Failures Lead to Successes

By Matt Fearon, President, Terex AWP

To have been in business for 50 years means that Genie has achieved its share of success. But along with those successes have also been failures. It’s not in our nature to celebrate failures, but they are an important part of continuous improvement. It’s important that we are to be realistic about failures — we’re not going to do everything right all the time. But it’s okay because failures lead to successes. And successful companies know how to get more things right than wrong.

That’s what I love about Genie, and it’s the culture: We have the attitude that we can get stuff done. Our entire company rallies around the challenge and makes the commitment to find the right solution. We don’t have a lot of, “Why are we doing that? That doesn’t make sense,” or bickering. It’s always, “Okay, we’ve got to do that. Let’s get to work.”

Our company culture is very powerful because everybody is interested in doing what’s the best thing for our customers and the company. For example, when we experience a product failure. Our first instinct isn’t to blame someone else. Instead, we get together and start asking questions: What did we miss? Why did we design that product? Why did we put it out? Failures provide us with the opportunity to learn. Obviously, we don’t want to fail repeatedly so we look for the things that happened that led to the failure, and as a team, we discuss what went wrong, why, how we fix it and how do we prevent it from happening again?”

Genie has raised the bar in the industry; we have a high level of integrity — if we say we’re going to do something, we do it. And if something goes wrong, we don’t dodge the phone calls. We make the hard decision to go after our mistakes and fix them. We may make mistakes, but we take care of them. I value this type of attitude and culture, and it is a company legacy I want to continue for 50 more years.

As I reflect back about where the company has been and think about where it is going, I come up with this: It is important that we cherish the past, but we cannot get stuck in it. As an organization, we need to understand that the past is precious, but every day we move forward we become stronger, better, different. Honor everything that’s happened, but the good stuff we’re doing right now is what people 50 years from now will look back on.

So, how do we want the future to look? Even better than today.

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