Switching places, two CEOs actually did it

June 01, 2010

Remember a while back when we addressed the value of walking a mile in someone else's shoes to gain fresh perspectives that might help you run your business better? Well, it appears some CEOs have actually done this - as a recent Fortune piece highlights. The participants, Maxine Clark (founder and CEO of publicly held Build-a-Bear) and Kip Tendell (cofounder and CEO of the privately held Container Store).

And yes, just as we anticipated, these retail veterans found they gained a great deal from the experience. Spending time in someone else's realm, dealing with their daily challenges shook things up and while dealing with employee issues, product questions and in-store management issues, they found themselves continually stumbling across ideas and inspiration that they could incorporate into their own operations.

Here's a peek at a few of their takeaways:

Clark, for instance, appreciated how the Container Store acknowledges sales associates for a job well done with Post-It notes left on lockers. Kendell, meanwhile, liked Build-a-Bear's "Strive for Five" technique, which is designed to sell each customer five items. (via

True leaders know that real ideas must come from a variety of experiences, sometimes you need to take on something completely new to move to another level. Innovation comes from so many places, from crazy situations to mundane tasks, maybe even, from spending time working in a different industry.

To me, the above insight is part of the beauty and value that our Indianapolis consulting services team here at mACCOUNTING brings to our clients. We have worked in a variety of industries, been tasked with an array of projects. Outsourcing bookkeeping, we've done that. Providing market research forecasting for a new business plan or endeavor, we've done that too. What about building a technology architecture to streamline a company's work flow and make them more efficient? Been there. With or staff's diverse backgrounds, we've done it all which better equips us to advise and inspire. What can we do for you and your operations?