Friday, December 20, 2019

"Steadfastness" at Sunrise

As we turn toward the Christmas holiday break, with so much to be thankful for and to appreciate in our lives, I want to take a moment today to reflect on a theme/idea that I have been focused on this week... the concept of "Steadfastness."

Steadfastness; noun, the quality of being resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.

In some ways it is such an old fashioned word, not used in everyday conversation often, but one that is really ringing true to me as 2019 comes to a close.  This idea of being "unwavering" in times of challenge, "resolute" in times of uncertainty and "dutifully firm" when others might waver is an important ideal for leaders across the board.

Earlier this week, on my weekly call with my key leaders, I shared this word and concept as a key reminder for my team as we close out 2019 and pivot into 2020.  Just a short six months ago we closed on the purchase of Bolthouse Farms and what a six months it has been!  New teams being formed, a big business being stabilized, massive innovation being developed and launched into the market ( shipping to stores near you in early 2020, ha!!) , operating processes being re-qualified, and the list goes on! There is so much to be proud of and so much to do... six months in lets us see our progress and at the same time clarifies the amount of work that still its ahead.  It is that clarity that can seem daunting at times and what has triggered me to think about this concept of "steadfastness," and to encourage my team to be "unwavering on the path ahead.

In our business, being a large fresh produce company who plants and harvests carrots literally 364 days a year, this time of year can be challenging.  The demand is high for carts during the holiday window November through January and the weather can be tough.  This year is no exception, with a rainy streak happening in our key growing regions that makes the harvesting process challenging.  Our Ag team is doing heroic work, and we are serving our customers very well right now but every weather forecast update is a bit nerve racking, making it hard to stay "steadfast" in the face of forecasted weather events.  It is in this context that I share the photo above, sunrise over the Tehachapi pass in California.

I took this picture Wednesday morning from the parking lot at Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield , looking east into the mountains.  As you can see , the sunrise was incredible that morning and while certainly pretty, it actually filled me with a sense of calm and confidence on the challenges that are ahead.  That sunrise reminded me ( physically and metaphorically) that beautiful dawns do come after dark and rainy nights, that the light of a new day brings possibilities and creative ideas, and that the light of that sky could help inspire me to be "unwavering" and "steadfast" as we find our way through whatever challenges that lie ahead!  I hope you can find a "sunrise" in your world over the next few weeks so that your path can be "steadfast" and "unwavering" in the face of whatever challenges that lie ahead!

postscript, "Steadfastness" for the holidays: I just wanted to add that I am encouraging my team, and I hope you do the same, to have a great and restive holiday with with families and friends as much as possible.  This is an important restorative time to be with your loved ones, to "recharge" physically and emotionally and to rebuild your personal "steadfastness batteries" so you can be fresh and ready for the the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in 2020!!