Behind many seemingly outside problems are inside solutions. But with your ire focused on the other guy, you can easily overlook what you can do to mitigate the situation.

“It’s not our fault,” becomes the order of the day with its cousin, “There’s nothing we could have done.”

When we blame others for circumstances that negatively affect our business, we are disempowering ourselves and our people from finding solutions to the problem.

Sure, it was easy to throw our hands up in the air and point our finger at the other guy. But we encouraged our people to take that pointing finger, swing it around until it pointed right back at us, then ask, “What can we do to prevent this from reoccurring?”

We found that somewhere in our own files were written documents that needed to be changed, updated or newly created. Making the problem less likely to reoccur was what we were aiming for. We call this philosophy, “Aim, don’t blame.”

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Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders