Sunday, June 19, 2022

Darth Vader, CEO

Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming on Disney+

The story begins 10 years after the dramatic events of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat - the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Oh yeah, and Anakin was Luke and Leia's Daddy. 

No, scratch that. Anakin Skywalker was THEIR FATHER.

The words "father" and "dad" are more than just plain words. Although both are technically the same, the truth is, there are many very important differences between the two. Determining whether one is a dad and not just a father can be accomplished by not only looking at the person as he is, but also looking at him with his immediate surroundings (family, friends, coworkers). 

As I sit and write my Sunday Blog on Father's Day, I think of phrases like "The Founding Fathers" and "The Father of our Country" or "The Father of..." and, well, you can fill in the blank. 

In business, the head of the company, the boss, the leader, is somewhat like the father. Ala, The Godfather. The head of the family. 

If you can see a child look at their father with glowing eyes, happy, safe, protected, and at the same time they are resting assured that everything will be okay because "dad" is here, then you are probably seeing the difference between dad and father. "Daddy's Home!" is certainly not the same as "Father has arrived." 

A father simply thinks about caring for his family, per se. As long as he can pay the bills on time, as long as he can supply food or the basic necessities for the family, then he's already good with that. 

My dad passed away in the 90s. Definitely a "dad" and not just a father. He was a great provider for his family, but he was a natural dad. He truly enjoyed spending time with the family. He could not fake it - he truly loved being a dad. My dad. And the lessons that I learned from spending quality time with my dad are the most valuable. Tony Capone was "bigger than life" as they say, and we still tell Tony Capone stories at family outings. 

This father's day I am finding myself reflecting on the difference between being a boss, the CEO, a leader - the "father" of the company. And, how some business leaders are more like a dad. How some business leaders are all about the stock price, the financials, and shareholder value. And how some business leaders are truly people first. How some leaders care more about the people in their charge - their people first - and company profits are only counted after the needs of their people are met. 

I am also reflecting on Fathers and Dads in the media. Bill Cosby was "America's Dad" until, well, until he was not. When it comes to fictional dads, Jack Pearson on This Is Us is easily one of the most beloved. Stanley Pearson, Jack's dad - was no dad - he was just a father. 

And this brings me back to Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As the biological father of Luke and Leia, Anakin could have been a dad, but certainly never made it to dad status. And Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi was more of a father - no - he was more of a dad to the kids than anyone could hope for. 

OK, bring it home for us Tom........

You don't have to be the founder of a company - the "biological father" of the business - to be a good dad to your people. Just as Jack Pearson was an AMAZING father to his adopted son Randall Pearson, being a good, great, AMAZING "dad" to people is always possible. Stanley Pearson was a father, but he was never a dad. 

"Luke, I am your father" is one of the most iconic lines in movie history, right? And yet, that Darth Vader reveal misquote is probably the most famous line in all  the Star Wars films - that iconic moment when Vader tells Luke the truth about his family history:

Darth Vader: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."

Luke Skywalker: "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"

Darth Vader: "No. I am your father."

Stanley Pearson lent money to his son Jack Pearson to buy a home (Father move).

Jack Pearson ran into their house on fire to save his family - and the family dog (Dad move). 

You don't have to be someone's biological father to be their dad. You reach "the dad zone" via your actions, not via your words. You cannot claim the title dad, it must be awarded to you. 

So on this Father's Day remember: you don't have to be a father to be someone's dad. And, if you own or run a business, you should always aspire to be like Jack Pearson, not like Stanley Pearson. Your people are your kids. Your people in your care, the employees in your charge, are indeed your family. CEO is just a title. The "DAD" of the company is the title that really matters. Your people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care about them

Enjoy your Sunday. And "May the (Dad) Force Be With You......Always."

Me and my two Padawan in the 90s

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