Happy Boss Day to Chapelboro Bosses

It’s tough to be a boss.  Today is a good time to thank those who have taken on the challenge.
So – Happy Boss Day – to all Chapelboro bosses.

It’s  also a good day for bosses to remind themselves of the duty they  have  to work at becoming better bosses. A good way to do this is to observe other bosses  in action. Not just on Boss Day – this is year round work.  Here are a few good Chapelboro bosses that I’ve observed and written about in recent years.

By the way, I highly doubt that these bosses are (or were) good bosses every minute of every day. More likely it occurred (or occurs) in bits and bites. And it seems to be about…well…read these stories and see what you think. And then – will you add a story or two about bosses you’ve admired?

1.. Chancellor William Aycock – Chancellor at Carolina  from 1957-1964.  

Chancellor Aycock commanded great respect.
Find out how  in: Kudos to Chancellor Bill Aycock.

2.  Basnight Sons & Daughter – Owners of S.H. Basnight & Sons.

SH Basnight & Sons was founded 87 years ago by Stein Basnight and is now run by two of his grandchildren, Jesse Basnight Jr and Terry Hamlet. 
Their secrets to success?
 Eight great ones are revealed in Basnight Family Secrets.  
Secrets 5-8 in particular are outstanding reminders for bosses everywhere.

3.  Bill Blackman & Jim Sloop – Founders of Blackman & Sloop, CPAs, P.A.

Bill Blackman and Jim Sloop were good at hiring, training  and coaching people; and making them feel good about the work they were doing.  Evidence of this?  Many current staff members have been there twenty, even thirty plus years.  Read more in Secrets of Success from Blackman & Sloop.

4.  .  Chris Derby – Owner of two UPS Stores.

A visit to mail packages at one of Chris’ stores made me curious. 
What were his secrets to success?
UPS Stores Do Good Business reveals secrets shared by Chris and his team.
And demonstrates one of the most important reminders for bosses everywhere.

5.  Coach Larry Fedora – Head Football Coach at Carolina.

Coach Fedora is high on energy, has high expectations and he makes them clear to players, coaches, fans – all stakeholders.  Find out how in Good Business Fedora Style.

6.  Mac Fitch – Owner of Fitch Lumber Company.

Fitch Lumber Company is 104 years old, the oldest business in town. 
Freddy Foust has worked there for 27 of those years. When asked why he has stayed at Fitch for 27 years, Freddy’s immediate answer was “Mac Fitch”.  
Hmm – sounds like a good boss to study. Read more in Fitch Family Secrets.

7.. Berkeley Grimball – Owner of Grimball Jewelers.

Like many bosses, Berkeley has learned to be one through the school of hard knocks.  Read  great messages from him on the importance of: communication, systems, crisis management, role definition, delegation, persistence and passion in The Shining of Grimball Jewelers.

8.  Joe Hakan– Architect for the Dean Smith Center.

Most bosses think they make their expectations clear. Most people reporting to them disagree.   This disconnect causes much discord. 
In Great Expectations at the Dean Dome,  learn how  Joe cut off potential discord by making expectations clear from the start.

9. Jim Heavner, Kay Norris & Bob Woodruff – The Village Companies (now known as VilCom).

From 18 years of working with these three, I can tell you that they are stellar bosses in many ways.  The aspect I wrote about most recently was their commitment to professional development.  You can read about it in Mess in the Middle.

10.  Al Jeter – Manager of UNC Surplus Store.

Al sets a positive, high energy  atmosphere.   Team members seem to know what is expected.  They jump in a help without Al saying a word.  You can read more about it in Furniture & More for Less.

11.  Matt Lawrence – Chapel Hill Fire Department.

Here’s another boss making his expectations clear AND keeping everyone posted on progress. 

12. Chancellor Carlyle Sitterson – Chancellor at Carolina from 1966-1972.

Being a good boss during peaceful times is hard enough. 
Even in tumultuous times, Chancellor Sitterson got kudos for being a good boss. 

13.   Roger Stancil –  Town Manager, Town of Chapel Hill

Bosses need to be in charge, take a stand and often make unpopular decisions.   Sometimes they get stuck in that mode and forget that they don’t have all the information and answers.    And sometimes employees are scared to offer information and solutions to the boss, so encouragement is needed.
Roger encouraged input with his  “If I were boss” program.  Read about it Good Business by the Town of Chapel Hill.

14. Ray Austin –  Former manager of Western Auto.

In just two words, Ray Austin sent a strong career lesson to 15 year old Mick Mixon.
It’s a message all bosses need to hear. Read and listen to Mick in Kudos to Ray Austin .


What do you appreciate about a current or former boss?

