During high school I worked for a mobile car wash company. Three of us would arrive at a car dealership and while the boss sprayed down the cars with a power washer, the two of us would follow three or four vehicles behind him with a chamois drying them off.
It wasn’t a lot of fun but I was outside and could listen to my Walkman, it was just for the summer and my boss was a nice guy.
[quote_right]But he did something else that really made me loyal to him and his company: he was generous with his time.[/quote_right]Oftentimes after a long day of washing cars he would take us to a coffee shop and buy us a donut and pop. The cost to him was a couple of bucks and his generosity with his money definitely bought a touch of goodwill and loyalty when we had a big lot to finish and it was almost quitting time.
But he did something else that really made me loyal to him and his company: he was generous with his time.
He knew I was interested in starting my own business and he would often show up with forms the government required you to fill out to launch a business and on lunch would explain the process for starting a sole proprietorship. One day at the coffee shop he pulled out this notebook that he had written down all his marketing ideas for his mobile car wash company and shared with me the pros and cons behind each idea.
It gave me tremendous insight into what being a small business owner meant. I couldn’t have gotten that from a textbook and he didn’t have to take time on lunch and after work to share with me. But he did.
At the end of the summer he told me he was going to buy another truck and would I like to be in charge of the crew. I was 17 and going in to grade 12 so graduating high school was my priority but I gave serious thought to taking him up on the offer.
This guy, who did nothing more but give me his time to teach me about owning your own business almost got me to drop out of school to wash cars.
Being generous with your direct reports by buying them a coffee now and then is a great idea but to truly be generous and make a meaningful investment, be generous with your time.
Photo by Roadsidepicutres