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Making a culture of making it happen

Making a culture of making it happen

web-sig_lauren-dixon_While I would love to give young entrepreneurs a single, failproof secret to business success, I can’t do that. But what I can do is tell them this: To succeed in any venture, you have to have an incredible belief in yourself and those around you. Kind of like chutzpah.

Here’s how Mike Schwabl, our president, describes it:

“When I first met Lauren Dixon 31 years ago, it was in response to an ad she put out for someone to produce weekly half-hour TV programs. Though I was basically an unemployed photojournalist from Buffalo, when she asked, ‘Can you do it?’ I answered in a heartbeat: ‘Of course I can,’ though I’d never produced a single video in my life.

But there the Dixon Schwabl MO was born. An attitude that anything is possible and that we will do anything it takes to make it happen for our clients.”

While Mike makes it sound natural and easy, it isn’t always easy to believe in yourself and stay confident 24/7. For example, my confidence—and my leadership skill—was tested in a life-changing way when the roof of our building collapsed during a monumental snowstorm in 2001.

As a result of that fast and freak accident, we lost everything. What heavy materials, snow and ice didn’t smash, water from the sprinkler system ruined—including our computers, network and electronic records, and our agency’s entire body of printed work samples and portfolio pieces. Talk about crisis.

It was devastating. Soul-crushing, really. It took every ounce of grit to stay positive, clear-headed and strong, and to lead our team through the next four months of round-the-clock restoration and rebuilding of not only our space and our records, but also our entire company from the ground up.

But we did it. We made it happen. Even while sitting cross-legged on the floor in winter coats and hats, amidst boxes and wet furniture, managing projects and keeping the work on track and moving for our clients.

At that time, we started repeating Mike’s mantra, our agency motto, as both a chant to keep us motivated and as a celebration of each step forward in the restoration process. We make it happen.

To me, that phrase defines the unstoppable, unflappable, put-your-head-down and grit-your-teeth and never-ever-give-up can-do spirit of a successful business. And so while there is no recipe for success in business, there are ingredients: trial, error and trust. In other words, the ingredients of “We make it happen.”

You have to invest in trying and learning new things to stay relevant. You have to be willing to fail, no matter how painful. And you have to trust the people around you to give it their all and make it happen.

Thirty-one years later, that confident attitude is still at the heart and soul of all we do. It’s a recipe that’s worked pretty well for Dixon Schwabl, and it’s one I’m happy to share so we can help make it happen for you, too.

Lauren Dixon is CEO of Dixon Schwabl Inc., a marketing communications firm, which has been honored as a best place to work.