Career Tails

How Our CFO Finds Inspiration to Move Forward

Every year, I try to spend a little time reflecting on the past year, more so as a way to think of what could have been better. But, I must admit, I spend more time thinking after good years than those that were more of a struggle.

I have developed the practice of reviewing a list of quotes from Our Founder, Mr. William H. Danforth. While our Five Talls provide broad guidance, I am regularly energized by the wisdom and pragmatism of the verbatim quotes. A few of them have particularly struck me this time:

  • "Frankly, I'm not satisfied; I'm never satisfied."
  • "Next year is the most important year of your life."
  • "Never mind what's done; next week is the most important week of your life."

When I came upon these quotes, it gave me the urge to get on with the year. Conquering the year is the only path to the one to come, and getting on with next week without dwelling too much on success or opportunities is the only path to the rest of the year.

Larry Bossidy, the former CEO of Honeywell, authored one of my favorite books, "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done." Also, John Wooden, the greatest basketball coach of all time, told his team to "be quick, but don't hurry." All of us should be clear on what the most important tasks are. And if you're not, you should ask your manager.

Frequently, my team at Purina refers to our company as the Machine. We are all the "Machine." We all make the Machine work; and with a healthy dose of dissatisfaction, I believe, is important to making it a high-performing operation. So, let's get on with this most important week of this most important year. Oh yes, and the last quote I just have to add is "Do it now!"

 

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