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Editor’s Note: On Sunday, we will celebrate Father’s Day.  Mother’s Day tends to be more significant in terms of spending — we spend only a paltry $13 billion globally on Father’s Day versus $20 billion for Mother’s Day.  Interestingly, this spending trend applies in every country save one, France, where Father’s Day reigns supreme. That said, Fathers play an important role in society, and they should be remembered and honored with great gusto. 

John wrote this blog post on December 30,  2011 in memory of his father. 


Working for my father during my teenage years in his highly successful retail bakery in Tyler, Tex., I learned some  of life’s important rules and key lessons of business.  He died in 1989 but storefronttoday he remains my True North.

 Here are Lloyd Self’s Five Rules.  He never wrote them down; he just lived them.

  1. Do what is right, even when no one is looking.
  2. The customer comes first.  Honor that.  It is not just a rule; it is who you are.
  3. The customer is not always right.  See rule #2.
  4. Quality counts.
  5. We all make mistakes.  We all get tired.  We all want to cut corners because of time or fatigue. When that happens, remember rules #1 and #2.

 In more than 16 years of interviewing and observing CEOs and other senior executives I have added another very important rule.

  • Respect your employees as if they were your customers.  You will get more for your money.  Do not yell at, bully, or criticize your employees, especially in public.  There is no room in any company for an abusive leader.

We should pause and reflect throughout the year and measure how we are doing against these “rules.”  If we do that, we will become a better leader (and better fathers).


SelfPerspective Weekend Edition will feature an interview with John Graves, the CEO of Lillian M. Hudspeth Memorial Hospital in rural Sonora, Texas in Southwest Texas.  John, a retired Lieutenant rp_SelfPerspective-Podcast-with-JGSP-logo-300x300.pngColonel from the US Air Force Medical Service Corp, reflects on his philosophy of leadership and the role that the military’s rigorous leadership development programs have had on his civilian career.   

Next up, John revisits some of the memorable excerpts of commencement speeches from the recently completed college graduation season.  A wide array of speakers shared some powerful and moving insights.

Finally, John will return to one of his favorite subjects:  storytelling.  An avid devote of the idea that storytelling is an important leadership tool, John will take a step back and share a couple of stories for this Father’s Day weekend.

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