I’d give anything to have a HoldCo…
We keep a running list of quotes in the drafts folder of our email. The very first entry, an excerpt about legendary golfer Gary Player from a book by Bob Merritt, we saved on August 13, 2015, which was six weeks before Chenmark acquired its first company. From the excerpt:
“Many years ago the legendary golf pro Gary Player was hitting balls off the practice tee one morning, and the first ball he hit went 280 yards straight as a bullet. A guy in the gallery just within earshot said, ‘Man, I’d give anything to be able to hit a golf ball like you.’ Gary walked over to the guy and said, ‘No, you wouldn’t.’ The guy said, ‘Yes, I would. I’d give anything to hit like that,’ Gary said, ‘No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t be willing to do what it takes. You have to rise early in the morning and hit five hundred balls until your hands bleed. Then you stop, tape your hands, and hit five hundred more balls. The next morning you’re out there again with hands so raw you can barely hold your club, but you do it all over again. If you do that through enough years of pain, then you can hit a ball like that.’”
We recently did a recruiting dinner at a prominent business school where we were reminded of this quote when one of the students asked what we look for in CEOs, and what it takes to be successful in small business. We responded that there is a difference between those who want the outcome and those who actually want to do the work.
When doing these sessions, it often seems that many students want a list of technical qualifications (intelligence, business acumen, financial modeling, communication skills, etc.) to determine if they might be a good fit for small business.
These things are important of course, but when we think of the key contributors to Chenmark’s growth since August 2015, the biggest has been finding people to join the team who buy into the ethos Player describes in the anecdote above.
We have been fortunate to build a leadership group that, metaphorically speaking, shows up to the driving range each morning, regardless of how their hands feel, and sets a standard for the rest of the organization. They are willing to work through a wide variety of challenges to deliver for our customers and to keep our businesses moving forward. More than that however, they are committed to consistently showing up and trying hard, something that sounds simple, but is not easy, especially once real life starts getting in the way.
The mindset that Player describes is aspirational but it’s also a challenge that resets constantly. We are grateful that each day is a new opportunity to prove we collectively have what it takes to build something great.
Have a great week,
Your Chenmark Team