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  • Writer's pictureDave Griffith


I belong to a forum. We have met regularly for 28 years. It started because we were all members of the Philadelphia chapter of YPO and continues because of the friendship and bonds of shared experiences. We talk about many things, all confidential, but a consistent subject, using golf as a metaphor,  is how you want to play the back nine or, in some cases, the finishing holes.

As many of you know, I stepped away from the day-to-day at Modern when I turned 60. While I remain Chairman, I am grateful daily for our board and our CEO and CFO with whom I worked for over ten years before stepping away. They continue to grow the business. I was called to lead Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia and recently retired when I turned 70. An extraordinary team is doing a remarkable mission, and under our new head coach, Anne Rice Burgess, will continue the work and raise the performance bar.

All of this leads me to reflect on the finishing holes, not just for myself but to look at this time in our lives from a broader perspective.

I honestly wish I knew at 30 what I know now. I would have been a better father, husband, and business leader. As I often teach, scar tissue is usually the best teacher. I would suggest to you who follow Muddy Boots that we have a spectacular opportunity and gift as we prepare to play the back nine.

Share what you know. Mentor a younger person. Be as curious as you can be about technology, the environment, local and national politics, or your other interests. Never stop being a student. Be a volunteer, take what you know and teach it, and be a guide. Become a board member of an organization that does work that matters. Support causes that matter. Look at the significant issues of our time and get in the arena. When you were 30, think about if you had someone you could turn to as a safe guide and confidant. Be that person.

In my last ten years at ECS, I applied the philosophy that the better the talent, the better the impacts, and the better the income. I went after talent, and rather than tell, I focused on coaching. The team delivered. I hope to continue the approach wherever I serve. The point here is to continue to be in the arena, perhaps as a player, but for sure as a coach.

I would suggest that model as we age is a terrific North Star.

We might even go extra holes.

Dave Griffith is the author of The Muddy Boots Blog,, and serves as a senior advisor at the Delaware Valley Family Business Center and on several boards.

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Scar Tissue

I have had a diverse career. Starting with IBM, ROLM, and MCI, then moving to The Modern Group, Ltd., and Episcopal Community Services. These days, I serve on several boards, both for-profit and nonpr


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