Scrappy Communication

Many of you know of my loyalty to Adam Bryant’s series, The Corner Office in the Sunday New York Times. I found this article particularly compelling due to Jenny Ming’s, president and CEO of clothing chain Charlotte Russe, authentic and humble answers to Adam Bryant’s questions.

Two key takeaways for me:

No matter how large or small a company may be, she values “the need to be scrappy and innovative, just like a start-up.” Consulting with many large Fortune 50 companies, and frankly bumping into fat and sassy big four consulting firms, I still see complacency, padded expense accounts, and loose, inflated financials all over the place. There is quite a bit of wisdom to thinking like a start up and being scrappy. We, as an economic engine, would be doing the entire global community a favor by becoming prudent stewards of our success and our quest for success.

Secondly, I related to her statement relative to a lesson she learned early in her career about ‘being too nice’ to her employees. The lesson she learned (read the article for the particulars), was “to communicate, set expectations and not be afraid to tell the truth.” Funny how when we do this on the front end, it is so much easier to hold folks accountable on the back end.

Two simple lessons we need to embrace in the good times and the humbling times. Whether we are a large company or a struggling start up with a short runway, the lessons will prove to be the same.