Past success does not guarantee future success

The theme of this blog post applies to business and just about every other area in your life. Let me give you a few examples. Just because your car drove good yesterday, doesn’t mean it will drive good today; just because you were in health yesterday, doesn’t mean you will be so today; just because your job was going well yesterday, doesn’t mean it will go well today; just because you made a sale yesterday, doesn’t mean you will make another one; just because your family relationships were good yesterday etc. etc. You get the idea. The point is, life takes constant work.

I read a great business piece yesterday on Nordstrom department store and the family that started it. The business was started in 1901 by Elmer Nordstrom in Seattle. It started as a shoe store. Today, four generations later, the company is led by three co-presidents who are the great grandsons of Elmer Nordstrom.

One of the younger Nordstrom’s was being interviewed recently and he said something that really hit home for me. He said, “one hundred fourteen years of business success does not guarantee tomorrow.”

That is pretty profound if you take into consideration that this younger Nordstrom has only known success. He hasn’t seen a failure and to have that mindset is very mature and very spot on for a leader. When I think of this subject, I think of all manner of businesses from car dealers, retailers, airlines, hotels, manufacturers, restaurants, developers, etc., that are no longer even in business. There are of course mitigating circumstances with every situation but a general theme is that the business leader in charge, thought that past success would guarantee future success and therefore they didn’t need to stay with the times and stay relevant.

If a business is going to stay in business, it must evolve, grow, change and keep improving. I look at our business of selling hotels. It really doesn’t matter how many hotels we have sold in the past because if we don’t stay sharp, there is no guarantee we will sell any more. Business seems to be like that.

As I thought about this I realized that it also applies to family, spouses, health, finances, education, and even my car. I came away thinking that it really applies to most areas of all of our lives.

I heard a guy say one time that the person you will be in 5 years will be largely impacted by the books you read and the people you associate with. I’m not sure it is that simple, but it’s a good place to start. KT

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