A Great Lesson From a Hero

A Great Lesson From a Hero


There are a number of people that I look up to, both that I know personally and those that that I don’t. One of those in the ladder category is Yvon Chouinard, Founder and Owner of Patagonia. He is one of those visionary business owners that walks the walk and even at he age of 78, maintains the same passion today for what he does as when he started his company.

I recently re-read his book “Let My People Go Surfing, The Education Of A Reluctant Businessman” for the fourth of fifth time. His insights into work, life and business are masterful and quite non-traditional – something we hold in high praise here at Rogue Consulting Group. He is customer-centric, amazingly in-tune with what makes and keeps good employees and is all about the longevity of his products and the environment.

I could reference passages from almost every chapter of his book but one that hit me recently was focused on “Borrowing Ideas from Other Disciplines”.  He talks about the Patagonia approach to production quality and how the drive for quality in any organization has to go beyond the products themselves. Yvon states “It extends to how we organize ourselves to get a body of work done, how we beg, borrow, and steal good ideas from other companies and cultures, and how we approach the question of the way things are and how they should be. That begins with an attitude of embracing change rather than resisting it. Not changing without reflection and weighing the relative merits of the new ides, but nonetheless assuming that if we only look hard enough, there may be a better way to do things.” Ultimately, he is saying we should borrow and adapt good ideas from even unlikely sources in search of quality when it comes to processes and products.

In my opinion, this is a business approach that is incredibly valuable. I know that we all have great ideas and vision, but none of us have all the answers. If comes down to a few key leadership skills – Active Listening (keeping your mouth shut and your ears open), and Openly and Willingly Sharing (knowledge, information, and experiences). The end result in mastering these skills, allow you to innovate in a shorter time frame. It also helps you and your companies build successful processes and procedures without having to re-invent the wheel.

Next time you are given a task to do, keep your eyes and ears open to see how successful people are doing something similar. Learn from them, analyze what they do well and apply it to your process.


We at Rogue have many leadership and team building programs to help you and your team to put these ideas into practice. Check out our website www.rogueconsultinggroup.com for more information!

Cheers and have a great week!


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