Not only do grandparents often love you unconditionally and spoil you rotten — but the best ones provide guidance and support, and share with you their most treasured and useful pearls of wisdom.
When Adam Bryant of The New York Times asked Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade, a networking-solutions company with a market capitalisation of $3.7 billion, about the business lessons he learned growing up in a recent interview, Carney talked a lot about his grandfather.
Carney told Bryant that he always had aunts and uncles who were trying to start their own businesses — and his grandfather “would always be focused on profitability.”
“He had a saying: ‘Any fool can lose money.’ He wouldn’t care whether you were selling shirts or tomatoes or you were in the trucking business,” Carney said. “It’s in the back of my head every time I see a business plan. I’m always focused on ‘When will we make money doing this?'”
Carney said his grandfather also built great teams. “I watched him put some of his children, aunts, uncles in positions of authority and then fire them if they didn’t perform. He didn’t care. Either you can do the work or you can’t do it.”
Another important lesson Carney learned from his grandfather: Almost nobody is irreplaceable.
“He used to do this thing called a bucket test. He would be arguing with one of his employees, and he’d call me in and say, ‘Get a bucket of water.’ So I’d bring the bucket of water to the room, and he’d say, ‘Lloydie, put your hand in the water.’ Then I’d take it out, and he’d say to his employee, ‘See that hole that Lloyd left in the water? That’s the hole you’re going to leave when you leave here.’
“The guy was usually trying to get some big salary, trying to explain how invaluable and important he was. Once every eight months or so, my grandfather would call for the bucket of water. So I have a pretty high bar for calling someone irreplaceable.”
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