3 Business Lessons Straight From Summer Camp

from daveramsey.com on 06 Jul 2012
 

Author Henry James said that the two most beautiful words in the English language are "summer afternoon." And we agree, especially when those afternoons are spent at camp. As a kid, it doesn't get any better than that special week of meeting new friends, stuffing yourself with s'mores, and telling ghost stories around the campfire.

Whether or not you knew it at the time, you learned great lessons at camp that you can apply to your business today. So to celebrate summer and children everywhere, here are the top three takeaways from summer camp.

Find the Counselor

Camp counselors spend their days nurturing, guiding and generally looking after the well-being of their little guests. If you are having a hard time, they are the ones you go to. But they're just for kids, right? Not really. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the world have their own counselors. They simply call them mentors. Think Ted Turner, Warren Buffet and Dave. In fact, mentors are so important to Dave, he regularly seeks advice from those he admires. And every leader on his team has been coached by another at the company. If you are seeking a mentor, remember:

  • Consider your weaknesses and then find someone who can help in those areas.
  • A mentor doesn't have to be limited to the business world. They can be anyone as long as you learn valuable lessons from them.

Unity Wins the Day

Part of the fun of summer camp is all that competition. And like on the sports field, it's not always the best team that wins. It's the group of cabin mates who are the most unified. When they work together as one, magic happens.

It's the same in business. Walk through the door of any great company, and you will find unity. So how do you build that kind of atmosphere? It doesn't occur naturally. You have to work at it every day and make it part of your culture. "Unity can only be created when the team not only knows the company cares for them, but they also care for each other," Dave says.

Learn Something New

Camp provides lots of opportunities to experience and learn new things. Where else can you acquire archery and macramé skills on the same day? As a business owner, you can do the same. Take advantage of the slower months to up your knowledge. If you don't think it's worth your time, consider this: In a recent poll of millionaires, they ranked hard work and education as the top two keys to their success.

For many of us, the memories of summer camp will last a lifetime. Wouldn't you like your business to have the same effect? By creating a culture where learning and harmony are admired and support is just a question away, it can do just that.

Action Steps

  • Find a person you admire and ask if they will be your mentor.
  • Pick up a new business or leadership book and set a deadline to finish reading it. Need a suggestion? Start with one of Dave's favorites.
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