Pam and I have been exploring different ways that we can inspire you to pour. In the 62 years that I have been roaming this planet, I have been fortunate enough to have had someone always watching my back and actively pouring into me in various ways. Some are the more traditional ones like my Dad, coaches, or teachers. But I was so fortunate to have one of my earlier employers pour through his example. It has served me well in all my years since.
The late George Dean, of Athens best traditional men’s store of the same name, was one of the best. Mr. Dean (and it was always “Mr. Dean” even when I was in my 50’s) was a great force of nature. In the 1970’s and probably beyond, he had the habit of hiring college boys, with zero experience, to work in his store. We thought it was his idea that by having us work there, we would bring in the fraternity crowd. We were all just there to make a few bucks to spend on fun, and didn’t care so much about selling clothes. Now that I look back I wonder if he had a different ulterior motive. It was his generosity of spirit that prompted him to pour into the next generation and help to groom us in the ways of gentile business practice. He gave me invaluable examples as I stood on the perimeters and observed him in his element of genuine rapport with people. He demonstrated what it meant to treat your customer like a guest in your home. He created a positive atmosphere so that everyone who walked through the door felt comfortable. He showed interest in them and asked about family members and golf games. He wasn’t just selling clothes; he was selling himself. He helped me learn to be attentive, not pushy. Be there, but do not hover. And the customer was always right even when they wanted a brown suit with a brown matching tie that you would not wear to a funeral. Mr. Dean also knew that if you treated a man with respect and dignity, they would remember you and return when it was time for him to buy something. I try to follow Mr. Dean’s example to this day even after all these years. What I realized was these same principles applied to my inter personal experiences since, in life, we are always selling ourselves.
There is a saying: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That statement can be applied in so many different situations. Mr. Dean cared and people responded to that. What a great lesson to learn. There is also something we learned lately that can be applied to what he did: Think lab, Not lecture, when pouring. Mr. Dean’s store was such a great lab for learning. From a guy’s perspective, this worked wonders for me.
We all have an influence in any sphere. You can POUR without stepping out of the boundaries of your everyday environment. Take a young employee under your wing, or strive to demonstrate the character you hope they will embrace. I am thankful that I had a Mr. Dean in my life. I bet you could be one in somebody else’s. Just POUR!