Lessons from Lee Iacocca

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by Suzanna Watson on January 30, 2011

A customer of ours was giving away some old books that were laying around his home.

He asked me to take a moment to browse the pile. “You might find something interesting” he said. I glanced at the pile and stumbled across Lee Iacocca’s autobiography.

The book was quite a few years old, it was published in 1985. As I started to page though the book, he saw my interest and proceeded to give the book high marks. So I thanked him, slid it into my purse and took it home.

It’s a very inspiring story of a man born of Italian immigrants in the 1920’s. He lived in a predominately Pennsylvania Dutch town of Allentown PA. His family endured some hardships during his youth, but they managed to survive.

He tells the story of his parents coming over on a ship into New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty, the great symbol of hope for many back then. His parents viewed our country as a land of opportiunity. Lee Iacocca went on to say…

“America was the land of freedom, the freedom to become anything you wanted to be, if you wanted it bad enough and were willing to work for it”

Lee Iaccoca was influenced quite a bit by his father, as he learned many helpful lessons about life from him. Lessons that would help him in the not too distant future. For instance, his father did not believe in buying on credit, because it would “undermine peoples sense of responsibility about money”.

His father also predicted that easy credit would eventually permeate and sabotage our entire society. He went on to say that consumers would get into trouble by treating their little plastic cards as if they were money in the bank. It’s just amazing how right he was all those years ago! No wonder his son went on to achieve so much.

Work hard! That was the mantra that Lee Iaccoca’sparents instilled in him. He didn’t disappoint them on that one as he was doing odd jobs at ten years old, and continued all through high school, even working on weekends along the way. Then he went on to get his degrees from Lehigh University and his Masters from Princeton.

He never stopped learning along the way, and he certainly never stopped working hard. These traits got him this far, and he wasn’t about to stop now. He spent 38 years at Ford, starting at the bottom and working his way up to President. Then he parlayed that into President of Chrysler later in his career.

Lee Iaccoca credited his success to two main factors:

The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business or almost anywhere else for that matter”

“If you really believe in what you’re doing, you’ve got to persevere even when you run into obstacles”

One philosophy he always held to was, work all week, but have your weekends with family. He would not work from Friday night until Sunday night when he sat down to plan out his coming week.

He also believed in taking vacations. One quote stands out in particular.

I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who can’t seem to control their own schedules” 

So what are the lessons we can learn from the man behind this book? I think the lessons are; set priorities, work hard, believe in what you are doing, have some fun and spend some time with family and friends. All these things made him a success and it can work for you in both your cleaning business and personal life as well.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul February 1, 2011 at 7:03 am

Great post Suzanna.
Lots to think about.

2 Suzanna February 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks Paul!

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