REAL WORLD: This Sales Training Program Looks a Lot Like the Jehovah's Witnesses...
Transparency In Performance Management - Should You Coach Talent in Front of Others?

HR Capitalist Memories of Dad....

Capitalist Note - An oldie, but a goodie on Father's day.  Miss you dad.

My dad gave me a lot to move forward with in life.  Like most of his generation, my dad was old school - a little bit great santini but nuclear family through and through.  In addition to all the things you expect (food, shelter, TV), my Dad served as a role model for two things in my life - the ability to grind/work hard and the ability to work on skills that would give you a competitive advantage in life.  Although he passed away in 2005, I still think about the memories related to those themes at least a couple of times a week. 

The first memory is a recurring sound- the sounds/vibrations of my dad's work boots going through theKent and KD house each morning at 6am as I laid in bed.  Regardless of what happened the night before, my dad always answered the bell the next day.  With that role modeling, I've always had the ability to grind away at a task or goal once I put my mind to it.

The second memory is skill and talent-related.  I have these memories of my dad guarding me on the basketball court when I was roughly about 10 years old.  I was right-handed, and in an effort to develop skills that would make a difference, my dad would savagely block my shot when I drove to the basket using my right hand.  It was brutal - imagine how Bill Murray would block a kid's shot in that over the top way.... However, he'd let me shoot when I went left and told me why he was doing it.  If you know hoops, you know the ability to use either hand at a high level is required to play at an advanced level and have success.  A couple of years later, I started a self-directed path in basketball that led to a college career, and subsequently, a lot of things in life I wouldn't have had if not for that lesson.  It all started with my dad teaching me a simple lesson on developing skills that matter (which are the ones with market value that other people don't have).

Of course, now that I'm older, I also see that the skill and work ethic lessons are hopelessly linked.  As a result, I try in the best way I can to share the same types of lessons with my sons.  When it's time to do some work with them that will give them a competitive advantage, I've taken to asking the following question if they whine:

"What do people named Dunn do?"

To which they reply (grudgingly at times, but at times with pride):

"We work".

My dad's gone now and that sucks.  However, any time I get down and wish he was here, I think about the role modeling he did why he was here, and it quickly becomes more of a celebration in my mind, although a sad one since he's not around to see the same lessons coming through with my sons.

Work = Success = Enthusiasm to do more work

Thanks Dad.


Trish McFarlane

He sounds amazing. I especially like that the sound of his work boots had such impact on you. Those are the things we don't see our children noticing about us. Glad you shared.

Chris Frede

What a great post Kris. The basketball example was a great lesson. It is so wonderful reflecting on our childhood and all the lessons learned (many we do not realize at the time). I wonder what your children will write about you? Kind of cool...

Sorry for your loss and happy Father's Day to you.


It's funny how sometimes we learn unintended lessons from our parents. My father was enormously successful in his career and never had time for his kids. My perception as a kid was that work was more important than family. While it bothered me as a kid that my dad was never there for me, I think it has made me that much better of a father to my kids. He made me realize that work is important, but not at any cost.

Tim Sackett

KD -

Thanks for sharing - luckly my Dad is still alive but I have a memory of my Dad taking me to the ball diamond and during batting practice purposely hitting me with about every third pitch - why? You can't be scared of the ball - pain is temporary.

I tell my boys - we're Sackett's and Sackett's are winners - and winners get to do what they want! Not quite a poetic as your Dad - but hey - we're Sackett's and we get to do what we want!


Laura Neidert

I really like the sound example. I have the same memory of my grandfather and the sound his change and keys would make when he climbed the stairs up from his basement. He had a very similar work ethic to your Dad too!

Jennifer McClure

Thanks for sharing your memories and life lessons with us Kris. It's a reminder of how important it is to model the expected/desired behaviors for our kids (and employees) in order to teach real and lasting life lessons.

Happy Father's Day to you!

Kevin W. Grossman

Happy Father's Day, Kris.


really good post Kris...thanks for sharing all of that....


