An Educational Year

Normally in December, we at Legion are celebrating the shattering of some records and frantically trying to prepare for taxes (i.e., spending as much money as we can so we pay less to Uncle Sam). This time, things were a little different.

In the life of any company, there are what I like to refer to as “growth years” and “educational years.” Growth years are the fun ones – sales are increasing dramatically, people are happily taking home big commission and bonus checks, and management is generally regarded as wonderful, infallible and everyone’s best friend. Educational years, for lack of a better term, suck. Those are the years where, as owners, we have to make a bunch of hard decisions about the long-term success of the company. And those hard decisions often result in less partying and more creating of voodoo dolls of the owners (which probably explains that mysterious pain behind my eye.) Our growth is much, much slower and year-end is less a celebration of what has happened than a celebration of the fact that this year is finally over.

As you might have guessed, 2015 was an educational year. We had higher turnover than we’d like, made a tough decision to shed a huge chunk of business that wasn’t actually making the company money and then, certain sectors of our business didn’t grow the way we projected them to. Add to that the fact that we made significant investments in infrastructure, and we’ve created the perfect storm of “education.” Any one of those things by themselves would have been no big deal – we just decided to do them all at once. Because, overachievement. Let me be clear, Legion is NOT in trouble. We just aren’t breaking necks and cashing checks at the same speed we did last year.

The silver lining is that all of these decisions, painful and educational as they might be, have set us up for an incredible year of growth in 2016. We train our Problem Solvers to continuously fill their pipeline of potential customers, and we’ve done the same at a corporate level this year. We’re signing contracts daily for more business, with larger customers than we’ve ever worked with before.  The only scary thing about next year is how we’re going to keep up with all the demand. (Don’t worry, we’ve got that figured out, too.)

So instead of partying, I encouraged all my employees to take the last three weeks of 2015 to rest, recuperate, carb-load and get themselves ready for a record-breaking, game-changing, super-exciting 2016. Because we’re done learning. Now it’s time to crush it.

by Lacy Starling, President and Fearless Leader