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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Be Outstanding, Not Just Good

by Shel Horowitz

Paul DiGrigoli started his hair salon with 300 square feet and one chair. Now, he oversees 10,000 square feet, 24 chairs, and several locations.

In résuméa sound bite-laden multimedia motivational presentation to the Family Business Center's May gathering, DiGrigoli outlined several principles underlying his success:

  • Treat business like a professional sport-and be on the winning side.
  • Be great; you don't get to the Olympics by being good.
  • Excel at both the technical and entrepreneurial skills you need to succeed.
  • Learn to manage yourself: walk your talk, lead and motivate by example, go work the line sometimes.
  • Make your organization exciting.
  • Seek balance and flexibility in your life; work harder on yourself than on your job; be in a state of constant learning. "If it took someone four years to write a book and it takes you one month to read it," you have a really good return on your investment of time, because you're getting the four years of knowledge in a month.
  • Delegate instead of control.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • "Grow big ears"; be a good listener, especially to your children, who will bring new and fresh ideas. Effective listening is NOT about what you're going to say next.
  • Your core values are more important than the dollars you make.
  • "You will experience mistakes, setbacks, obstacles and defeats. The winner is the one who picks up and learns from them."
  • Find messages that inspire you and expose yourself to them repeatedly. DiGrigoli plays Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" at least once a week.

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