Who Are You Impressing is taken from Gene McVay’s leadership & management book, TOP GUN MANAGEMENT
Too many upwardly mobile executives feel that they need to be somebody else or act like somebody else. General George Patton and General Omar Bradley were great generals but total opposites. Bradley was known as the solder’s general and Patton was known as “Old Blood and Guts.” Sometimes you have to do what works. Don’t use a push when a nudge will work. Dress for success but do you really need to go deeply into debt to buy that luxury SUV?
Let me mention three billionaires: When Sam Walton was the richest man in America, he drove an old Ford pickup. Billionaire and presidential candidate Ross Perot drove a ten year old Oldsmobile. I remember inviting my friend Lieutenant Governor Win Rockefeller to speak at my civic club in Fort Smith once. At the time his net worth was 1.3 billion. After speaking to my civic club I drove him to the radio station for an interview and then to an elementary school. Win was to talk to some third grade students and read them a book. The first question came from a little boy who asked Win if he had a limousine. Governor Rockefeller told the boy he did not own a limousine. The little boy persisted, did you come over here in a limousine, he asked. Governor Rockefeller said he had not come in a limousine, he had ridden in Colonel McVay’s Chevrolet van. The boy little boy then wanted to know what kind of car Win Rockefeller owned. Win told him that he owned a Chevrolet pickup. This is a long story to tell you to save your money. Don’t buy a vehicle you can’t afford. Don’t find yourself one pay check away from the poor house. Live within your means. The people driving cars they can’t afford to impress other people who are driving cars they can’t afford are only impressing each other.
Every single member of my staff had a much larger and more expensive house than I had. That was not the only difference. I retired when I was 54, they didn’t.