People have a tendency to put things on “automatic.” You can drive someplace familiar and not really pay attention or remember how you got there, because you’ve done it so many times. You can greet people and exchange pleasantries, without really “being there” or meaning what you say. You can take established relationships for granted, as if the relationships will continue without putting forth new effort. It’s easy to find examples of how we can put life’s activities on automatic, as if they’ve been created and now don’t need further creating.
When I think of highly creative people, I think of artists. I love it when artists continue to create new ideas and break new ground. That’s hard. It’s not as safe as staying in the vein of what’s been successful for them. But that can risk becoming formulaic.
I think businesses, in particular, have a tendency to become formulaic and operate as though once the creative part is done, they just need to market and sell myriad variations of what’s been created. Business people look for what has worked well and want to repeat it. There’s nothing wrong with that, as they want to maximize the returns from the creative efforts. After all, not everything created is met with the same level of success. So when an idea or product is really well received and enjoys huge popularity, you want to get the best return you can for as long as you can. But unless you’re continuing to encourage and support creativity, and introducing new art, new ideas and new products, the world will eventually move on, and the business will decline.
“I am proud of our team’s dedication, ingenuity and willingness to dig deep to steer the company through this difficult time.”
The world can also change dramatically overnight, as it has recently. Those products and plans that have worked so well for you for so many years suddenly get tossed out the window. You have to get really resourceful immediately, and invent and create your way through the disruption and uncertainty. The days of putting things on automatic are over. You have to fight your way through it, if you hope to survive. We’re in one of those times. And our team has been unbelievably creative and responsive, producing an abundance of new products and solutions to get us through these times.
I am so proud of how quickly and effectively our team has met this challenge head-on, in so many different ways: developing new sales and marketing promotions at near light speed; fast-tracking the development of new products so we can release them sooner; productively coordinating team members working from home; finding ways to get guitars delivered to stores; maintaining good communication with our employees; and retrofitting the facility for safe operation and safe distancing. I am proud of their dedication, ingenuity and willingness to work hard and dig deep to steer the company through this difficult time.
I occasionally hear from other business people that it’s difficult to be away from their business for any length of time, because their business doesn’t run without them. I’m always surprised when I hear that. I guess they haven’t seen a company like Taylor Guitars.