What I’ve Learned: Jim Hawkins

What I’ve Learned: Jim Hawkins

Posted 3/23/2016


Chief Executive Officer of Kenall Lighting

Have deference to action. Procrastination leaves little chance for success. Be open to adjust and always have a plan “B”. Know what risks you can and can’t recover from if there is failure.

The greatest personal growth is at times of greatest adversity. You will find true leaders in times of stress not victory.

There are doers, promoters, idea creators, followers and takers. The smallest portion is doers and people who make things happen. Those folks are usually paid only marginally higher than all the rest but their value is often times in multiples. Never confuse activity with production.

Teams are measured by how they respond to adversity, not success.

Do not tolerate those who wish to obscure the truth. Do not surround yourself with news that is pleasant to hear. Do not hide information out of mistrust. Welcome constructive criticism and be open to opposing ideas.

Some business failures are not a matter of a bad plan but poor execution. A good plan and reasonable effort can be worthless because it is too late. Initiatives that are threshold dependent must be approached with urgency.

Take time to enjoy family and friends and don’t be afraid to put yourself in others hands. The most important things to have in your journey are the love and respect of your family and close friends and the moments that were truly shared and enjoyed.

Underpay a value creator and lose them. Overpay all others and you ensure a long tenure. If your trend is towards those that don’t add value, decline of the business and loss of good people will accelerate.

Get to the toughest, most unpleasant problems/situations you have first. I try to tackle those first off in the morning when I am fresh and clear headed.

Share success with your employees and associates. Be fair in all of your dealings. Always do what is right, even though it can be very difficult.

Praise is a more powerful motivator than criticism. Avoid criticizing the person but instead criticize the behavior.

You can learn more by walking around or talking to someone close to a situation than all of the brilliant reasoning and deliberation in isolation.

If the rate of bad news is increasing you have not found a bottom. When all seems the darkest and the negativity is the greatest is when the tide will turn if you don’t quit.

Making decisions is very under-rated. Procrastinating on important decisions past a threshold moment is a decision but one that is made for you without the benefit of your reflection and experience. Any decision becomes easier with good information so try to avoid making a decision until you have all the facts. Always sleep on major decisions.

Be generous and kind, especially with your time.

Require accountability backed by action. Surround yourself with people that take responsibility for their actions and who give of themselves for others.

Very few good decisions come without good information. Good information comes from people, meetings and communication. Very few strong compelling plans or visions come from committees.

Any meeting over 3 hours is non-productive.

Brute force never replaces clear thinking; understand the situation and take only measured appropriate action. Always sleep on major decisions.

You must embrace change and be willing to try new things. Obstacles are great opportunities in disguise.


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