunt had many impressive and outstanding qualities that were responsible for her success. She was aggressive in a very polite way, possessed a terrific command of the English language, didn’t shrink away from discussing any and all subjects, and was able to adapt and change to shifting societal conditions. She also held a high degree of respect for her readers (or “customers”), which always came through clearly on the printed page.

Eppie Lederer passed away in 2002 at the age of 84.

The Take-Away: Laundry owners can learn many lessons from my late Aunt Eppie – being curious, being able to change and adapt to changing times, being verbally entertaining, and respecting each and every customer no matter how successful your business becomes are just a few of them.

Alex Delvecchio

Alex-Delvecchio.jpgI grew up in Detroit, as a huge fan of professional hockey. As such, Alex Delvecchio was one of my favorite players. He played his entire NHL, which spanned from 1952 to 1974, for my hometown Detroit Red Wings. He later went on to become the team’s head coach and also its general manager before his retirement.

Alex played on three Stanley Cup winning teams and won three coveted Lady Byng Memorial Trophies for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct – all while amassing a total of 456 goals during a career that saw him play 1,549 games. In 1977, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame and his jersey number was officially retired by the Red Wings organization as two extreme testimonies to his brilliant career.

In recent years, I’ve had the immense pleasure of meeting with Alex on a few occasions and actually sitting down with him in his office for a lengthy chat – as I’m an occasional customer of his promotions company, although not a huge customer.

Nonetheless, he took the time to be at his office specifically when I came in to order some promotional pens to give away to our laundry development clients, simply because his salesperson mentioned to him that I was a big fan and would love to be able to meet him.

In addition to being a world-class hockey player in his day, Delvecchio is a world-class gentleman. The best way I can describe him is extremely kind and a great listener. And, despite his incredible professional accomplishments, he (much like Gordon McNeill) has absolutely no sense of entitlement. Now in his early 80s, his ability to relate in a friendly manner to the everyday person also is what continues to make him a superstar.

The Take-Away: As a laundry owner, you can learn a lot from Alex. The qualities of extreme kindness, being a good listener and easily relating to customers – not so much as the owner of your laundromat, but more as a friend – will take you a long way in the world of business.

So, there you have it. Three superstars in their own respective professions who have demonstrated qualities you can apply to the successful running of your laundry business. Gordon McNeill, Ann Landers and Alex Delvecchio were all exemplary, well-known individuals – and, perhaps not surprisingly, all of them shared many of the same qualities and personal characteristics.

It couldn’t hurt to work on further developing those qualities and characteristics in your own day-to-day life.
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