Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Built to Last

Waking up this morning, in Vancouver, working but in a change-of-scenery-environment, I got to thinking. I'm here as a guest of Kris and Meyrick as the prepare for their Innovative Fitness Port Moody Grand Opening party. We all draw our roots to IF West Van in 2004 (2003 for Kris), which means we have seen a lot change in 6 years and seen a lot of "up & comers" come and then just as promptly go.

The fact is, nothing stands the test of time like a well thought out business plan based on core values and executed by visionaries full of passion. What Matt Young and Jeff Sharpe started in 1995, and what Vince Danielsen has started in Calgary - are examples of companies Built to Last. Jim Collins (Good to Great) has authored a book titled just this, which highlights themes seen in companies that have survived chaotic business environments (things like the great depression).

What stands out to me, as an example I hope "up & comers" who want instant gratification will note, is that none of the following qualities were highlighted by Collins as attributes that helped companies weather the proverbial storm;

- popularity
- being 'friends' with your customers (different than being friendly or giving great service)
- ego
- being married to your own ideas

Ironically, no matter how popular someone coming in with flash and pizazz may have been; selfless leaders who worked tirelessly and thanklessly behind the scenes and were chastised when their vision didn't include the popular but selfish teammates- these are the people everyone now wants to be (except many don't want to do the work to get there).

For anyone who is wondering how to fast track the money, respect, and results - here's how;
- Vince has been at it 12 years
- after 14 years in the game Matt was the first on the scene when the plumbing exploded in west van at 2am
- Meyrick (who has a wife and 3 kids) is now down to 12 hours a day to help acheive balance
- Kris drove me home and is letting me stay at his place after 14 hours of work yesterday
- Curtis, IF General Manager and White Rock owner, would come in every Sunday when White Rock started to clean the place, and did exactly what Kris and Meyrick are doing 4 years ago
- Jeff Sharpe works more hours than God behind the scenes
- and NONE of these people have shown me any ego after all they've done to earn it.

hard, tireless work, sacrifice and commitment. That's the secret. That builds businesses and relationships that are built to last.

Congrats Kris and Meyrick on the Grand Opening, and congratulations IF on the 4th flagship location (7th total!)

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