• Scott Otey

8 Ways Marriage and Business are Similar after 35 Years

As of today, we are still in quarantine from COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus), which has been significantly affecting life as we know it since early to mid March. We've been working from remote locations, practicing social distancing, and of course washing our hands. Amidst all this, I thought you might like to read something a little light-hearted. :)

This year our firm is celebrating its thirty fifth year in business. Coincidently, my wife Diane and I are also celebrating our thirty fifth anniversary. 35 years is along time to be a part of something so much larger than yourself.

Both prospects (marriage and business) require lots of consideration for others in order to last thirty five years and counting. It’s pretty amazing how virtues in marriage and business parallel each other. So here are a 8 ways my marriage and company have been similar and the lessons I've learned.

1. Commitment

I start with this one because without commitment, all the other virtues falter. I am committed to Diane and she is committed to me. I am committed to my employees and they are committed to me. I am committed to my clients and they are committed to me.

2. Honesty

Lies have no place in a marriage or business. The more honest I am with Diane, the more she trusts me. The same holds true for my clients. The more honest I am with them, the more trustworthy I become to them as well! Honesty prevents second guessing and keeps relationships thriving!

3. Creativity

Couples can become bored of each other without creativity. Employees will become bored at work if things become too stale and repetitive. I believe that a spouse AND clients want to see change and creativity or they will be distracted by the creativity of “the other guy”. Mix things up, keep it new and fresh – at home and at work.

4. Passion

Passion for my business moves the people around me to greater levels and higher achievements. Passion in my marriage moves my spouse to go places and do things with me they would never dream of doing alone. Passion in both institutions will offset the long work hours and stress of the week.

5. Communication

A few years ago, I learned that I was not forthcoming enough with information at work. I was not communicating with the team like I needed to. The same holds true in marriage. I must regularly communicate with Diane. I tend to clam up with her about business, but that’s excusable. What isn’t excusable is clamming up about life, kids, finances, and other marriage related topics. My wife and my team need to hear from me regularly.

6. Comfort/Support Structure

There are times when Diane or I need a shoulder to cry on or a hand to pick us up. At work, there are times when my team needs help; personal help! They may need someone to talk to or someone to pick them up from a low place.

My staff knows that my door is always open, until it’s not. They know two things about my door if it is closed: 1) I’m likely not alone and 2) It’s likely I’m with a staff member in need. Be there for your spouse, in the good times and in the bad times. But also be there for your team!

7. Cheerleading

Your spouse may possibly be your biggest fan, and sometimes your biggest critic. We have to take the good with the bad, right? My wife is a great cheerleader for my personal success and without a doubt the best cheerleading mother I have ever known. Your business team needs a cheerleader too. Someone to push them to greater heights, greater achievements, and greater futures for themselves and their families.

Over the past thirty five years, we have trained up and mentored many an employee who went on to start their own companies. We never dissuade or begrudge that move. We’ve lost some high-quality employees to an entrepreneur spirit, but the upside is, we now have friends in the business!

8. Time management

One of the greatest challenges we face in business is time management, especially with the constant barrage of emails and other computer notifications. When we first introduced PC computers in to our business in the early 90’s, the thought process was: “This will save us so much time!”. Really? Time is moving ever faster and computers are NOT creating more of it! The same is true in marriage. I’m not the same strapping young lad my wife married in 1985, and she’s not the same young gal I married either. Don’t tell her I said that!

We must do a better job of managing the time that we have. I realize more and more as I get older that it really is more about quality than quantity at the office – while the opposite is probably true at home. In order to spend enough time with my wife, my time at the office needs to be high quality, thought provoking, encouraging, creative, passionate, supportive and full of good cheer!

Scott & Diane Otey and their granddaughter
Scott & Diane Otey with their granddaughter

I could go on and on about other similarities such as finance and integrity but I don’t have “TIME!”

As my company celebrates its 35th year, I hope that I will remember my own advice and take these virtues seriously in the coming years both at work and home.

Scott Otey is a partner at West Coast Florida Enterprises, Inc. They are primarily a roofing contractor with an ornamental aluminum welding division. They specialize in condominium restoration work. Scott is married with two adult kids. His son works for the business and he was recently blessed with his first granddaughter! Scott serves as an elder at his Church in Naples and loves to play golf.


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