100 + years
An article in This Old House magazine (July 2015) highlighted 37 businesses that have been in existence for over 100 years. These were American companies that made products for the home.
The key pont of the article was that these 37 companies made quality products that have stood the test of time. While some of the business still used machinery from the past….they also were able to innovate when necessary.
Quality wins every time….and without the quality there is no longevity.
Some of the Companies: Sherwin-Williams, Stanley Hand Tools & Black+Decker, Briggs & Stratton, Toro, Armstrong, Honeywell, Kohler Co and Council Tool (NC)
A Key Value
“But the whole edifice tumbles if one doesn’t deal off a base of integrity.” – Tom Peters
Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Unfortunately USA Living (discount retailer)….did not have Integrity as a key business value (and probably not a personal value either).
Fortunately they are now out of business: http://www.wral.com/discount-retailer-usa-living-out-of-business/14853986/
Integrity may not show up on the financial statements….non-the-less it a vital part of doing business.
Almost every sports team has a mascot as well as there are mascots for branded products. The reason is in opening paragraph in the JS Online article: http://www.jsonline.com/business/from-bucky-badger-to-ronald-mcdonald-milwaukee-maker-of-mascot-costumes-has-you-covered-b99560943z1-322740421.html?ipad=y
“Our collective inclination to invest animals and inanimate objects with human characteristics runs deep, and so does the capacity of people to do stupid things.”
Mascots can personify a brand….they can perform silly antics….and for the most part are entertaining and funny.
Olympus Group (Milwaukee, WI) is a major creator and provider of mascot costumes. While signs and flags are worthy products. Making mascots costumes certainly differentiates Olympus from other like companies.
Famous Route 66 landmark on the road in Californian desert
“But we should realize that our fortunes if we do nothing different will follow the same trajectory as Route 66: up for decades as the only road west, peaking in the 1960s when Interstate sections were opened, starting downward as new expectations of the driving experience settled in, and now abandoned.” – Tom Ehrich
I have worked off and on with some organizations that could easily be called Route 66 (a good analogy). Simply these Rt. 66 folks don’t want to or are incapable of change….and for the most part are becoming irrelevant.
The key question can these groups change to adapt to the Interstate (reality). A few can….yet unfortunately most will eventually be abandoned….like the old Route 66.
Consultants like to fix problems and might like to encourage businesses/organizations to adapt/change. On the other hand, maybe some can’t change and the advice might be: think bigger….think better….think differently – create a new expectation.
Note: We lived a few blocks from Rt. 66 in San Bernardino, CA
Uncle Goose & Google
Google recently used Uncle Goose wood blocks in the introduction of Alphabet as the Google holding company.
Uncle Goose is a small company (~20 employees) located in Kentwood, MI.
Making wood blocks is probably not a complicated business. Some wood working machines….silk screening equipment ought to do the job well. Making a quality product at a reasonable cost creates a solid business.
Although only 20 employees, Lindenwood, Inc. has developed a successful business that is unique and different.
More on Lindenwood, Inc.
Another book on leadership! What more can be written on the subject?
Simon Sinek has always had some good ideas about organizations and leadership. Leaders Eat Last should be no different. The following video:
gives further details on why Leaders Eat Last (in the military it is an unwritten rule….the troops eat first….officers last).
Simon Sinek’s first book: “Start with Why” is an excellent starting point on how businesses/organizations can be better and different.
Sometimes work has to be perfect. That was the case of “pitch books” from an article in Business North Carolina (August 2015). Pitch books are proposals developed by investment bankers filled with detailed narratives and financial data….and had to be perfect before going to prospective buyers, banks and capital providers.
The reason for perfection was that the investment bank cared enough about the proposals and clients to make it perfect….always an “A” effort. Thus the pitch books by the investment bank were an “A” effort and set the gold standard for their work.
The article concluded….”The power of what we learned early at Bowles Hollowell (the investment bank) was in its simplicity. You focused on the products, the market and the client. Forty years after the fact, it’s still a beautiful thing.
Two key points:
- Sometimes a product or service has to be perfect – set the gold standard.
- Simplicity in business is long-term/lasting….and successful.