Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back to Basics

This interview with John Shields, the former CEO and chairman of Trader Joe's, makes some great points.

An excerpt:

GBR: Those are tough decisions. The last question really summarizes a lot of the points that you have talked about. That is, if you were to describe four or five of the key management principles that guide your business philosophy, what would those be?

JS: Well, I don't know that I can keep it down to four or five, but I'll try. Let me go back again to start with integrity. You have got to be ethical. I think you have to have a clear vision and communicate that vision to the organization. I believe strongly in listening. I would spend two days a week out visiting the stores, listening to our employees and our customers. I always go back to hiring the best people you can and giving them the education and the tools they need to do the job. I have always encouraged people to be entrepreneurs. And I guess the last thing that I am famous for saying is, "Have fun." I really mean it .I remember that I used to go to all of the pre-store openings and I would talk with the new people for about two hours, and I always ended up saying, "Look, at the end of thirty days, if you are not having fun, please quit." And they would look at me with these big eyes, and I would say, "No, I really mean it. You spend most of your life at your job. If you are not having fun, get out of here." And I really sincerely feel the same way. I am almost 70 years old and I still think you have to have fun doing what you are doing.

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