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SIMPLE brand #49: Len Herstein - Be Vigilant: Stop Complacency and Safeguard Success




In this week’s episode of the SIMPLE brand With Matt Lyles podcast I talk with Len Herstein, author of Be Vigilant: Strategies to Stop Complacency, Improve Performance, and Safeguard Success.


 Warren Buffet had a quote that I always equated to finance, but it absolutely fits here:

It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked. 


What he meant was - things may look great and rosy up to a certain point, but if a company is leveraged too much expecting the continued waves to come, but instead the tide goes out, everything will be exposed. And it’s not pretty.


Over the past couple of decades, too many businesses have continued to operate the same way for decades because "that’s how we’ve always done things."


How you wield and hold power of the strategic decisions for your company - how you hold and wield power over your teams will have implications for years to come.


Here’s a specific case today. Right now, we’re hearing that the trucking industry has a problem with a shortage of truck drivers. Now the narrative has been that the COVID pandemic created this problem, that all of the sudden people are buying more online with more being shipped and delivered by trucks. And - magically - all of the sudden there’s now a shortage of truck drivers. 


I hate to break the news to you - but the COVID pandemic did not fully cause this. What caused it was the trucking industry remaining complacent for decades and not planning for this. This industry had access to all of the research that showed how ecommerce and ecommerce shipping was expected to exponentially increase. And they planned for the technology behind their delivery systems but did almost nothing to plan for the labor needed to support this growth. 


They managed  - and paid - and treated - their drivers the same because “that’s how we’ve always done it and it’s always worked this way."


That’s the problem about complacency and managing by “ that’s how we’ve always  done it.” Sure, it’s always worked that way......until it doesn’t. If that’s the way you’re operating, don't be surprised if one day your company ends up like Blockbuster Video, like Kodak, like Circuit City, like Sears.


While there are so many thought leaders and authors who are providing some fantastic lessons on how to become successful, no one is talking nearly enough about how ensure you remain successful once you do make it.


And that’s why I’m happy to talk with Len Herstein this week.  Len’s had a long history developing, growing and managing some pretty well-known brands: Campbell’s Soup, Coca-Cola, Nabisco. Today, he’s the Founder, CEO & President of ManageCamp Inc., where he provides the strategic vision behind the annual Brand ManageCamp conferences, leads the planning on clients’ custom events, and is the day-to-day contact and project leader for ManageCamp’s brand consulting projects. And this is pretty cool - On the side, he’s a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in Colorado.


And Len is the author of Be Vigilant: Strategies to Stop Complacency, Improve Performance, and Safeguard Success. Your Business and Relationships Depend on It.


So many books and authors teach lessons on how to become successful. But Len’s lessons are a little different. They focus on what to do once you’re already successful. In Be Vigilant, Len teaches us how so many successful companies - and even successful leaders - can fail big time when they get complacent. And he teaches us how to best guard against complacency so we can remain successful. What’s really cool here is that - in his book - Len uses cautionary tales from both businesses that have fallen but also from some of the crime and police lessons he’s learned in his time as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy.







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