The interview for Marie Claire asked such a variety of questions..the answers might be of interest.
What has one trait helped you most in business?
Knowing what I stand for, my values and those of the people around me…. People can copy what you do but they cannot copy who you are or the relationships you have. Every day I use my values to make choices and decisions – it makes it so much easier to recruit people if you know what they stand for! The stories are rich a diverse that we share our values, we live them, breathe them, and acknowledge people for them. It is what makes us RedBallooners – it is something that we belong to.
What is the one trait that has hindered you most in business?
Being focused and single minded can be a good thing – however not when it comes to the point of being myopic or fixated. It is important to listen to others, evaluate, incorporate and respond. I keep working very hard on listening and questioning making sure I know the right questions to ask of whom. There have been times when I have not listened to the detail and I have suffered the consequences.
What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned and how did you learn it?
I’m sometimes very gullible – I believe what people tell me on face value… I am unbelievably trusting of people. I have such a naive view of the world I think everybody operates based on values…and I have been hurt when I have discovered that they don’t. I remember in the first year of RedBalloon a customer wanted to negotiate a discount – because they were going to spend $1M with us in a 12 month period… I believed them – and offered a deep discount. In reality, that customer spent a total of $99 in a 12 month period the cost of legal fees and my time in negotiation clearly never recovered. They had done this negotiation to actually drive down the price of an existing supplier. I approach big negotiations in a completely different way now.