Today marks the 1st day of my 11th year in business! Wow.
At a tender age of 21, I was crazy enough to leap into 'leadership' and start a manufacturing company. The greatest achievements I believe I can show for these 10 years is the following:
Foundation to better serve customers, shareholders and employees.
The knowledge learned through tough lessons was painful indeed. Losing thousands because I was prideful, or stupid was NOT uncommon. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to learn these lessons without bankruptcy. We worked hard enough to fight through all of our learning curves allowing our company to grow in wisdom. At one time, a dear Friend (an English chap) said to us after we messed up his critical parts, "me don't want a price break, me want me bit's on time and correct! Much good a price break do me when me bits are wrong!" Ouch.
Our foundation is based on valuing people and pursuing excellence together: recovering from mistakes with aggression and humility. We value resolving conflict through honoring authority and taking responsibility. These values are crucial for serving customers and those within the company. An even greater reward has been the feedback from employees telling me, "all these principles work in my marriage and in other relationships". The transferability of what we have fought so hard for is truly a remarkable achievement. Stronger families, improved thinkers and increased responsibility is my 'agenda' with those I serve.
Knowing growth comes through overcoming adversity.
So many times I would feel I have "given everything " and all that surrounds me is pressure and more challenges. By leaning into other people, I slowly developed the advantageous notion that these were opportunities to expand my skills. More importantly, I learned strategies that helped me better relate to employees that assisted them in overcoming their obstacles. This is why I believe socialism is so terrible, because I have seen both owners and employees use the 'harshness of the free market' to increase their skills, better their thinking and strengthen their families. The beauty of relating to others through working to solve conflict undergirds and supports our foundation of growth: to better serve! This is how the 'free market' benefits both the owner and the worker. If you are going through struggles in your place of work or in relationships, be strengthened today. Know that this is an opportunity in disguise for you to learn and grow. Grab friends and loved ones and press through!
Profit is a good thing, not a swear word
Profit represents an opportunity to expand based on past results. Yes, the 'naysayers' will cite exploitation of the poor with evil corporations using profits for selfish purposes. But I say the free market gives choice. Those naysayers have the same 'freedom' to start a business and give all the money away. They are really knocking freedom of choice within a free market. You can choose to be selfish, or you can choose to be generous and give. Today, determine to give. Give your time and knowledge to those around you. The giving of your knowledge and talents often creates an atmosphere of inclusiveness and teamwork that will gel your culture and catapult your company to increased long term profits. I admit, it has been very hard to 'lay down' short term profit to focus on 'sustainable long term profit'. Looking back, I am thrilled that was our direction. We are better positioned now more than ever to serve with excellence and thus expect to see profit as a natural outcome of our results.
I am humbled and grateful that we have survived through two recessions in the Ontario manufacturing industry. I am almost in shock we grew from 4 employees to just under 40 today. I have learned through tears and agony that my success is not defined in the accumulation of 'stuff', awards or titles. Rather success is found in the process of relating to people, working hard to solve conflict and serving with excellence. Who I am as a man of integrity and character is far more valuable then any $$$ or 'stature'. I know my 2 daughters will one day thank me for this perspective. I will continue to try and advance our company. I am inspired to learn about principles that work in my company, home and with friends. I hope this note has encouraged you.