Taking the High Road and Building Healthy Business 

A special blog, written by COE’s very own, Mary Ann Lucas

Obviously, abundance can mean so many things. While it could mean an abundance of money/sales/volume, etc, it also means effort, growth, teamwork, friendship and self-worth. If we surround ourselves with people who improve how we think, learn, achieve success, then we cannot help but get better. An abundance mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in day-to-day learning and the cracks in our day where light shines through and we find solutions that elevate our work and our clients’ businesses. An abundance mindset also means remaining positive and always thinking bigger and outside the box.

My Haworth partner, Cathy Watkins, constantly shows up! Whatever event I concoct, meeting I plan or campaign I want to pursue, she is always with me through to the end. I have amazing colleagues that also come to bat with me. They dig in, participate and understand that efforts up front are what get us to the successful ending.

Furniture is a highly competitive market compared to the industry I spent 22 years in. It’s wholly who you know and how tight your network is. I truly believe if you cannot be successful on your own merit and relationships, then you might as well get out of business. Unethical behavior happens all the time, but we cannot worry about that or let it bring us down. We cannot worry about what our competition might do. My father worked in management at Eli Lilly and as a young professional, he used to tell me to not worry about what my colleagues were doing. He told me to always worry about myself, to always do my very best and to always do the right thing. It took me some time to figure it all out, but he was right. 

As long as we serve our clients well, continue on paths of open communication and treat everyone with a healthy dose of respect, then we are setting ourselves up for success. Our vendor relationships are vital to our success as well. Honest dialogue and communication are critical no matter what side of the sale.

Our business relationships are so important and so we ask ourselves a lot of questions like these.

  • How well do we know this client? 
  • Can we count on them to give us clear direction and can they trust us to perform to their expectations? 
  • What is their company culture…do they want to change it or improve? 
  • What do they really need versus what they think they need? 
  • Can we communicate effectively with this client? 
  • Is our foundation good enough? 

My position at COE is all about relationships. Not fake ones made just for opportunities, but real, lasting, caring relationships. While not all will end up as friendships, I want my clients to know that I care about them. I care about the person, their job, their life, are they meeting their personal goals? It’s not necessary to go deep right away, but having the gift of conversation is not something I take lightly. I only hope that my words are always seen as helpful and honest. Some of my clients I have known for over 30 years and they truly make me a better person by investing in an authentic relationship with me. I am grateful for the journey and will continue to inspire others to build meaningful relationships and keep focus on the healthiest activities.