7 10 11 Cultivating His Plants

7 10 11 Cultivating His Plants -...

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Cultivating His Plants, and His Company By ADAM BRYANT Published: July 9, 2011 Sign In to E-Mail   Print   Reprints   This interview with  Jack Dangermond , founder and president of Esri, which offers geographic  information systems, was conducted and condensed by  Adam Bryant .   Ángel Franco/The New York Times Jack Dangermond is founder and president of Esri, which develops geographic information systems and is based in Redlands, Calif. In your garden or in your company, he says, “you inherently have responsibilities to take care of things.” Corner Office Every Sunday, Adam Bryant talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing. In his new book,  " The Corner Office " (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70  leaders.  Excerpt » More ‘Corner Office’ Columns » Subscribe to Corner Office via RSS » Q.   Do you remember the first time you were somebody’s boss?  
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A.  I was a teenager. My parents owned a plants nursery. We all grew up growing things, and  planting things, and selling things, and I also managed landscape crews.     Q.   So how old were you when you first started running a crew?      A.  Sixteen.    Q.  Was that hard for you?      A.  No.  Growing up in a family business like that was really a happy time.  When my parents  started it, they had little education and were immigrants from Holland. We all just worked  together as a team in the nursery. It basically gave me all the lessons of business school when  I was growing up — issues like cash flow, customer service and how to grow a business.   My parents had no money, but they had strong values that I’ve carried throughout my life —  things like not going into debt, never borrowing money, never leveraging, paying your bills  on time, keeping your agreements, selling customers the right things, treating employees  right and growing things.   Q.   So, at 16, you’re managing a crew.  I assume that these people were older than you.      A.  Yes. We worked as a team. Part of my management style today is not being elitist, but  rather being involved with the people doing the actual work. On the landscape crew I  learned a lot from the other workers. We treated everybody equally, and we worked hard.  I  also remember my father and I were once walking through the nursery, and one of the plants  was wilting.  And he said, “Did you notice something?”   I looked down and realized the plant was wilting.  He said: “Don’t ever walk by a wilting  plant. Get water on it right away.”  Which sort of stuck with me — you inherently have 
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7 10 11 Cultivating His Plants -...

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