We have heard the philosophy: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!” Our family business in Michigan during difficult times in the Midwest economy had to adapt a better philosophy.
Lead…Learn…or not be in business.
To compete and survive….today….it’s mandatory to learn about new markets, new customers, new technologies…new and different ways to do business. It’s more than being the best. It is being the only ones who do what you do. And the only way to accomplish that is to keep on learning.
Vineyard Vines was started in 1998 by two brothers. The initial product was ties….yes those colorful scarves that men wear around their necks. Since then they have expanded into other clothing that portrays a specific upscale life style. I do have a Vineyard tie….it is very nice and somewhat pricey ($75). While a higher end product….Vineyard Vines does know their customer and executes their business very well. Part of their philosophy: “we have fun and know our customers do to.”
I like to see the authors of the sites I look at. So a photo of me. Consultants often look for things that are wrong. I believe that there are great opportunities regardless of the challenges of business. Our goal is to project a postive view realizing the potential that exists for well led….well executed business.
I read these guys every day. Tom Peters, Oren Harari (usually posts once a week) and Seth Godin. The links are on the right in Blogroll. If you want to be the best at what you do in business than these folks are must reads.
- Tom Peters is one of the best big picture business thinkers and has the background to prove it.
- Oren Harari is excellent at taking business and organization ideas and making them work.
- Seth Godin knows the real world of marketing in a dynamic economy.
Two resources that I have followed for many years:
- Hug Your People – Jack Mitchell. Jack wrote Hug Your Customers and has now followed it with Hug Your People. Without customers, there is no business. Without great people there are no customers. Jack is the CEO of several high-end retail clothing stores in CT. What he writes about applies to any business or organization. I have visited his store and can attest that this is the real and right stuff.
- Leadership Gold – John Maxwell. Anyone that is in business is a leader. John Maxwell is the expert in this area. If we are in business or any organization and cannot lead, than the buiness won’t be around very long. This is stuff that was not taught when I was in the MBA program. In one group that I work with….it’s still missing!
Over the past year…..the TrueNorth seminars have evolved….the latest two focusing on facing the challenges of a changing economy and lessons learned from The Apprentice (see the previous post). Everything I speak about is based on these key issues…..
Find and learn from the best businesses
Develop and seek out the best resources
Refine new ideas based on accumlated experiences
I very seldomed watched The Apprentice, however I got caught up in the celebrity series. While it is entertainment, the final episode featured two completely different leadership styles and personalities. Piers from England and Trace from the US. Both had worthwile charities.
- Piers had an agressive, goal-driven personality.
- Trace a laid-back, do the best-fairly attitude.
The business lesson learned is the real take-away. Each had a clear purpose, with definitive goals and an understanding of the need for a solid team. The winner-Piers.