How to win in business according to former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz

By Maxine Cheung

DENVERIngram Micro Inc. held its fall 2009 VTN(VentureTechNetwork) Invitational conference here, featuring amotivational keynote speech from former Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz.

Over 600 VTN members and manufacturer sponsors were inattendance at this year's event, which was themed unite, collaborate andthrive.

John Fago, senior director of channel marketing forIngram Micro, North America, said there are many market opportunities forpartners to take advantage of and in order to do this, they must work together.

To help kick off the event, Holtz came up on stage anddiscussed the importance of teamwork and passion within an organization.One of the key takeawaysfrom Holtz's keynote was that no matter where you go, or who you speakwith, there will always be problems both in and out of a business. Thechallenge is to see past those issues and instead focus on the opportunitiesthat are there, he said.

Holtz offered some key points on how businesses canbetter succeed in the workplace, despite any challenges that may be there.

From a leadership perspective, he said that leaders firstneed to have a vision of where they want the company to go, next, they musthave a plan on how they'll get there. Making sure people know the core valuesof the business is also important, in addition to holding people accountablefor the choices they make. But above all, he says leaders need to make surethey're making a difference within the organization and also outside of it.

He then listed what he calls, a “Five PointPlan,” to help businesses put their best faces forward to their customers.This plan incorporates an individual's attitude, passion to win, focus, theability to adapt to and embrace change and lastly, peer relationships.

Holtz said it's important that people put their best faceforward and have a good attitude, especially while they're in the workplace.

“You have to be upbeat and not look at the negatives(in business),”Holtz said. “Don't let your attitude get in the way.If you have fun doing what you're doing, people will have fun watching. You canchange people's productivity (levels) just by changing their attitudes.”

Having passion and a drive to win is also imperative toany business and team, Holtz suggested. If you have passion, you're morewilling to make sacrifices to better suit the needs of the business, he added.

“Focus on the assets that you have (in the business)and stop focusing on what you don't have,” Holtz said. “We need eachother and to realize that different roles are important within theorganization. This is what will encourage teamwork and will help toimprove the team.”

Businesses also need to make sure that all employeesshare and hold the same core values. This will enable everyone to betterembrace and adapt to change, when and if any opportunities arise, he said. Thiswill also help businesses better meet the needs of their customers and in somecases, stakeholders, too.

Companies should also focus on the “WIN” sideof the business, Holtz says, which stands for, “what's importantnow.” This will help businesses move forward towards the future and towards success.

When it comes to relationships, employees need to makesure they hold meaningful ones with their peers, Holtz explained.

“Work together and lift people up to help make themthe best person and worker that you can,” he added.

Regardless of what sort of business you're in, customersreally care about three things, Holtz said. Customers will want to know if theycan trust you, the partner, and your products, if your business is committed toexcellence and lastly, customers want to know if you really care about them andtheir problems.

Partners can establish trust with their customers bydoing what's right for them and their business, Holtz said.

“Do everything to the best of your ability and showpeople that you care by asking them how you can help,” Holtz said.”At the end of the day, the people that trust you are those that admireand respect you.”

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