Lessons Learned: Making Tough Choices
00:08 Gene Gray: I'm Gene Gray. I'm the President of Innovative IDM. Started the company on April 3rd of 2000, and we are a company that sells services and products. We're about 56% products and about the balance of that being services. But we help factories that have large automated processes. A lot of... Or we help companies that build the machinery that goes in to those plants with the different things that spin, move, go back and forth or the control systems. So, we have roughly about 90 employees today. We entered last year, about August last year we had 30.
What has been a tough decision you have made at Innovative IDM?
00:51 Gray: We had a big meeting in March of 2009. It was what I thought would be one of the toughest... It was one my toughest meetings I've ever held with the company. We had to figure out how we're gonna make ends meet on such a dramatic loss in revenue. And so I looked through it, and then I see we really had and always have operated real lean, and so, how am I gonna make this work? Where are we gonna come from this revenue or the profits.
01:22 Gray: And so, I'd made a decision at that point that everybody in the company was gonna participate equally in a pay cut. And so, I brought everybody together in one of our training rooms and I said, "Alright. Here's the way it's gonna happen." I said, "Everybody in here gets 10% pay cut today." I said, "If you need to find another job, if you can't pay your bills, I understand. I'm okay with that. I'll help you. Alrighty. I'll go interview with you." I said, "But, there's nobody here that's not pulling their way. We're just in a bad situation with the economy. And so, by making this one adjustment, we'll be able to get by on what we're selling on a monthly basis today, to make it through the economy."
01:59 Gray: And so, we came out of 2009 only having a 4.5% decline in gross profit from the year prior, and that was a huge success for us. I think there's... I believe that what's helped me be successful was, is a couple of things. One is, I'm not afraid to fail. And if I don't get it right, I'll keep changing until I do.
What is one of the key factors to your success?
02:33 Gray: What's continued to make me successful as a CEO or as a President or as a leader, is balance. If you look forward going home at night and you look forward driving to work in the morning, you're gonna be a lot more successful. And so, if you keep those in balance, things spin a lot easier than if one of them is out, because they impact each other so much. And so, you do have to have balance. It's very, very important.