Posts Tagged ‘Tougher Than The Times’

Easy Comes with a Risk

October 8, 2009

EasybuttonWatching a recent Staples commercial, I was again amazed at our culture’s fascination with the “EASY” button.  Commercials promise EASY (no diet, no exercise) weight loss, EASY (dollars while you sleep) money, and EASY health “fixes” in terms of the latest and greatest pills.

In fact, I want to challenge you to LISTEN to these “prescription” commercials with a new purpose.  IGNORE the “EASY” part… the part that promises instant and life-changing results.   Instead, I want you to pay attention to the “warnings”… you know, the part of the commercial in which they begin to speak really quickly.  This is when they “caution” you about the REAL risks of the drug they are pedaling.  “The risks / side effects can include heart attack, irregular menstrual cycles, and, oh yeah… DEATH.”  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

But the truth is that EASY comes with a RISK.  The risk of NO RESISTANCE is a lack of growth.  The RISK of far too easy credit is a national financial crisis.  The RISK of “blanket” tolerance is a lack of standards.  The RISK of not allowing anyone to FAIL is in the creation of an environment in which no one wins, either.  The RISK of “taking it easy” is the INABILITY to get TOUGHER THAN THE TIMES.

I am already writing a sequel to the soon –to-be-released fable:  Run to the Roar:  A Fable of Choice, Courage, and Hope. It will focus on the COURAGE of our CONVICTIONS.  As I write this book, I am reminded that our nation was built by a people that would have ruthlessly questioned (the existence of and need for) an “EASY” button.  Our American ancestors didn’t seek, hope, yearn for, NOR expect to find an “EASY” route.  They expected that life would be tough at times.  Their commitment was to be TOUGHER than the TIMES.

And sometimes… just sometimes… our greatest moments are in the “tough times”… our greatest accomplishments…. our greatest growth… our greatest contributions…

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Run To The Roar Award

December 31, 2008

A Sinking Ship

Many organizations experience highs and lows and transitions that cause considerable uncertainty among members and test the very fiber of what a true leader is made of.  Such transitions are occurring in the business world on a daily basis and whether internal or external they tend to expose the core of an organization and test the true unity of its members. 

In the late 1980s Freedom Automotive of Norfolk, VA, was facing this very sort of transition with little hope of recovery.  With economic woes, poor market location, very little strategic edge, and a leader who was swiftly growing weary of the business itself, Freedom Ford was headed toward what looked like commercial ruin.

The Arrival of a Leader

In 1991 Scott Rigell became the president and owner of Freedom Automotive.  Rigell knew that the only way to turn this company around and make it succeed was to unite his employees behind a common vision rooted in common values.  He would have to focus on exceptional customer service by investing in those who administered it, his own employees. Coming from a state of seemingly unfixable brokenness and failure the company grew into a modern success story of fortitude, vision, values, and unification.  

The Run to the Roar

In the face of the recent economic downturn Scott Rigell is once again demonstrating his courageous leadership by running toward the challenge. I was present last week at an all-company meeting where he re-affirmed his original vision for being a “Different Kind of Dealership.”  

He assured his employees that he would not waver in his commitment to investing in his company by providing innovative marketing.  Their customers would continue to experience the exceptional customer service they have come to expect. Employees would continue to receive world class training.  

He went further to say that he was increasing the company’s amount of contribution in the employees’ 401K plans.  But he didn’t stop there, he informed them that he would be reducing his salary by 66% and if necessary he would take no salary at all to ensure they continued to receive their benefits. Leadership like that takes courage and integrity, and that inspires all of us.

Way to go, Scott. Way to Run to the Roar!!

If you are in the market for a new car or truck be sure to check out Freedom Ford’s inventory.  You won’t be disappointed by their unyielding commitment to their customers.  

Tell us your stories by leaving a comment about how your organization and family are running to the roar during these tough times.

Author: Rolfe Carawan