Recently, we went to a celebratory centennial party for Collette Vacations, a leading hospitality tour company. Getting into that unique and “exclusive” club of a hundred-plus years of history is not for the faint of heart. It takes decades, and generations, to achieve such a lofty position in a tough and competitive market.

How does a company get to the top, age wise, and yet stay focused throughout the process? These companies have all been told over and over that what they are doing is not relevant and they should do things the traditional way. That is the faulty reasoning that keeps companies from reaching the years needed for a centennial birthday party.

There are many pros and cons in this unscientific summary, but these five traits seem to be integral for living to a ripe old corporate age.

Those companies who have inbred QUALITY SERVICE into their DNA. It will be interesting to watch how GM, Ford, IBM and the like will survive and thrive through the upcoming years. When they have been treating their clients with respect, their chances are above average to weather any storm. It will be interesting if United Airlines, which is approaching the magical age, can survive the average ratings lately with their handling of travelers.

It is interesting to see the number of FAMILY COMPANIES that are on the golden list. Nordstrom comes immediately to mind, with their employees known for delivering orders that someone needs right away, to showing a passion in protecting the family name.

TRAINING is an ongoing event for successful companies and companies like (here we go again) Nordstrom lead the way. Tom Nordstrom said it best when asked who trained their employees. He answered, “Their parents.”

To successfully survive, the company needs to have the best QUALITY, deliver the highest VALUE or sell at the lowest PRICE imaginable. QUALITY-VALUE-PRICE.

Those who STAY IN THEIR LANE have the best chances of getting to the century mark. They do not want to be something that they are not.

So, that’s it in a nutshell … and remember the key words LEADERSHIP- LOYALTY TALENT. Thanks for listening and “may the wind be at your back.”

John Stachnik Mary Stachnik

John and Mary

John and Mary Stachnik are the former owners of Mayflower Tours, a tour business they ran from 1979-2018. In 2012, John was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the United States Tour Operators Association. Mary Stachnik raised two children while heading the sales department at Mayflower, which became a major force in the travel industry. Mary was twice named to Travel Agent magazine’s list of the top 100 women in the travel business. John and Mary worked together and successfully survived (married 53 years). They make their home in Florida.