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People to Thank, Principles to Guide

People to Thank, Principles to Guide

It's Thanksgiving Weekend, and as a country we have a wonderful tradition of saying thank you. I thank the “company I keep” (family, friends, mentors), and I reflect on principles that are a big deal in my business – so they may inspire new ideas in yours.

My three girls… all of them are a logic-defying numero uno, hard working, and beautiful. Does our 6-year-old Julia’s fashion sense not say "Lady Gaga who?" My family in Germany – for preparing me to live a life we love in America. My family in Mexico – thanks for lovingly teaching me the finer points of connecting and living together, and for the endless supply of warm sun, amazing food, and walks in Cocoyoc.

My mentors… some inspire us, others tell us what we don't want to hear... my mentors do both. Three I have known since the 1990's deserve special mention: Gary Friedman at Pottery Barn (now CEO at Restoration Hardware), Kathi Lentzsch, and Don Harmon, thanks for teaching me! A special salute to everyone I worked with at my retail alma mater IKEA. To all my friends and colleagues… THANK YOU.

So what of guiding principles and inspiring new ideas? What are your non-negotiable principles for a successful business? Answering it helps me help others everyday. Try it.

Integrity and Work Ethic are non-negotiable. But what sets you apart from other honest, hardworking people, what are your guiding principles? Here are three I find foundational to (re)ALIGN and how I help clients. This quote (part market clarity, part grass roots leadership, and a dash of alignment) sums it up nicely:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." --- Antoine de Saint Exupery

How do you describe you (company or self)? I am a merchant, a marketer and innovator, (re)ALIGN provides business solutions... that's serviceable for filling out a form, but no one will remember. My foundation in retail, wholesale, building, fixing, billion dollar public and PE-owned companies, can be simply stated: “I am a consumer business innovator - I build and sharpen businesses to compete more effectively.”  Explaining the essence in few words is hard, but powerful. Do what you love, become the best at that, and know how to describe it. It's one way I help clients create and harvest greater demand and profitability from their consumer business.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


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