The cosmetic empire founded by Mary Kay Ash provides 900,000 jobs for independent beauty consultants, with retail sales totaling $3 billion and operations in 33 countries. And all this success was built on Mary Kay Ash’s original $5,000 investment. Before her entrepreneurial journey she worked professionally, and when one day a man was promoted to a position that she deserved, she left the company and founded her own firm based on direct selling. Her unique but smart strategies carried her to great successes, and “More than a Pink Cadillac” investigates the strategies and principles behind the success of Mary Kay Ash.
The first principle is “create and maintain a common bond.” There are companies that create an attitude that goes far beyond just punching the clock and going home at the end of the day. They do that by creating a common bond, which is more than simple trust and integrity. It is a commitment among and between people that is ultimately a key aspect of the relationship between the company and its people.
The second principle is “create the future -- think and act strategically.” A sophisticated approach to strategy focuses on the ends, rather than the means. Companies that set out to win configure their core competencies as means to their ends. Strategy should be the process of maximizing today and tomorrow.
The third principle is “make the people feel important.” When people feel valued and appreciated, they are more productive. The company is more competitive and is in a better position to treat its people well, and so on and so on. It’s a virtuous cycle. Mary Kay Ash used to advise her colleagues that they should think of every person around them -- superior, subordinate, peer, field sales representative, whoever -- as having a sign around her or his neck that said “make me feel important.”
The fourth principle is “Motivate others with recognition and celebration.” The title of the book “More than a Pink Cadillac” was probably chosen in part with the theme of recognition in mind. You can imagine what it means to an ordinary sales representative when they go beyond the bounds of what anybody ever expected of them and step up on the stage to receive their first pink Cadillac. What they are holding in their minds is their accomplishment and the honor of it. The recognition liberates the potential of people. The fifth principle is “never leave your values.” If one company has done well, its success is largely due to its values. Because people decide, act and perform with reference to values. So, if there are no shared values, it means that there is no framework. The values provide a place for initiative. The sixth principle is “innovate or evaporate.” Innovation is a critical component of a new product’s success. Innovation must be driven by carefully articulated goals. For example, innovation must lead to affordable products, offer quick and obvious results to the consumer and really bring something new to the market. Innovation is a key for competition and a result of cooperation between customers, sales force and the company.
The seventh principle is “fostering balance.” In Mary Kay Inc, they strike a balance between God, family and career. Simply put, Mary Kay’s business philosophy was the golden rule and a clear set of priorities: God first, family second, and career third. Mary Kay’s message was that we must stop from time to time. We must find time to restore our faith, love our family and care for others. The eighth principle is “having a higher purpose.” In other words, there must be a core idea -- a view of the world that moves us to behave the way we do. A higher purpose is a reference point which is not available in business. The last principle is “we’ve got to be great.” In order to achieve great things, we have to aim high and feel great. Citing many examples from Mary Kay Inc, “More than a Pink Cadillac” is a book to help you find some inspiration.