A few weeks ago, I spoke to a college business management class about my experience of owning software technology businesses, my insights, and how I weave my faith through management and decision-making. This proved to be a learning experience for both the students and me. It seems like that is usually the case when I do these.
I started out by writing on the board, ‘Don’t Trust Anybody!’ Then I asked the students what they thought about that statement. I got a lot of great answers and participation. -Really, more than I had anticipated. Many said, “You can’t trust anyone,” while a few remarked that “you had to trust” to be effective.
A lot of great insights from these young minds.
One of my life stories I shared with them was when I had a medical software company back in the 90’s. I had grown my company to one of the largest in the nation for a certain medical software program, when one of my main employees got with one of my main competitors and started to raid my client base. I had trusted them to cover my back, instead they saw the opportunity for money. By them doing this effectively, I quickly sold off the rest of my company to another company similar to mine, but for a much smaller portion. This hurt in many ways, not mention the personal factor of it all.
I shared this with the group of students. I then erased the words ‘Don’t’ and ‘Anybody’ from the board. I shared with them that life is built on ‘Trust’ and that you can’t do this – run a company, sell products, provide support – all by yourself. You have to trust to have an effective team! However, you also have to ‘Learn’ from your mistakes and figure out ways to not repeat these painful events. You learn to put processes in place to keep others from doing this again. Things like a board of advisors to bounce people, ideas, and direction off of. Utilize attorney and sound agreements and contracts. As well as put people in your life that you love and trust and who have your best interests at heart.
Life lessons are hard!
Then I wrote on the board, ‘Forgive’. That’s a ‘biggy’ in my book. You can’t live life full of bitterness and unforgiveness. Some people will take advantage of you, but some will do what’s right and have your back in this very competitive world of business. Forgiveness is the key to ‘guarding your heart’ and happiness. I could probably write a book on this one word. Easy to say, sometimes, and very hard to do.
Learn from your mistakes – learn, forgive and trust.