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Part III: Notice Your Network > 10. The Butterfly Effect

10. The Butterfly Effect

—Ralph Stayer (Johnsonville Sausage)

Listen to that sick feeling in your gut. Most of the time we try to avoid that nervous butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling. But Ralph Stayer owes his career success—and the success of the hundreds of employees he supervises—to going after that butterfly feeling.

"If the things you commit to don't make you puke in the sink every now and then, you really haven't signed on for a lot," says Ralph, in his booming voice and plain Midwestern accent. His point is that it's important to look inside at the things we're afraid of and then go ahead and tackle 'em. That's how he built his career at Johnsonville Sausage.

Ralph's career started in one of the most comfortable, protected situations: a family business. It might have been easy for him to glide along and not push himself. Many people are in his situation today: Two out of five Fortune 500 firms are family businesses. And most American companies are run by brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. So I include Ralph's story in this book because obviously a lot of people are working in businesses owned by their families. And even if you aren't, Ralph's story can apply to most situations, family business or not—because it's about how to manage people and improve yourself.


  

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