Apr 21, 2021

I don't believe in Luck

I have been involved in a couple of projects at Jenkins lately that have reaffirmed my long held belief that there is no such thing as luck in business. The first project was our snazzy new website and the second one was the drafting of our company onboarding booklet for new recruits. Both of these projects required me to help capture the history of our company. While this sounds relatively straight forward, it is quite a challenge to do succinctly when your business is 138 years old!

While I won't go into the detail here, it did provide cause for pause when trying to understand why the Jenkins brand is still thriving after 138 years when the statistics around business failure make you shiver.

The pattern was clear and is no coincidence - and luck was no where to be seen. Right from the day bright eyed Jane Jenkins started her business in 1883 (only 43 years after the treaty was signed and 10 years before she could vote!) through to our current teams spread over several businesses and countries, it is the people.

Bold decisions (leadership), backed by pragmatic due diligence (middle management) and executed with skill (operations) have seen the evolution of the Jenkins businesses not only survive, but thrive. One of the big moves was back in the 70’s and 80’s when the team decided to focus on self-adhesive label technology that was emerging globally. That’s right folks, cast your mind back to when you needed to lick the back of a stamp! – most labels applied at speed needed water added to activate the glue on the back of them. The general printing and label gluing operations were divested and Jenkins went on to become one of the major players in the label market. Obviously in retrospect it was a no-brainer, but change is not always easy, and bold change even tougher.

When you have the right people in your business from top to bottom, unlocking and grabbing the right opportunities is de-risked significantly. I have always enjoyed the old equation that luck = opportunity + preparedness. If you haven’t got the right people on the bus and the right backbone in your business then you will often be ‘unlucky’ if that is the way you want to look at it.

This model has been applied in our business for well over a century and has never changed. Our move into produce labelling, supporting the automation of post-harvest activities and taking kiwi born tech to the world were not lucky moves. Because we don’t believe in luck, we believe in our people.

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

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