Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What did you learn from your business this year?

It’s the end of another year. Wow. After looking back for a while I can see it looks a lot different that what we thought it was going to look. So many things we planned for did not even happen and a whole bunch of stuff we did not think would happen, happened. Either way we survived. Some might even say we thrived. It was the most successful year we have ever had in business. I cannot point to one thing that Tom, Scott or I did that was the tipping point. It was years of small decision, failures and successes all coming together. Business as in life is not all about the one thing, it is a series of things. Maybe even a mindset or dare I say values, principles and practices.

I just finished the book Onward by Howard Schultz. He is the CEO of Starbuck. He wrote the book about his experiences at Starbuck leading them through the tough recession of 2008 and 2009. Below I copied down his insight about what he learned about himself and his company during these tough times. We all know what works during the good times, almost everything.  But it is during the tough times that our principles, values and practices as business people are tested.  I know I learned much during the last recession and  I will never be the same. Our business was off 70% by the time it was over. We had to look at every part of our business and see how we could improve it or eliminate it. We learned much about ourselves. As Coach Wooden put it “adversity does not develop character, it reveals it”.

Read these words from Onward by Howard Schultz,  page 309, and reflect on how you can use them to build your business and your brand.

Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don’t embrace the status quo.  Find new ways to see. Never expect a silver bullet. Get your hands dirty. Listen with empathy and overcommunicate with transparency. Tell your story, refusing to let other define you. Use authentic experiences to inspire.  Stick to your values, the are your foundation.  Hold people accountable but give them the tools to succeed.  Make the tough choices; it’s how you execute that counts. Be decisive in times of crisis. Be nimble. Find truth in trials and lessons in mistakes. Be responsible for what you see, hear and do. Believe   


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