Teaching an Old Dog New Social Media Tricks
So I have been struggling for some time now to write this blog, embracing social media is one thing but asking contribute… well that’s another. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s because I read so much about virtually everything I’m interested in, that I’m not sure I could possibly add any more value to what has already been said. I have been reluctant to throw my hat in the ring with yet more stuff, the stuff I’ve learned and experienced over my 35 years in business and consulting… ok 37 years, but who’s counting.
So here goes my attempt to provide you with a little background on me and impart some food for thought from my experiences…
I spent the first 18 years of my career in the family’s retail business (Toys & Wheels). I learned and did every aspect of every job in the place until eventually taking the reins as CEO. During that time, my brother and me grew the chain from 32 stores producing $10M in sales to 80 stores producing $50M in sales. Our head office was based in Vancouver and we had 2 warehouse and distribution centers, one in BC and one in Ontario. Sourcing product both domestically and internationally was a lot of fun as you can imagine. Managing the businesses 750 full and part time Staff… not so much.
When I started my full time career in the family business, I was at the ripe old age of 22. I went straight from high school to business school to the family business packed with text book knowledge. Pay attention to this next line business graduates there’s a lesson in it, taking business courses does not mean you know more than the guy doing the job that’s twice your age. Once I joined the business I learned quickly that that kind of arrogance and ignorance gets you nowhere. While schooling helps tremendously it doesn’t hold water to experiential learning from others. I had more than a few humbling experiences during my twenties and not the good kind. I got booted under the table and dressed me down by my Dad on more than one occasion. The employees, I’m sure, thought I was a little … never mind, I’m sure you get the picture.
It was after a few of those humbling experiences that I realized I better shut up, listen and learn from those with more experience before opening my book smart yap. From that point on in my career(s) I made it a point to; tap into the knowledge of those around me, read books, watch videos, take courses and attend seminars and business functions. By far though, the interaction with people was where the real learning came from and still does.
Don’t get me wrong, paying attention to industry innovations and how to implement them is equally important. However, it is the ability of an organization to mobilize and structure themselves with the right people to be successful that makes all the difference. I believe strongly that everything is connected to everything else and when there is a crack in any one of the foundational elements of an organization it affects them all. The answers to most business challenges resides within the organization’s people. It’s the ability to draw them out and execute on them in a structured approach that is the biggest challenge and that is where I have had the bulk of my success in my consulting career. For just that reason, with now close to a hundred consulting engagements under my belt, my journey thus far has been a blast.
I guess this makes me a blogger now or is there a specific number of them you have to do before your considered one? I have realized that after reading others and thinking through this one that perhaps I should try and give back a bit by sharing my business and life experiences. My hope is that there will be a nugget or two that you can use to grow and innovate your own business or baring that you get a chuckle from time to time about my escapades in the business world.
Chris is dedicated to helping businesses grow and flourish by unlocking the power and strengths within them. He is a dynamic operations expert with over 35 years of experience in a diverse range of business environments. For more information on Chris check out LinkedIn, Incrementa Website and Twitter.