I would imagine that all of us could think back to individuals that have played an important role in our lives both personally and professionally. I believe mentoring others in a positive way is truly an art. In previous weeks, I have highlighted many associates who currently work at Famous to help us see people that are truly living our Fundamentals. However, this message will be a little bit different.
I would like to take this opportunity to talk about Bill Maxwell. Many hundreds of people at Famous remember Bill quite well. He worked at Famous for approximately 50 years, before retiring and passing away in 2010. Bill (who started as a truck driver and worked his way up to regional manager) and others like him were a huge part of our success. Not only because of the work they did during their career, but how they thoughtfully and diligently helped others develop into even better and stronger associates and leaders.
Bill had special attributes that allowed him to mentor others. He was the consummate professional, a total gentleman who was respected because he treated everyone that he came into contact with absolute dignity. He was a master at observing situations and knowing when to interject himself into the issue or to let it play out and be part of a teachable moment off line and at a better time. Bill instinctively knew when and how to ask questions or make a subtle point. He rarely had to tell people exactly what to do. He had a knack for helping them figure it out for themselves by his probing questions. Bill always looked you in the eye and communicated with you in his soft spoken, but still passionate tone. For those of you that knew Bill, you could not help but love the guy. He was truly what Famous is all about humble, a servant leader, and always about the team.
I believe Bill also knew, although I never heard him say it, that to be a good mentor, you need a good mentee. With every great teacher, there is a ready, willing, and able student. It’s a two way street. Bill helped me and so many others during their careers. I hope that we all seek out others to help at the right times and that we are open to learning from others in the organization, regardless of their years of experience, years with the company, title, or role. Everybody sees the world and our business a little bit differently and that diversity is what will help get Famous to an even better place. This philosophy ties in nicely with our 5th core value, continuous improvement, as well.
In closing, helping others and sharing your wisdom is not meaningful, but it’s the right thing to do. Let’s continue to interact with one another in ways where we teach and learn more so we can better help one another in our valued customers.
Thanks for reading this message and really thinking about its content. Bill was truly the best, and his character traits and personal attributes will continue to make an impact on the company in the decades to come.