Write it in comments section below or send to Jan@Chapelboro.com
And what about you? 

  • Are you a boss? 
  • What makes you a really good boss?
  • What could make you better? 
  • Will you adopt a strategy or two from one of the above bosses do or did?
Note:  You can find additional ideas for leadership and team development in this eeek-book designed especially for October.

Secrets of Success from Blackman & Sloop

Are you familiar with Blackman & Sloop, CPAs, P.A.?

It’s an accounting firm in town.  They have a nice office over in The Exchange at Meadowmont.


They’ve been around for almost forty years; and now have about forty people on the staff working with clients across the state.

If your business isn’t celebrating that kind of success yet – maybe not celebrating any success at all, I hope this story will provide a few tips and perhaps a bit of encouragement.

After getting certified, Bill Blackman and Jim Sloop worked for a few years in various large accounting firms in the state.  Then the two of them decided they wanted to open their own firm.  Bill suggested Chapel Hill since he had gone to Carolina.  

Thinking it would be better to open a firm in a larger town; their parents weren’t in favor of this idea.  At the time (1973), there was only one accounting firm in Chapel Hill.  Perhaps that was enough.

But Bill and Jim opened up in Chapel Hill anyway. Their office was in the then relatively new NCNB Plaza on Franklin Street.

Their space had two offices, a file room and a reception area.  But no receptionist. 

Bill and Jim got their desks, chairs and phones all set up.   They had file folders and intake forms ready to go.  They had their adding machines and typewriters all plugged in.

They decided to have an open house on opening day.   There was plenty of room for this in the reception area since there was no receptionist.  They borrowed a card table and set it up.  On it they put a big pot of coffee and boxes of doughnuts from The Sweet Shoppe, a bakery in High Point, owned by  Jim’s parents.  There.  All set to greet their visitors.

No one came.

No one except Mrs. Wilson, secretary for Gordon Battle whose office was next door.

She came several times.

And a few family members stopped by.

Can you imagine how discouraging this must have been?

Maybe their parents were right.  Maybe Chapel Hill WAS too small to support another accounting firm.

Or – you may be thinking there was a problem with their advertising.  If so, you are right.  They didn’t do any.  And that’s because at the time, advertising was against professional ethics in the accounting profession.

Bill and Jim overcame whatever disappointment there was, pushed through the real and imagined parental I told you so’s and decided it was important to get out and about in town and meet people.  Problem was – they were afraid to leave the office because…what if a potential client came by? 

Thirty-four years later, Bill and Jim told this story to a group of thirty-five partners, associates and staff members who had gathered at the Aqueduct Conference Center for a planning retreat.     Just a few minutes before, the two had announced to associates and staff members that they would be retiring from the practice the following year.

WHAT?!   Bill Blackman and Jim Sloop of Blackman & Sloop were retiring?  What would happen to Blackman & Sloop with no Blackman and no Sloop?

I’ll get back to that in a bit, but first…besides eating leftover doughnuts, what did Bill and Jim do between opening day and retirement day to get enough business to need a staff of thirty-five?

Here are a few pointers from Bill:

• Many people think this is a numbers business.  It’s not.  It’s a people business.
• People don’t do business with you because they think you are a good accountant.  They do business with you because they like you.
• Get out and get to know people.
• Have lunch with everyone in town.
• Keep your name on the tips of their tongues.

They must have done a lot of these things.  And they must have done the work well.  Because they developed an excellent reputation.  AND they must have done a good job of hiring, training  and coaching people; and making them feel good about the work they were doing because many of them have been there twenty, even thirty plus years.

Photo credit: Blackman & Sloop

So – back to the future of Blackman & Sloop with no Blackman and no Sloop.

Through all the training, mentoring and succession planning, there was not just one but five partners highly prepared to carry on as if nothing had changed.

Under the ownership and direction of these five partners:  Joan Pharr, Andrea Woodell Eason, Carla Daniel, Neely McLaughlin and Robin McDuffie,  the firm has continued to thrive as an organization focused on internal and external relationships, client service, contribution to the community and environmental stewardship. 

Hats off to Bill Blackman and Jim Sloop for building not just a business, but a business that could carry on without them.  That’s a rare legacy that has and will continue to benefit Blackman & Sloop clients and staff for years to come.

The rest of us can benefit as well.  From the many good business reminders they shared in this story.  From the mental image of that card table full of coffee and doughnuts sitting in a reception area with no receptionist and no one to eat the doughnuts.  And from the reminder that it was not the end of their story.

But it is the end of this one.

copyright 2012 by Business Class Inc

You can read more about Blackman & Sloop right here.

Got any stories to share about tough times or good times in business?
Please share them with me by email.