Today’s blog post is inspired by a sad event that happened recently. My father-in-law Alvin H. Christensen passed away from pancreatic cancer on Tuesday October 25, 2011 at the age of 85. In his honor, I decided to write a post that incorporates some of his best traits with how to run a business.
Alvin or “Chris” as he liked to be called was in sales most of his life. He sold a variety of things, but he was always successful. I think his character is one of the reasons for his success. Usually we think of salespeople as slick and charming, and while Alvin was good man who was interesting and intelligent, I don’t think of him as either slick or super charming. What he had in his favor was other traits that made him trustworthy and easy to buy from.
For one, he was a man of integrity. He always said what he meant and meant what he said. If he said something, you could count on it. If you are making a purchase for your business, this is super important. Who wants to look bad in front of their boss for making a bad purchase?
He was tenacious. Alvin was able to stick with things over the long haul, after they got boring and lost their luster. Imagine the value of tenacity in building relationships with customers.
He was interested in the world and learning new things. This is valuable in relating to others, in being able to have conversations and in having a context for what you experience.
He was pragmatic. There was no drama with this man! Whatever happened was not something to be pined about and over-analyzed but just a new element to one’s circumstances. When things went bad there was no point in dwelling on it; instead incorporate the new experience, make adjustments and move on. Now that’s a trait I’d like to have!
He figured out a way to make things work. When something broke, he used what he had and got it working. There was no stalling in perfectionism he just got on with it.
Finally, he was somehow able to be both realistic and optimistic at the same time. He was fully aware of the dire straits of the American economy and national debt, but at the same time held a huge amount of optimism about the future. He loved technology and couldn’t wait to see the next wave of new developments. Again, this is a trait I wish I had.
I’ll miss him for sure, but his life was well-lived and he lives on in the hearts and in the memories of those who knew him.