Thank you so much for sharing some of the lessons you learned from your Dad. I also developed a strong work-ethic from my father. He was out the door to the factory every morning by 4 am. He worked his way up from the line to middle management through hard work and dedication. Dad always loved his job, no matter what that was - he had the innate ability to see the value his work added and be intrinsically rewarded for having contributed to something bigger than himself. Dad is now retired but he still demonstrates that passionate, focused and persistent work-ethic. No matter what his current interest (gardening is the new one), he goes all-in every single day.

The life lessons we have learned from our parents just being themselves, living their lives are amazing .

Happy father's day to you, Kris, and to all your readers. Thanks for being great examples to your kids!

Yosie Saint-Cyr

My father was also a great role model for me for some of the reasons you stated. I lost my dad as well as my best friend in 1999 and the memories help me remember who I am and what I am worth.

Deb Franklin

Wow, Kris, great post. I, too lost my dad and it still hurts. When he was near the end, an employee brought this into my office and said, I know your dad is a hero, I can tell by the way you help run this business. I shared part of it at dad's funeral, and will share with you:
There are icons and there are heroes, and to many, they are one and the same – but to me, they are very different. Only now, a week after watching my father succumb to cancer, can I distinguish the difference. Joe DiMaggio is an icon- a light the nation looks toward in helping define who we are as nation. Icons are to be idolized and romanticized playing a role in our dreams. My father is a hero – a lighthouse guiding me every day. Heroes show us how to make daily choices that define who we are and who we want to be as individuals. Joltin’ Joe showed me how to travel the base paths with grace, how to handle fame with respect, and how to wait on a curveball. My father taught me the importance of laughter, the irreplaceable value of humility, and how to do what is right when thrown a curveball in life. Icons like DiMaggio teach us how to dream, but heroes like my father teach us how to live. Do we need heroes, you ask. Yes, we do, everyday. DOUGLAS DONOVAN Marblehead, Mass
Here's to you, Dad - miss you, hope I'm making you proud.


Thanks for a great post. Good dads help make us better people...and better HR people.

Thanks for sharing.

Naomi Bloom

We were clearly on the same memory path this morning, and our Dads would have enjoyed hanging out together. Here's an introduction to mine

Debbie Brown

Hi Kris- I lost my dad in 2005 too. Fathers day tradition was the Cubs. We would all go to Wrigley if they were in town, or I would send tickets if I was out of town some years. He taught me to love baseball and Wrigley Field and the 1969 Cubs. I suppose that is why you see me cheer for them today.


In my first job (at 16), I was surrounded by a bunch of hardworkers. One of my co-workers (who I originally met in a pickup basketball game) told me "Work? School? They're just another form of sport." To this day, while I may not be the smartest amongst my peers, I know how to set goals. I know "I win when the team wins", and I work smart and work hard. And work is fun...

Thanks for the stories, KD.

Joel Kimball

Great stuff, Kris. My dad died when I was 12, but as I always note, he taught me a couple key things: that telling the truth is a must; how to fish; how to hunt; how to throw, kick, catch and shoot a ball. The rest I learned through others :)

Your lesson to your kids resonates as well. As I used to tell mine when we had story time (right before bed) - "How do we get money." "Because you WORK." "Right."

They're all growed up now (well, youngest is 16, but two in their 20's, one getting married next month) and doing well. It's gratifying - hope I had something to do with it via the "life lessons" and example I set.

Belated Happy Father's Day, KD!


Good post, buddy. Special guy. What did he think of your goatee?

Allison Cox

Great post, Kris. Happy Father's Day to you. I know your Dad has to be looking down and smiling (wearing his work boots and holding a basketball:)).


What great lessons and beautiful tribute to your dad!

What stood out to me was how, looking back, you can remember the sound of his workboots every morning at 6am. It was a simple thing he did, beginning his day, without even realizing the impact it left on you..and yet the impact was huge, that no matter what, no excuse, gotta get to work and provide for his family. This provided you with security and stability and a powerful lesson in an awesome work ethic!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)