Perseverance In Business: A Reason For Thankfulness

First-Thanksgiving-at-Plymouth-by-BrownscombieAs Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, many reflect back on the “First Thanksgiving” celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. The stories of those that crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower are filled with tragedy and endurance in the harsh New World.

One thing all survivors had in common was the value of perseverance.

Perseverance = persistent determination to adhere to a plan of direction.

Seeking religious freedom, the Pilgrims had laid out a course to establish a new colony in North America. And in spite of the hardships and setbacks, they did indeed succeed.

The Pilgrims were the original “startup”.

Today, this same spirit of perseverance lives on in many American businesses. Just ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you it’s an integral ingredient to survive and grow.

But what happens once a company becomes really big? Does the need for perseverance disappear?

A few think it’s still important.

Big Persevering Companies

Here’s a look at four companies on the Fortune 500 list that include Perseverance as a core value, and how they define it.

  1. CenturyLink: Perseverance – We will:
    - Carry out our Vision in a manner consistent with our Unifying Principles in spite of obstacles.
    - Be creative and innovative as we face challenges and respond to opportunities.
    - Be flexible and embrace change.
    - Not give up.
  1. Delta Air Lines: PerseveranceTry harder than all our competitors.
  2. Tenneco: PerseveranceResolute and unyielding; the unrelenting pursuit of goals.
  3. Western Digital: PerseveranceWe pursue our work with energy, drive and a need to win.
    - We never give up, especially in the face of resistance or overwhelming odds.
    - We take charge.
    - We push hard.
    - We stand strong.

All of these companies have lived through some challenging – and changing – times.

  • In 1930, CenturyLink started as a small telephone company in Louisiana, with 75 subscribers. After many, many acquisitions – and a few different name changes – CenturyLink has emerged as the third largest telecommunications company in the United States.
  • The Delta Air Lines we know today is the result of many airline mergers over an 80-year period. Not without financial challenges, Delta emerged from bankruptcy in 2007, and merged with Northwest Airlines in 2010 creating one of the world’s largest airlines.
  • Tenneco started in the natural gas industry in 1930, but management later decided to diversify, turning the company into a conglomerate of six unrelated businesses: shipbuilding, packaging, farm and construction equipment, gas transmission, automotive, and chemicals. Eventually, they got out of all businesses except automotive parts, which is what they do today.
  • Western Digital started by selling calculator chips in the early 1970s. But when its biggest customer declared bankruptcy in 1976, Western Digital was forced to file for Chapter 11. Then, with the introduction of some landmark products, Western Digital entered into the data storage industry. Today it is one of the largest manufacturers of computer hard disk drives.

So what does this mean for the 250,000 employees working at these four companies? They’re likely pretty thankful for the value of perseverance as it’s why they have a job today.

 

Do you have a business story of perseverance?

What are you thankful for?

 

Today’s value was selected from the “Determination-Focus” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Values.

 

How Humility Can Help Your Marriage

The power of humility is always under-rated. Yet, it’s a very strong value. Humility = a disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride This value applies to all areas of life and leadership, including marriage. In fact, a humble heart will draw your spouse closer. Love is never…     … arrogant with pride. [1Corinthians…

How Openness Can Lead To Confusion

When a company lists “Openness” as one of their core values, what comes to mind? You likely consider at least one of the following meanings: They’re very accommodating. They’re receptive to feedback from employees and customers. They’re accessible. Why? Because that’s how the value of Openness is defined. Openness = an accommodating attitude or opinion;…

How To Put Sincerity To Work in Your Marriage

This is from a post on EncourageYourSpouse.   To be sincere. Does that sound old-fashioned? How could the value of sincerity be worth something in your marriage? Consider the value of Sincerity: open and genuine; not deceitful; earnestness. Being open with your spouse. Being genuine. Refusing to be deceitful – either in action or inaction….

How to Fill The Workplace With Enthusiasm

Imagine a workforce filled with enthusiasm. What business leader would not be charged up to have employees eager to come to work, ready to apply their energy and talents to tackle meaningful challenges, and filled with passion to make a difference. No, this does not have to remain a dream. There are places where this…

Why Employees Shouldn’t Pick Company Values

I recently read an article suggesting companies should “Crowdsource” their values. On the surface, the concept of engaging employees appears logical. Who better to represent the company culture than existing employees? In addition to obtaining immediate buy-in, it also feels like a great way to involve everyone. But this is NOT a good way to…

No Conditions or Prerequisites: Just Acceptance

This is a post I wrote for Encourage Your Spouse. Be sure to click to read the rest of it. The sun comes up every morning. Babies cry when they’re hungry. It’s just the way God made things. But when it comes to our relationships with our spouse – our willingness to accept things the…

A Look At Whole Foods’ New Ad Campaign: Values Matter

Whole Foods Market has launched its first national advertising campaign. The theme is “Values Matter.” Some suggest Whole Foods’ new ad campaign is designed to shed its “Whole Paycheck” reputation – the idea that prices are so high you need your whole paycheck to shop there. Others see this campaign as a way to bolster…

Encourage Your Spouse – Adding More Value To You

Change is good. This applies to both marriage and those who write about it. Lori and I want to add more value to you. So we’re combining forces. If you didn’t already know, Lori has been writing about marriage for many years now over at Encourage Your Spouse. Now we’ve decided to make it a…

Values Quotes – William Cowper on Variety

Welcome to Values Quotes. I’m Robert Ferguson. Today’s quote is from William Cowper, an English poet and writer of hymns from the 16th century. A well-known quote from Cowper is: “Variety’s the spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor.” You likely know the shortened version: “Variety is the spice of life.” But both…

I write about differentiating values and their impact on leadership, marketing, and marriage - focused on couples in business together. Read more about Robert.