Home Spun Truths on Management: John Hughes

Self made man John Hughes is an institution in Western Australia. Above you can hear him speak for about 35 minutes to a business crowd in Perth, in November 2011, then there’s a Q+A for another half hour.

I’ve heard him speak a few times, and his direct no nonsense approach is always good value. He always takes off his gold watch, holds it so he never goes over time. As all good speakers from Abraham Lincoln onwards have done, he has a story for every point.

Here are my take aways:

  • If you wait for all the traffic lights to go green you’ll never get out your front door
  • ‘He’ who never makes a mistake never makes anything
  • Learn from your mistakes but never make the same mistake twice
  • Life is like driving a manual car, you start out in first, then move up to second etc… few people get to fifth. Sometimes you have to change down before moving up again
  • A batsman can leave 4 balls an over, they will do you no harm if you don’t play them – anger, doubt,depression,envy… One will be good so you block it and kill it stone dead. One will be loose enough to score off. Judging which is which is key.
  • Passion – don’t dawdle, scurry
  • Focus – I may only “drive the train between Fremantle and Perth”, but I will be the best at it
  • Great customer service – there’s nothing but this
  • Handle work-life balance by ‘chunking’ your day: work at work, then when home, no work. Keep them separate!
  • Discipline – your staff want discipline, they hate indiscipline
  • Lead – bang a big bass drum out front of them, and they will march to your beat. They have to.

About John Hughes (source: Wikipedia) – 

Hughes was born in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1935 and attended Christian Brothers College, Fremantle. As a teenager he began working at a car dealership while studying accounting by correspondence. By his late 20’s he owned his own car dealership.

His dealership was the world’s highest-selling Hyundai dealer for eight consecutive years between 1997-2003. Together with Alan Bond’s Bond Motor Corporation, he introduced the Korean car to Australia. His automotive group also markets other major car brands including Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Ford, Kia and Geely. He is on record as driving only cars that he sells.

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