In Honor of Father’s Day: The Best of Alan Burkhard

June 12th, 2013

So everyone should find a way to do something nice for their Pop this time of year.  My Dad, Alan Burkhard, has whatever he wants that might be considered material or he will just buy it for himself – and besides, he is a real pain to shop for. Everything is too “something”.

My Dad is a many time entrepreneur who works at his craft relentlessly. His credos and philosophies are timeless. They are Outside-In®, a business approach we jointly trademarked and use in running our customer centered businesses. So for Father’s Day, I think I will share some of the “best of” comments and ideas that have made Alan successful:

The Best of Alan Burkhard

1. Try to close the gap between where you are and what your capable of. Start everyday with the goal of maximizing your abilities. Know that few people ever learn to use everything they were given to work with. This is where success, growth, challenge, and bringing your capabilities to life actually happen.

2. Know yourself. Do you have a culture of one? How can you work someplace if you don’t what you stand for? What are your values?  How do this fit into the bigger picture?

3. You have the most control when you give it all away. This applies to parents with kids or leaders with employees. So many times we just sit on a situation. We dictate. We direct. We tell folks what and how to do it. The best way to grow people is to give them say and control. Yes, you can provide them with the tools they need to succeed. Trust and accountability are the ultimate ways to control.

4. Be able to change.  There is nothing more relevant to grasp.  Change is hard to start.  But it gets easier, and oftentimes, the gain and the good comes down the line. But for all of us?  Learning to adapt and take advantage of change is a life skill that will put us ahead of the curve.  All types of organizations need change-makers. Those that do, often get the choice opportunities.  They make things happen for themselves!

5. Making decisions is about having the right information. Remember, getting the right information is the hard part. We want to jump to take action and try things. But really, solving problems and making decisions can be easy – yet, few have the patience. Everyone is too busy to do it right. Many quick decisions seems to be in vogue for leaders. Being busy and taking action is confused with productivity. The basics are in gathering the right information and in learning to interpret it.  Taking action is easy and convenient when you do the other steps well.

6. Let them live life and learn from it.  We all wear many roles in life.  We have to let our kids, our employees, our loved ones live life.  YOU have to let life happen to them.  Get out of the way and let them learn.  We all must take risks.

Josh and HallieNow, for my Father’s Day message to my kids:

Being a Dad is much harder then being President of a company.  At work, my job is to love everyone up or out of the company. At home, well, that is just not so easy. I am “stuck” with you for a few more years anyway in the same house.  After thinking about Father’s Day and all of the cards, special breakfasts, and nice T-shirts I have been given over the years, I decided all I really want is for you to read this and take from it what you can.

1.  You don’t yet know what your capable of. But work at it. There is always a gap here.  Work everyday to close the gap.

2.  Life is fleeting. Be happy right now where you are. Know that whatever you are doing right now is your life. Don’t plan or wish it away.

3.  Life is messy but go for it. I see you both stand on the sidelines so much.  Go to the party. Try out for the team. Make the phone call to go to the beach. Go on the trip.  Go have experiences good and bad.

4.  Find your confidence. I don’t know how to give you both confidence. But I know this. I did not have it at your age. At some point, it was like “turning a switch”. I think I figured out that others are not that confident. Or not that much smarter. Or that much better at whatever it is in question. But this comes with experience I guess. I promise you if you work at it you will be the most confident person in the room for the right reasons- you will have earned it.

5.  Have integrity and find it fast.  When you are alone in the middle of the night are you proud of yourself? Have you been honest with yourself and with the ones that care about you most? Trustworthiness and having integrity, means having a strength of character and making it matter. “Character is how you act when know one is looking.”  Be a character, but have lots of it.  And stand for something!  Personally, I think you have to fail here in order to decide this.  Having integrity starts to feel important and gives you an edge.  The more you do it, the less you ever want to compromise on it.

Even if the words above are geared towards one family generation to the next, I think this advice can apply to all in their personal and professional lives. By reading this, I hope you are inspired to define your personal philosophy. Create your own culture. Establish your values, or revisit them if need be. That is how you will find success (and happiness) in life. No matter how you define them, I believe that the points above will help guide you on your path towards achieving your goals.

3 Responses to “In Honor of Father’s Day: The Best of Alan Burkhard”

  1. Donna E Davies Says:

    Great words of wisdom —actually very simple and powerful at the same time —-Thank you for sharing those inspiring words—I enjoy reading your blogs.


  2. Martin Brans Says:

    Really enjoyed reading your thoughts and reflecting back to my time growing up around the Burkhard house. I admire how you stayed engaged in all the kid athletics and balanced that with a successful business. Rock On!

  3. Mark Mazick Says:

    Chris…well written and inspirational. Thanks!
    Best regards,

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