On Monday, I highlighted interesting takeaways from Phil Knight’s excellent book about Nike (Shoe Dog). https://www.jvmlending.com/shoe-dog-must-read-book-by-founder-of-nike-phil-knight-lessons
Here are some additional takeaways from Shoe Dog:
1. Work Was Play. Knight repeatedly pointed out how important it is to turn work into play.
2. Product/Service Must Speak for Itself. Nike is famous for its ads now. But Knight first made sure his product spoke for itself before relying on marketing.
3. Traveled the World. Knight traveled the world before plunging into his work. This is a recurring theme among many success stories.
4. Internal Advice. All of Knight’s advice came from family and company-insiders who knew his business well. He did not rely on outside consultants.
5. Obsessed with Growth. Companies that don’t obsess with growth end up stagnating, and definitely not innovating.
6. Trial and Error Culture. Knight was not afraid to try everything, but he was quick to learn and either expand or abandon projects.
7. Hired Diligent Introverts. He hired diligent, academic and highly accountable people, as opposed to charismatic sales-types.
8. Long Slog. Knight struggled for many years. Starting in 1963, he did not hit pay-dirt until the late 1970s. Cash was always in short supply.
9. Dude Culture. Knight hired only men in senior positions and fostered a very male culture of golf, sports, drinking, name-calling, etc. It clearly worked in the end, but I can’t help but think how it would slow things down in this day and age (when women dominate most service industries and congeniality, clear communication and safe culture are integral to the success of all companies).
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