Steve Weinberger | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Steve Weinberger


The Clearwater Jazz Holiday music festival, now in its 38th year, is enjoyed by more than 35,000 people every October. It’s organized, produced, and implemented by the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that sponsors several other cultural and educational outreach initiatives in the Tampa Bay area.

The Mistake:

I wasn’t always as patient as I needed to be.

I practiced law for approximately 15 years before becoming CEO of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation. It's difficult for me to pinpoint a specific mistake to draw a noteworthy lesson from – even though I’m confident there were several – thinking about my journey does illuminate a couple of themes.

Solving problems requires tremendous patience, and I wasn’t always as patient as I needed to be. Defining issues and navigating personalities is not always easy. Thinking back on my legal career and my specific area of practice, business litigation, the path was ripe with opportunity to grow and develop this vital trait and skill. There were pitfalls, for sure, along the way as I tried and sometimes failed to be more patient with other people – and myself.

Relationships are everything in life and in business. I don’t think this is something folks just starting out, really in any career, fully appreciate. It takes time, perspective, and ingenuity to earn trust and deliver a truly meaningful service, product, or experience, but also to foster meaningful engagement with others. Because of this, for me, strategies are rarely perfect. No one and no plan is perfect (although my mom will still tell me I am).

Relationships are everything in life and in business.

The Lesson:

Patience requires discipline and is imperative in any role. Also, when you are calm, others are more likely to be calm, and a solution or plan comes easier.

Relationships require attention, some more than others, and no one should ever be taken for granted. Investing time in people, being genuine, understanding motivation, objectives, and goals – these are some of the key ingredients of building and delivering value.

Perhaps most of all, in my opinion, there is no better way to foster engagement, consensus, and confidence than being positive and passionate.

Follow the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Twitter at @ClearwaterJazz.

Photo courtesy of Steve Weinberger

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