Truth. Success can flow from you to your business.

    A New Building

    You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours.” Well, it does. It seems that the busier you are, the more you can do. This was the case with me at this time of my life and for my business too.

    I love being busy and having a distinct purpose to each day. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing one task helps motivate me to take on things that are even harder, more complex, or more challenging. Continue reading…

    Create a memorable experience for your employees.

    Employee Recognition with $50 and 4 Hrs

    In the midst of all this analysis-work with Smartie-Pants, I remember coordinating a grill-out lunch for my employees. I’d planned to grill up a bunch of chicken and burgers, while the employees provided sides. Potluck style. Simple, casual, relaxed, delicious.

    I had been internalizing our company mission – To Turn Emotions Into Memories™ – when I came up with an idea. I wanted to surprise our employees and give them a small reward for their hard work the past few months. I didn’t have a ton of money to spend, and I only had 4 hours before the grill-out began. Continue reading…

    In business, you have to take a deep breath and leap.

    Dr. Bob

    I’ve never really understood the grip that academia has on some people. I’d much prefer to be out in the world doing business, then sitting in a campus classroom, lecturing about business. Why is it so attractive to choose a title like ‘professor’ when you could carry a title of CEO?

    The only answer I’ve been able to surmise that satisfies this question is that some are just made for academia while others are made for real-world business. It is not necessarily a good answer, but it is the best answer I can provide. Continue reading…

    Crap...brutal facts suck.

    Brutal Facts

    We continue Our Story today by moving from brand promises to brutal facts.

    Wife: “Hon, can you grab the ketchup from the refrigerator?”

    Husband: “I don’t see it, are you sure it’s in here?”

    Wife: “Yes, I bought it yesterday. I put it on the top shelf in the door.”

    Husband: “It’s not here.”

    Wife: Reaches past the husband, grabs the ketchup, “It’s right here dear.”

    These scenarios happen all the time; we miss the obvious. But have you ever been in this state of disillusion about your business?

    Continue reading…

    Promises, promises, promises.

    Fancy-Schmancy – Promises, Promises

    If you are just joining our story, don’t miss our earlier posts. Find how we fight like hell every day to do what we do best. Read it here!

    What can you break but not touch?

    What gets broken without being held?

    The answer – a promise.

    As I am sure you know, marketing wizards advise business owners to avoid breaking a brand promise at all costs. A brand promise is like a vow or a pledge from a company to its consumers. For example, if you shop at Walmart, you are promised that you will save money which will make you feel smart, spend more time with your family, and live better.

    If you eat at Applebee’s, you are promised a family-friendly atmosphere, food of exceptional value, and a neighborhood feel.

    When you drink a Coke, you will be refreshed and have fun. Continue reading…

    Fox or hedgehog?

    How to Fight Like Hell

    Before I get started, I’d like to thank you for your encouragement as I continue to share my journey as a business owner. The positivity and enthusiasm I have received from readers is humbling.
    If you missed it, my last post discussed the strategy we used to get the right people in the right seat of the bus. You can read it by clicking here!

    Rodents are not my favorite thing; however, I’ll make an exception for the hedgehog.

    What exactly is a hedgehog? Well, a hedgehog is a small rodent-like creature that has prickly quills similar to a porcupine. It can roll up into a ball and ram a predator. It has this one and only defense mechanism. Collins talks a lot about these clever little creatures in his book Good to Great. He explains how hedgehogs are able to fool a cunning fox!

    I will paraphrase the concept here…

    You see, great companies don't get distracted by the latest trend or fad.

    The fox spends all day scouting and plotting to attack and kill the hedgehog. When he attacks he is met with the same defense over and over as the hedgehog rolls up into a tight ball of sharp quills. The fox sees the defense and retreats. Despite the greater cunning of the fox, the hedgehog always wins the battle. Turns out hedgehogs have a simple, effective line of defense – they keep things very simple by paying attention to what is important and ignoring the rest of the fox’s attempts to distract and attack (pg. 90-92).

    Continue reading…

    The wheels on the bus go round and round.

    Riding On The Bus

    Smartie-Pants was onto something. What he was helping us do encouraged the group and me. And I could feel that excitement as I entered the building the next day.

    I started my day by reading about the next step in our business building process. According to Good to Great, it is vitally important to have the right people in the right spot in your company. Having a person doing a job that he or she isn’t ideally suited for enables the organization to be good but not great. The author talks about how each company is like a bus driving to a destination. It goes on to explain that we must first begin with “who” rather than “what” when it states:

    “The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, “Look I really don’t know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great. (pg. 41)”

    Having the right people on the bus allows the company to easily change direction and move the bus to its proper destination. Also, the right people hold within themselves a sense of motivation that allows leaders to lead rather than manage, further propelling the company toward greatness. Continue reading…

    A company has a life of its own.

    One of the Best Days Ever

    It was an early morning phone call with Smartie-Pants that rocked me out of my funk. I had spent the past few days wondering why I’d hired this hyper-analytical consultant to help me with my business. All I wanted to do was grow bigger, hire more people, and ship more crystal each year – seemed sort of simple to me.

    Why Did It Matter If We Knew Why We Existed?

    Why did it matter if we knew why we exist?

    I mean seriously.

    “Chuck,” he said, “when you know why you exist, people will be able to work for the company – not just for you. The company will take on its own life. It will exist outside of you, and it will be able to grow and thrive. It will be like a tree – its roots are being driven deep into the ground right now as we do this work. Once the roots are secure, the tree will not stop growing upward and will not fall over as it grows taller. Trust me. This is the most important question to answer.”

    I took a deep breath. “Okay,” I said, “let’s move ahead.” Continue reading…

    Plato, Aristotle, and Me?

    Philosophy Isn’t My Thing

    How do you find out who you are when you have no idea what you are all about? How do you find your company personality?

    The self-actualists in the audience will resonate with that question as they constantly strive to find out just all of who they are. But to ‘feet-on-the-ground’ people like me, this question feels more like a tumbleweed floating aimlessly across a wide-open field. It seems to go forward with no real destination in sight, as it chases the clouds.

    Smartie-Pants had helped me realize that my company existed for a purpose greater than making money. But what was it?

    Curious, I was open and ready to learn. Continue reading…

    In the beginning, we were good.

    The Beginning of The Beginning

    In the mid-to-late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Crystal D was always on the brink of extinction. We were in the infancy stage in the life of a business, and we were just making it.

    I remember feeling the heavy weight of responsibility for everything. I did it all – I filled the Coke machine, I prepped glass for production, I etched, I packed, I paid the bills, and I answered the phoneThe Beginning of the Beginning. Of course, I had people in those positions, but in the beginning, I often found myself diving into areas that needed a “boost” in order to keep the production process moving ahead. My fingers literally touched every single part of the business. Every. Single. Day. Continue reading…