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What’s Your ‘Foxhole Factor’?

By AICC Staff

April 6, 2016

PortraitA person with a high “foxhole factor” is someone you want on your team. No one knows this better than the men and women who serve in our armed forces. As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But how does this apply to our independent packaging industry? As I have mentioned before, legendary basketball coach John Wooden always said he didn’t care if he had the best players. He preferred to have the players who formed the best team. In the box business, as in basketball, there are numerous important roles that need to be filled. Each one offers a leadership opportunity. Organizations with the most leaders usually win. It takes a focused effort to assemble a winning team, and it takes persistence to maintain one.

Last year, our Chair, Greg Tucker, introduced Holly Green from The Human Factor to our association. Holly has helped Greg’s company, Bay Cities, move from a lifestyle company to a professionally run enterprise. As Greg puts it, “She has helped get rid of the sacred cows of the past and truly and insanely set our sights on winning.” Holly is currently working with 11 AICC member companies, including ours, as well as the association itself. At our AICC Winter Board of Directors Meeting in January, Holly guided your board and AICC staff through three days of intense strategic agility. We got a lot accomplished, but it just kicked off a planning process that will culminate in a shared vision of the future AICC, along with specific strategies to get there.

An important step in Holly’s program is determining values. If you can get this piece right, then you are off to a good start, because values create the soul of an organization. They define behavior. Organizations that are serious about values will hire and fire based on how well one’s behavior fits within these values. Basically, companies want people with high foxhole factors—people who walk the talk; people whose behavior is in lockstep with team values. When leveraged appropriately, values can play a huge role in transforming a culture. (For more information on Holly’s program, see Is Your Company Truly Winning?.)

At the time of this writing, I am looking forward to a great AICC Spring Meeting in Palm Desert, California, in April. We have a couple of excellent keynote speakers. One is Doug Box, whom I recommended to the convention content committee. Doug’s presentation is a case study of his family business that is very compelling. If you are one who mixes family and business, you will not want to miss this. Our closing keynote is basketball legend Bill Walton, who played for the wizard of Westwood himself at UCLA. In between there are excellent breakout workshops on both Thursday and Friday, plus our inaugural CEO Summit and Third Annual Independents’ Cup Golf Tournament. If you can come in early, there are two excellent plant tour options on Tuesday: New-Indy Containerboard Mill and Fruit Growers Supply Company—both a short drive away in Ontario, California. I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s roll!


Mark Williams

President and CEO, Richmond Corrugated Inc.

Chair, AICC