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Times are tough. No one can argue with that. The recession, which many predicted would be over by now, still lingers. The number of bankruptcy filings are rising at an almost unprecedented rate. Businesses from every industry continue to merge, downsize, and right size. Under these conditions, it is difficult enough just to survive, let alone succeed.
Jerry Thompson, founder of Southland Corporation, thought he had the answer for success: give the customers what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. Thompson followed through on this and for every three 7 Eleven stores that opened he closed two of them, because those two stores did not meet and fulfill the rigid requirements of his basic philosophy. But, even this philosophy must not have been enough, since Southland Corporation has now filed for bankruptcy.
"Entrepreneurship may have been responsible for getting a lot of businesses up and running, but it is no guarantee of continued success. It is what happens after we think we've got it made that separates the winners from the losers," said Harvey Mackay, CEO, Mackay Envelope Corporation, who spoke at AFSA's 1991 Convention. Mackay, whose business is based in Minneapolis, is the author of the two best selling business books Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.
Setting High Standards
Six years ago, Mackay was asked to help salvage what appeared to be an almost hopeless situation -- the University of Minnesota football program. Once the greatest football program in the nation -- 16 big 10 championships and six national championships, Minnesota's team was now the worst Division One team in the entire country.
"I was instrumental in hiring Lou Holtz as the new head football coach," said Mackay. Holtz, formerly head coach of the University of Arkansas, was one of the winningest coaches in all of football collegiate history. In the previous 16 seasons, Holtz's teams had gone to 13 bowl games.
Holtz became available and was brought to Minnesota. According to Mackay, after two intensive days …