Everyone loves a good party. It's a time to let your true personality come through, have fun, and be with people you want to spend time with. Basically, a party is the opposite of what most people think of business.
But YPO member Diego Jimenez believes business can be a party, too. Jimenez is the Coordinator General at Freixenet, the world's leading producer of Cava sparkling wine. They also own Gloria Ferrer in California. Freixenet's core philosophy is to celebrate. Running your business in such a manner may seem counterintuitive at first, but it can actually make your business run more efficiently and become more profitable.
On an episode of my podcast YPO 10 Minute Tips from the Top, Jimenez explained why business is better with celebration. Here are Jimenez's tips on making your business more like a party:
1. Greet Opportunity With Open Arms!
When your friends arrive for a party and ring the doorbell, you greet them enthusiastically. And you've prepared for them, putting out food and drinks, and anticipating their need for plates and napkins. Similarly, you should make your business prepared for change, and view it with optimism. To do otherwise is at your peril, Jimenez warns, explaining, "Fashions in wine at the moment are changing rapidly. And if you don't change with the market, you are out. The consumer will change from one fashion brand to another within weeks." Of course, not every party guest is a winner, and not every business idea will succeed. Jimenez shares, "We've developed many products. Some of them work, others don't." The important thing is that the business is ready to explore new avenues safely, and seize opportunity when it arises.
2. Try New Things!
Parties are opportunities to explore things you haven't considered before. For example, you may not think of the wine industry as particularly technological, but actually, "Freixenet has been at the top of disruption in the wine industry," says Jimenez. He goes on, "We were the first ones to invest in temperature-controlled tanks, and we worked with the European Aerospace Agency to study yeast." Interestingly, by investing in new technology, "we've developed amazing consistency in our products," Jimenez explains. Always keep your eye out for news ways to attack problems, even old ones.
3. Widen Your Circle!
Parties are always great places to meet new people. Similarly, while Freixenet is most known for its Cava, it produces a wide range of products. Jimenez says, "You can celebrate with Cava, but you can celebrate with other products too. We've experimented with packaging, grape varietal, and flavor profile." So to satisfy that need, "We've started producing other sparkling wines that are not strictly Cava. They're still great quality, but they're more appealing to the current consumer." Make sure you're reaching your target market, and always keep an eye out for new customers.
4. Show People You Care!
When you invite friends to a party, you're signaling to them that you want to spend time with them, and that you value and care for them. A great way to improve company culture is to show people you care. "Freixenet is a family company," Jimenez explains, "and we care about the people." The value of this kind of connection can't be overstated. "Even when things get tough, we find a way to support people." This dedication demonstrates to employees that you care about them, and in return, you earn their loyalty.
5. Let Your Passion Shine!
Parties are supposed to be fun! Work, of course, can't always be a barrel of laughs, but you can improve culture by improving attitudes. "Emotional connection and passion are important when you're part of a business." And nobody likes a host who's too busy hosting to have fun and enjoy her guests. Jimenez asserts, "You can't be overzealous and forget to delegate." So let your enthusiasm show, and encourage that of your employees. "Employees are valuable when they have determination and self-motivation," Jimenez says. So remember why you started this work, and why you've stayed, and make your enthusiasm and work ethic contagious.
6. Make It a Great Experience!
Ultimately, a party is about what you do and feel while you're there. More than ever before, the wine industry is dependent on the experience of its consumers, especially with social media, changing generations, and shifting tastes. Jimenez takes the long view, asking, "What is Freixenet's business? We've been in business so many years. So why are we still here? We are in business to celebrate!" And celebration is good for business, he explains, saying this mentality "allows us to think outside the 'Cava box.'" Always remember the end user of your product or service, and put yourself in their shoes.
Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.