How did they do that? By spanking, swatting, paddling or cuffing the great big CEOs when they were little. He ends the column by saying, “So thanks, Dad.” Ballard doesn’t seem to be satirical here, unless I missed something.
The columnist apparently was reacting to a USA Today story earlier this month backs up his contention. Here’s what CEO’s told the newspaper:
- “I received the belt when I deserved it. … I’m disciplined, detailed and organized.” – David Haffner, Chief Executive Officer of Leggett & Platt
- “You knew that if you didn’t cut the grass right away or chop wood or feed horses, you were going to get a spanking. – Nick Turner, 33, the chief financial officer of executive recruiter Kaye-Bassman International
- “I got the ‘this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you’ speech from my dad. I don’t think spankings influenced my life one way or the other” – Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of Dallas Mavericks and chairman of HDNet
- “If I came home late, chances are I’d get hit. If my parents found out I was someplace I wasn’t supposed to be, I’d get hit.” – Joe Moglia, CEO of Ameritrade
I’m beginning to understand why I turned out so average when it comes to the corporate world. My dad didn’t live long enough to pound me into a pulp. Apparently the one or two spankings I received just weren’t enough.
Had he lived, here’s the trajectory I might have enjoyed:
- On my 10th birthday, dad sits down with me to have a man-to-man talk: “Life is hard son. Who do you think the winners are in this lion-eat-sheep world? So you see, this whupping I’m about to give you will make you a better man.”
- Dad vigorously shakes my hand at my Bar Mitzvah saying, “You see son, that beating I gave you last year finally got that notion outta your head that God doesn’t exist. Now that your on the right path, you are free to understand what is really important: do what other people tell you until you are running your own massive corporation.”
- At my high school graduation, dad takes me out to the lake where he finds a large branch. “But why dad? I graduated with honors just like you asked.” His response: “Well son, you’re headed off to college next fall, and I don’t want you to forget any of these valuable life lessons. This last whupping makes you a man.”
- Shortly after college, I begin my own biotechnology company Mutate, which rearranges cells to my liking, and quickly crush all other competitors in the world.
- By my 30s, my big, powerful company is larger than most industrialized nations. I use it to deliver new improved wheat to Third World Countries for free – bankrupting small local farmers who are clearly using inferior crops.
- By my 40s, I explain to my kids as I wallop them, that they can build an even bigger company, maybe one that takes over the world. They just need to remember that their sore arses will teach them discipline and model-citizen behavior as defined by today’s culture.
And now a line for people who don’t read my site regularly: this is satire. My dad never would have been like that, and I of course strongly believe that there are far better ways to teach your children discipline than whacking them.
In fact, every time I yell at my son for doing something wrong – usually dangerous things like trying to beat his sister’s head into the rug – I feel I’ve failed. I’m constantly looking for better approaches, that do not involve even screaming. That’s because I strongly believe that as humans, we are smart enough to teach our kids life lessons that do not devolve into beating them.