Starting a business requires a financial investment, a marketable product, a talented and dedicated team, and a comprehensive plan for achieving a good return on your investment. The skill set required to achieve this can be debated. There are those that believe a Wharton MBA or such provides the strongest tools for a would be entrepreneur; there are also those who may argue that starting at the bottom of the corporate ladder (or mailroom in a bygone era), and working your way up one hard fought step at a time, best prepares you to take on the challenges that heading up a business presents. While I would never argue that either of the aforementioned paths are bad ones to take, I would argue that Mom 101 may be an equally important route. Education is a must, and earning your way is admirable, but the similarities between being a good Mom and a good CEO or Manager should not be underestimated.
The value of an education in Mom 101 was brought to the forefront of my mind many years ago by a former employee at a past company. She worked for us for many years, running a baking operation we owned and later the warehouse and shipping department for our fats and oils business. It was not a traditional position for a woman to hold, but she did it incredibly well. She managed the laborers, the forklift drivers, the truck drivers, the inventory crew, and the contractors. Most of the employees who worked for her were men. They were men who were not used to working for a woman and they were men who didn’t like working for a woman. Nevertheless, she managed her department efficiently and effectively. She kept her head down,managed her team, did her job, came in on budget, dealt with issues and rarely made a mistake. She was truly one of the best department managers that we had. I know this because I rarely had to follow up on her and she didn’t call me whining (ever)!
In one of her annual evaluation sessions I asked her what her secret was. We had dozens of departments, mostly led by men who also performed very well. These men were also smart, hard working, dedicated employees, but they didn’t seem to function as seamlessly (many of them often whined!) as the Warehouse/Shipping Manager. She responded without hesitation. The answer was easy, she said: she ran her department just like she ran her home. She treated her work team like she treated her kids. She tried to educate and nurture them, and then she expected them to follow the rules and be personally responsible for their actions. If they didn’t live up to these expectations, she held them accountable. She was a great Mom who raised three successful, responsible, educated, children and she was a great manager who“raised” her team with the same philosophy as she raised those three great kids.
Wow! It was like she had just turned on a light bulb in my head! The skills that it takes to be a great Mom are the same that it takes to be a great “Manager”. It was pretty basic, really; it just had never occurred to me before. Still, I have never forgotten it. I have often thought back to that comparison when analyzing a business decision or providing my children with direction. In both worlds I preach and live by my personal maxim: “Strive for Excellence”.
And so, why did we name Pixel Entertainment’s business blog, “My3Moms”? Pixel Entertainment is a young company whose initial core team are Moms or wannabe Moms; hence My3Moms. We are proud of our experience as mothers. We think it matters. Our blog is about the fact that some of us are Moms and our experiences as Moms or wannabe Moms bring one of many valuable perspectives to starting and running a business.
That said, in the past few months we have experienced fast growth and are continually adding members to our team. Some are Moms, some don’t want to be a Mom, some are Dads and some aren’t. Whatever path each of us took to join our team — Business School, working up the ladder, entrepreneurial instincts, or Mom 101 – we all bring value.
I think that Moms have a lot to offer, and I wanted them to have a voice. I hope that Moms everywhere, at home or at work , will eventually share their stories – to help make us all better personally and professionally. We also want to hear from others: Dads, wannabe Dads and never gonnabe Dads and Moms alike.
We are the Moms and these are our experiences.
- Mama Ben