Anonymous Distributor


It is better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don’t.In his recent blog about effectively bringing about change in a business, Art Petty suggests that respecting the current culture will bring about greater success and employee support versus attacking the culture — an act that Petty believes usually proves fatal.

A new leader hired from outside the organization often discovers the biggest challenge is how to cope with the existing culture. Often, a new leader’s mandate “from those that sign their checks is radical cultural change, and their instinct is to begin ‘wrestling the beast’ from the start. Unfortunately, they cannot change the culture on their own, and in most cases, they cannot do it simply by trading out the leadership (every new leader’s knee-jerk reaction).”

Petty recommends, “If change is in order, you had best learn the culture, find ways to show your genuine respect for the culture, and captivate the minds and hearts of those inside the culture that are interested in creating a new day (i.e. those that see change as positive). You might have to break some eggs along the way, but at least you will have a team (your employees) helping you cook and clean as you go.”

I’ve always called this “buy-in” from employees and managers. You can replace supervisors and leaders with new people forever, but that by itself is not a solution for affecting change in your business. Once you have “buy-in” from your employees — because you’ve done a good job of communicating how changes will be good for them and the success of the business — your job becomes easier and your odds for success increase exponentially.

If you do a poor job of communicating and don’t have “buy-in” from your employees, every change will be fought “tooth and nail” by some team members, efficiency will decline rapidly, costs will go up, and roadblocks will appear in formally effective processes. Trust me — you don’t want to ever let this happen in your business. While you’ll easily remember the lessons you learned while “attending” what my Dad called “the school of hard knocks,” the experience will be very painful.


Here’s a quote I really like about “climbing the ladder of success” from Dawn, a character in the United Kingdom TV show The Office (where the idea for the U.S. version of the show was derived). Dawn said, “It is better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don’t.” Now that’s brilliant, don’t you think?


Reading Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders is always a delight. I’d like to share a few Buffet quotes from his recent February letter.

“Money will always flow toward opportunity, and there is an abundance of that in America. Commentators today often talk of ‘great uncertainty.’ But think back, for example, to December 6, 1941; October 18, 1987; and September 10, 2001. No matter how serene today may be, tomorrow is always uncertain.”
“Preparing for the future is always a good idea because the future is always uncertain. You don’t know what tomorrow will be like. Don’t let that reality fool you. Throughout my lifetime, politicians and pundits have constantly moaned about terrifying problems facing America. Yet our citizens now live an astonishing six times better than when I was born. The prophets of doom have overlooked the all-important factor that is certain: Human potential is far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential — a system that has worked wonders for over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War — remains alive and effective.”
“We are not natively smarter than we were when our country was founded, nor do we work harder. But look around you and you will see a world beyond the dreams of any colonial citizen. Now, as in 1776, 1861, 1932 and 1941, America’s best days lie ahead.”

The previous four sentences deserve to be re-read. Mr. Buffett is talking about you and me and the potential within us to make a difference in the world in which we live. It’s always been up to us.


Contact the Anonymous Distributor at or read his blog at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *