The Key to Success…Being Real

I just had the privilege of attending a three-day retreat entitled “The Drop Dead Honest Organization” at the Edward Lowe Foundation with a group of phenomenal women business owners from Orange County California. The Edward Lowe Foundation provides educational programs and support to second-stage entrepreneurs. This outstanding program was developed and facilitated by Dr. Dino Signore, Manager of Entrepreneurial Education, and focused on making your business more effective and profitable through creating an open and honest environment with trusting relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic curriculum and participating with this group of extremely successful CEOs and members of the Women’s President Organization (WPO).

Dino’s approach as an exceptionally effective and experienced facilitator created a safe environment for this group of women to openly share their insights, challenges, and fears and learn from each other. I was amazed by just how open and real they were, and truly honored by how they welcomed me with open arms into their inner circle having only just met me for the first time (they have all known each other for some time). We talked quite a bit about the power of being vulnerable and real as a leader, and how although scary, this is the first step in becoming approachable, developing relationships, and establishing trust with employees.

What touched me the most was when one of the attendees read a text message she received from their limo driver, John, who spent several hours with them while driving from the Chicago airport to Cassopolis, MI. They invited John to have dinner with them and they took a genuine interest in learning more about him, his interests, and his family. John’s text message said that he had never encountered such kind and generous customers in his entire 13-year career of limo driving, and they had made all of those years of driving worth it. They had treated John as a friend and colleague, rather than as just their driver. These women don’t just talk about being “real”; they are real.

People may not remember what we said or did, but they will always remember how we made them feel, and John will remember these special women for a very long time. I believe that these women are so successful in their businesses because they are wonderful people who are kind and generous, and they truly care about other people and creating something bigger than themselves. Being a great person is a prerequisite to being a successful business owner and leader, and these women clearly understand and embody this.

Thank you, Dino, for inviting me to participate in this fabulous retreat. I too will remember this incredible experience and these wonderful women for a long time.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

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