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Retailer2retailer: Values-based leadership

January 5/12, 2015; Volume 28/Number 14

By Scott Perron

(First of two parts)

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.29.50 PMLike many of you, I am a fierce competitor who hates to lose, a person who is internally driven to accomplish whatever I take on. However, the results do not always match the desire. I’ve looked back on all that has happened over my business career, many times throughout I had to gauge if the work being done was having the most positive impact on employees, customers and vendors.

As I scan my most vivid memories, it’s very apparent which challenges, solutions, defeats and successes rose to the top of my internal hard drive. Some of these days are filled with regret, I’ll admit, while others bring smiles with moments I would love to relive.

Maybe you have heard me speak live on subjects surrounding business performance, such as training personnel, building systems, marketing, merchandising and advertising. Many of you have also invited me into your businesses to work directly with your staff or help build a strategy and bring it to execution. For over a dozen years now I have contributed articles for print both in and out of the industry, documenting the details of the aforementioned subjects. In the 21 years since taking over the family business, my efforts and travels have put me in the position to forge valuable relationships with those who would mentor me. It has been a great quest of mine to determine why some businesses do well and others fail miserably. What truly defines the ability of a business to achieve something great instead of just satisfactory, fair or poor in result?

Recently, I made the decision to leave my employer of six years and move on to a new business venture that will become the next generation in my career of family businesses. My wife and I founded a company called 24-7 Floors in Florida and set out to take all we had learned and execute a new program by our design that was in line with our business values. Summoning thousands of memories stored in the data bank between our ears, we made a list of what we had done very well, patting ourselves on the back, and another documenting what went wrong due to circumstances outside of our control. We realized there were three times as many negative forces listed that explained why we may have fell short of where we thought we could or should be.

In early October we attended Surfaces East in Miami, signing up for multiple classes to help hone our skills and give some new perspective in the initial hours of our new undertaking. While scanning the list of available classes, we came upon the “Values Based Leadership: Life on Purpose” session, presented by Mark Fernandes, chief leadership officer at Luck Companies. I I had never heard of this man or this workshop, and when we arrived we asked the course attendant what the presentation was about. He pointed to a well-dressed man coming down the hall and, without knowing it at the time, he would change our perspective at that time and into the future.

Fernandes began his seminar by asking the attendees to write down the top reasons their businesses were struggling or not performing to expectations. I wrote down my top five: installers, customers price shopping, can’t find good help, big box competition and installers (again). After we finished, he said he was not going to pick on anyone directly, but often tells his audience that everyone readily has the solution, though he warned that some may not agree. He held up a mirror: “There is your only problem—and also the solution.”

You can learn more about Fernandes and Values-Based Leadership at valuesbasedleader.com.