Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bob Young

I had the opportunity to hear Bob Young speak this morning. Bob is the former CEO of Red Hat and the current CEO of LuLu. He did a great job of mixing in his successful business experiences with a sense of humility and humor.

Bob's advice to everyone was simply stated as A - B - C.

Alignment - pick one thing and be good at it. He used the metaphor from the movie City Slickers to elaborate his point. In the movie when Mitch asked Curly what the meaning of life was and Curly said its "one" thing. Curly died before he could tell Mitch what it was but later on Mitch realizes it does not matter what the "one" thing is as long as it is your "one" thing.
Better - Be a little better each day - the compound interest concept. Every day teach yourself a little more about your industry and as time passes you will become competent or intermediate and eventually expert.
Customer - All about the customer - make them successful. If your focus is to make your customer successful they will stick with you. Be careful because the customer is not always right. When they are wrong our job is to help them realize the difference between "Needs vs Wants". Help them achieve their "Needs" and you will have a business partnership for life. If you get caught up in focusing on their "Wants", you fail more than succeed and may eventually be viewed as ineffective.