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Leadership lessons from the crypt

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Long before taking the reins of Time Warner, Steve Ross manned some pretty unglamorous jobs, including working for his wife’s family business: a chain of funeral chapels.

After overcoming his reservations about the industry, Ross threw himself into his work and learned lessons he used for the rest of his career. They include:
  • Concentrate on service. Through working with families in grief, Ross learned the value of  “making sure everything is going well for people at a difficult time.”
  • Use tact at all times. “If you say to people who are grieving, ‘Can I help you?’” Ross recalls, “they will say, ‘No one can help me.’ So I would say, ‘Can I be of service to you?’”
  • Foster loyalty. As he moved into prominence in media, Ross continued to give his business to printers and other reliable vendors from his early years.
— Adapted from Master of the Game, Connie Buck, Simon & Schuster.

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