Jerry Creighton Sr on How To Bounce Back Stronger in Business
Jerry Creighton, Sr._Managing Member_The Creighton Group, LLC
Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey as an entrepreneur, focusing particularly on your experiences with setbacks and challenges? How has this shaped your understanding and mastery of resilience in business?
I wrote a book titled The Quest For Durability - The Business Puzzle Method™. It can be purchased from my website: www.jerrycreighton.com. My book covers my extensive experiences in the corporate world, business ownership and more than a decade as the Executive Director of the iconic Enterprise Development Center (renamed VentureLink) at New Jersey Institute of Technology. The EDC was a incubator and expansion development center with more than 90 companies members when I retired from NJIT. The book is focused on dealing with setbacks and challenges with a method to overcome both to be relevant, resilient and durable to have successful lifecycle longevity.
In the world of entrepreneurship, failure is often seen as a stepping stone rather than a dead-end. How do you perceive failure, and can you share an instance where a failure led to an unexpected growth or success in your business?
Failure to me is a learning experience. For instance, Post It Notes were developed as a product development idea, developed from what was initially considered failed adhesive results under development by 3M. They found another use for the lesser adhesive product initially considered not up to spec.
What strategies have you employed to cultivate a culture of resilience within your organization? How have these strategies made your team more adaptable and innovative, especially during trying times?
I initiated an agile working environment, encouraging flexibility, innovation and cross-organization communication and decision-making. This made the organization adaptable when marketplace change occurred...making pivoting timely and the organization able to complete milestones and obtain goals. This was possible due to a practice of perpetual planning and continuous improvement keeping insight, knowledge up to date and prepared.
You've spoken about bouncing back from failure, but I'm curious to know if there is a methodology you follow to analyze what went wrong and how to correct it. Could you describe your process for assessing and learning from mistakes?
My book discusses my methodology (The Business Puzzle Method™) as a realistic solution to divert and / or recover from failures of all types. Market changes, development delays, technology challenges, lack of funding all contribute to potential failures. By practicing Perpetual Planning, Continuous Improvement of core capabilities, combined with on-going marketplace prospecting will keep a business ahead of change and able to address target audience preferences.
Many entrepreneurs fear failure to the point that it paralyzes them. How do you balance taking calculated risks with the fear of failure? What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs who struggle with this?
Fear of failure is a natural occurrence in all entrepreneurs. I recommend determining feasibility of strategies and tactics that are validated, tested and prioritized against other courses of action, to lessen that concern about risk. I am also a fan of building contingency plans in conjunction with having ongoing product / service migration plans to keep business models viable.
Sometimes, resilience requires knowing when to pivot or even walk away from an idea. How do you recognize the difference between a challenge that requires persistence and a situation that necessitates a change in direction?
The customer is the validator of strategies and tactics. They will tell you accordingly by their degree of sales or via brand loyalty. Following a perpetual planning process fed by evaluation of customer engagement and touchpoint information obtained will tell you if performance can be altered through simple rejuvenation actions or if a new business model will be require. It is inevitable, business models have a limited lifecycle. Therefore, I recommend that a business looking to be continually relevant, resilient and durable needs to always have the next generation of products and services under development.
The global economic landscape is always changing, and recent years have seen some extraordinary disruptions. How have you adapted your business to overcome unexpected global challenges? What were the key factors in your successful navigation of these waters?
I recommend periodically reengineering a business to fit the preferences of specific target customers, especially the buying process. In addition, I would add growth strategies to include partnerships and territorial expansion. These would include contingency programs and the addition of new technologies and cost reduction innovations. My key factors in successful navigation of change of any kind is constant real-time education advancing insight, knowledge and foresight. This would also include encouraging an innovative, agile culture.
Resilience in the face of failure is often linked to personal growth as well. How have your business experiences shaped you personally? Can you share a moment where your professional resilience translated into a personal transformation?
The most important experiences that shaped me personally taught me the lesson of the value of operating as a team. The components of a team makes a strong force which gets things done. I believe that much of my success in my business life was due to my ability to function as a team player.
Your insights on resilience have been incredibly enlightening. For our audience who might want to learn more about you, your business, or perhaps even reach out for mentoring or collaboration, where can they find more information or get in touch with you?
Book purchase - www.jerrycreighton.com