This Father’s Day I’m reflecting on the two fathers I know well, my own father and the father of my children. Both businessmen, they are alike in many ways but differ in their orientation towards risk. On one side is the risk-seeking father of my immediate family, and here’s a climbing picture of us in Wales that aptly sums this up. In the photo you can see he is in the lead position, blissfully unaware of the worries of me as the stop at the end.
On the other side of the risk cline is my father, pictured in the article above about him and yours truly. My dad was always steadfastedly risk-averse. He did not, for example, go out of his way to test our fishing skills in a croc-infested billabong or drive across a river in a tinny Suzuki that passed for a 4x4. Instead, he plugged away at the work he so much loved and became expert at the Japanese art of business relations. Every now and then he reminisces about his glory days as banking gladiator and mediator, which can strangely occupy the same person in a Japanese business context. In a recent call, my father reminded me of the expression, 花を持たせる, a fundamental Japanese business negotiation practice necessary in soft leadership: “Don’t forget to let others hold the bouquet of flowers.”
Which got me thinking. Maybe the lead climber in the Welsh climb had handed me (the stop) the bouquet? All I can say is that I’m glad the idea was never tested and we made it to the top.
Happy Father’s Day to dads world over, risk-seeking and risk-averse!