Sara Blakely grew her career from selling fax machines to being an entrepreneur running a multi-billion-dollar company. Spanx was created as a solution to a problem she was experiencing. Sara didn’t have experience in fashion. She wasn’t an expert in manufacturing or supply chains, and she had never run her own business. But here she was doing all of it – teaching herself, asking the right people the right questions, experimenting, and learning from the outcomes.
“Don't be intimidated by what you don't know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”* This quote from Sara provides powerful insight into her thought process and the way she has grown her company.
A characteristic of Sara that I appreciated the most is her belief in people’s ability to learn and grow into a role. Let’s look at this from two perspectives: 1) as a founder and 2) as a founder hiring staff.
As a founder, this is a powerful mindset. One that allows you to start before you are ready, to experiment and learn from each outcome. One that allows you to change the way things are done. As a founder hiring staff, it allows you to hire more heavily based on company culture fit and empowers your staff to grow into their role. It leaves room for staff to come up with creative solutions, adapt to changing industry standards or change industry standards and make your organization stand out for doing things differently.
Let’s caution there are some positions where creativity does not belong consider accounting, finance and health and safety. These roles will require specific training and hard skills to complete the job. Creativity will play a role in finding more efficient ways to collect the necessary data or implementing strategies that adhere to standards while increasing value to employees and customers.
“I’m not fearless because I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m courageous.” – Sara Blakely**
Sara’s success doesn’t mean she is a superhuman who never felt intimidated or scared. She felt it and found the courage to make big moves anyway.
**Sara Blakely Facebook