The Nature/Nurture Debate & Developing An Eye-Cubed Leadership Team

4 09 2013

What was your reputation…____________?

  • As a young student?
  • In high school?
  • In your first job?
  • After the 90 days following that big career leap?

What are the reputations of your…____________?

  • Employees?
  • Teams?
  • Departments?
  • Companies?

Do you have a personal reputation filled with the Eye-Cubed qualities of a great leader that inspires others to innovate and implement?  I ask the following follow-up critical question:

Spring feeling

What came first, the reputation or your behavior that supported it?

This issue permeates psychology classrooms and has been debated among the greatest minds.  Have we developed the personalities, which form our reputations, as a result of “nature” (what we were born with and cannot control) or “nurture” (the environment in which we were subjected, exposed and molded).  This concept drives one of the key tenants on how to build an Eye-Cubed team that is inspired to achieve greatness and high performance.  In the Eye-Cubed world around us, we control that which we can and believe we have the ability to influence results by executing a plan.  As a result, I answer the nature/nurture debate as follows:  NURTURE!

“Give the people around you a reputation to uphold.”

When I was a young boy, I was wrought with “confidence” issues.  They manifested themselves in many ways. However, my mother Janice Sussman, refused to allow me to develop a negative self-image.  Her consistent words and actions gave me the confidence to believe in myself.  Over time, I grew to believe the positive stories she told me.  I developed the very image she demanded I have of myself.

In high school, there were two English teachers whose actions, words and behaviors damaged my confidence and belief in myself.  I nearly gave up writing completely as they said, “I have no idea how you ever got out of middle school English.  Your writing is remedial.”  However, there was another teacher, George Stone at The Hotchkiss School, whom I respected and admired.  I listened to him.  He praised my creativity.  He described me as “powerful”, “influential”, “creative” and as a “leader”.  He wrote a letter to my parents describing me this way.  I took those words seriously and focused on following the footsteps of one who had those traits.  I continued to write.

Throughout my business career, I developed the reputation of following in my father, Stanley Sussman’s footsteps as PFP’s innovator.  I took that as a responsibility and honor to maintain while I focused a tremendous amount of time and energy on providing that characteristic to the company.

  • Who can you influence by giving them a reputation to uphold?
  • What qualities will you identify as key?
  • How will you communicate the great news?

You, your Eye-Cubed leaders and their teams possess the qualities needed to excel (Read more about Leadership as the Prerequisite of Inspiration).  Many know it today and need to hear it from you.  Others need to hear it from you so they believe it tomorrow.  By providing a “nurturing” environment, your team will achieve your vision.


Teach Your Children Well

2 11 2012
Kids at Max's Bar Mitzvah

My children at Max’s Bar Mitzvah (Max is in the middle)

What is the origin of your personality?  It is the classic nature/nurture question.  Were you born with the spirit to solve problems and build businesses or were you the product of your environment?

The goal oriented-persistent-creative problem solver-positive thinking-innovator-empathetic-leader-learner I have become is a result of 85% nurture and 15% nature.

How would I describe the environment of my upbringing?  Imgaine…

  • A father who pursued many businesses until he turned one of his ideas into the national success it has become today.
  • A mother who, in addition to hitting the glass ceiling in corporate America, worked tirelessly with my father, her father and her daughter in their respective family businesses.
  • A father praising his employees for their efforts and results and spoke about them with adoration.
  • The topic of “Business” almost every night as part of regular conversation at the dinner table.
  • Questions asked by children and answered by parents, perhaps hundreds.  No question was off limits.
  • Parents debating about business problems and listing possible solutions.  Hearing them resolve their differences and agreeing on decisive action.
  • Parents dreaming together and sharing dreams with their children.  Having big dreams, very big dreams.
  • A father speaking of his wish of someday working with his son/daughter.
  • A father speaking about building an empire, even when his business was fledgling and but a fraction of its size today.
  • A mother’s giving words of confidence to her children, with an unending belief and expectation for them to reach their potential.

As a young man, I wanted to work with my father in the same office.  I envisioned sitting across the huge “partners” desk and discussing the greatness, problems, opportunities and challenges facing our organization.  I believed, as a result of the role models in my home, I was shaped as an employee, owner, partner and son of Stanley H Sussman and Janice K Sussman.  They set the table for my future and gave me the appetite to eat the delicious fare.  They gave me confidence to pursue my dreams (and theirs) as part of the business they built together.  And they became perfect role models for me to follow as my three children now look to me to learn and understand the very same lessons.  So I teach them about the beauty of the family business; the beauty and rewards of pursuing greatness with family.

Think about your children.  What do they hear from you at night about work or your company?  How do you depict your business to them?  What stories do you tell?  How much do you share about your issues (good and bad) at work?  Are your children encouraged to ask questions?  Do you provide full answers to their questions?  Do you dream big with them?  Is debate okay?  Do you tell your children you wish to work with them?  Do they really know your thoughts about working together?  Do your children know your expectations for them?  Do you give your children realistic yet positive messages?

If you, your company, your industry conference or team is in need of the best keynote speaker, motivational management consultant, or inspirational presenter for your conference, strategic planning meeting or for professional development, click on these words and see how Eye-Cubed-U is prepared to help you.