Six business lessons from the founder of J.D. Power and Associates

Why is it that we don’t realize how smart our parents are until we are grown? It is probably because as youngsters, we are not yet smart enough to realize the experience and wisdom that our parents have come to possess.

Besides, as young people, we know that we know it all.

I, for one, eventually came to appreciate the astute guidance from my dear parents and the advice they shared with me. Much of that has helped me grow into the person I am today.

I am very thankful for that and told them so, although not nearly soon enough.

Never Thought about it

However, I never thought about sharing my parents’ lessons on life and work, aside from with my two younger brothers to help them try and “get it.”

So, when I came across the article, Six Business Lessons I Learned from my Father, by J.D. “Jamey” Power IV, former senior executive at J.D. Power and Associates, I was intrigued. I found the article to be insightful and the lessons to be useful, and I thought they would be helpful to you and your organization as well.

In the article, Power noted that his father – Dave Power, founder of the global marketing information services company J.D. Power and Associates – had a lifelong interest in understanding people’s motivations. That, he said, allowed his father to “not only excel in the field of market research but also effectively lead the more than 700 people that made up his organization.”

Power reflected on the key lessons he has taken away from working not only at J.D. Power but side-by-side with his father as well.

1. Create a culture.

“My dad built a business with a sense of purpose,” wrote Power. “For him, it was genuinely about doing more than making money; it was about doing what was right and making a difference. He calls it “having impact.” Employees loved the idea and implicitly knew what the mission was.”

2. Manage by walking around.

“His was not just an open door policy but one in which he made a point to walk the hallways to be accessible,” Power said. “He would use this time to check on things, to make people feel important, to get into impromptu discussions, to provide feedback, to encourage and to seek out information.

“He also found it to be an effective way to communicate directly with employees.”

3. Set expectations and challenge people.

“Often, for my father,” related Power, “the goals he set out were not target numbers but rather visions and concepts that he wanted to see realized. He’d put an idea out there and asked people to develop it and execute against his estimation of how far that idea could go.”

4. Maintain integrity with clients.

“My father had the fortitude to tell clients when their customers were not happy, or when they were missing quality,” Power penned. “The fact that he was known as a respectful straight shooter brought the business success and modeled an important value to employees.”

5. Share the limelight with associates.

“Dad consistently made sure that associates who contributed were given exposure – both internally and externally,” wrote Power.

6. Seek different perspectives and counterintuitive solutions.

Power said “my dad has a knack for discussing and examining an issue from different viewpoints. He would often ask people to provide differing opinions.

“He really shined when he himself would sometimes take an opposing view just to vet the issue further, or to try and find a solution that was not apparent or on the table.”

Don’t be Discouraged

Hopefully, you can learn from these lessons and utilize them in how you manage.

Don’t be discouraged if they don’t take kindly to your advice at first. Most of them, like children, will eventually get it.

It might be helpful to others to do like Jamey Power and write down your life and work lessons to share with others.

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