Does your company suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome? Many companies believe all the answers must originate from within. In fact, most good business principles have been in existence for a long time. Don’t waste valuable time and money expecting your people to come up with all the right answers. They can actually ignore time-tested advice in the process.

There are plenty of opportunities to be creative in any field, but get the basics down first. People who have had years of experience in your industry know the shortcuts to success and the pitfalls to avoid.

Here are some ways to improve your company culture so you can benefit from the ideas of those who have travelled the same road before you.

1. Acknowledge and commend you people who discover and employ best practices from folks outside your company. Make it fun, such as who can hunt down and utilize the top ideas and suggestions from experienced business people outside your organization.

2. Take advantage of the huge surplus of experience and advice now available in the older generation. These older folks are itching to give you the benefit of their advice. Persuade your staff to get the guidance they need from those who have already been there and learned sometimes-painful lessons.

3. Encourage your people to identify the sources of their insight when it comes from outside your organization. Give them credit for the discovery and utilization of the information, rather than for the source.

4. Change the focus of your staff’s compensation from using information as currency, to compensation based on profit, production, and sales. Right now, your people are behaving according to the way you are paying them. If good ideas always have to come from inside your company, you are not paying them right.

5. Hire the old guy (or gal) with proven success in your industry. By hiring them as consultants or employees, you demonstrate that you value their wisdom, guidance, and counsel. Your people will learn from their experience, and that will give your company a big advantage in the market place.

Certain classic lessons, like personalized attention to clients and business ethics, are second nature to these so-called “gray hairs.” Don’t wait till your people finally “get it”. Give them a head start and tell them it’s OK to seek outside sage advice. You don’t have to pay to reinvent the wheel.

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Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

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 to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. 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 built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact