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September 2007

A tale of two management styles

Over the last few installments of this series, we have considered some of the ingredients necessary for business success. As I travel to speak and consult, I run into business people of every description, but I also run in to people who believe that business success requires a certain leadership style, background and set of skills.

Some business leaders who have not achieved the success they want reason that they just don’t possess the right style or set of characteristics. If only they were more outgoing, or more aggressive, or more something.

My friend and fellow recycler, DL, is as different from me in management style, background, and skills as anyone could be. He is quiet, conservative, pragmatic. I am bold, brash, and a risk-taker. We have both succeeded. We have both innovated and we have both been leaders in the recycling industry.

He did not waste time worrying that he lacked some ingredient to be successful. Instead, he only asked how he could get there with what he had. You don’t have to be an intense workaholic to find significant success. Neither do you have to be a structured pragmatist.

The common thread in character is that both DL and I share strong habits that support our work ethic and back up our decision-making. This same characteristic is part of what makes the fictional entrepreneur from last month’s article so successful.

Admire another business leader for an attribute you lack, but do not believe for a moment that success is unattainable. You can be any kind of person having any kind of personality found in the business world. It’s not so much what kind of person you are as it is what you do with what you are. That’s what really counts.

Most of your customers care about only one thing: can you solve the problem that brought them through your front door? They don’t care about leadership style, background, resume. And the beautiful thing about our capitalistic system is that you have the opportunity to compete freely and win no matter who you are, where you came from, or how educated you are. Focus on how to win, not why you can’t.

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Remember, only you can make BUSINESS GREAT!

Ron Sturgeon is past owner of AAA Small Car World. In 1999, he sold his six Texas locations, with 140 employees, to Greenleaf. In 2001, he founded North Texas Insurance Auction, which he sold to Copart in 2002. In 2002, his book “Salvaging Millions” was published to help small business owners achieve significant success, and was recently reprinted. In June 2003, he joined the new ownership and management team of GreenLeaf. He also manages his real estate holdings and investments. You can learn more about him at He can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, or 817-834-3625 ext 6#.