Greetings. Have you ever "inherited" furniture from relatives? Old furniture. Not classically styled or highly-valued antiques from a time when French royalty were all the rage. Just old furniture from a time and place when practicality, top quality craftsmanship, and a bit of basic style ruled the day. The kind of furniture that is hard to give away because: (a) it has "sentimental" value, and (b) it's made of real wood. As a result, you're compelled to find a place for it as part of an ever-growing collection of old and mismatched real wood furniture longing for a purpose in its new home.
So it was the other day when I asked our oldest daughter Sara to help me move an exceedingly heavy desk upstairs. A desk inherited from my grandmother-in-law's home in Illinois, which we decided to bring 900 miles east in a snowstorm simply because: (a) it has "sentimental" value, and (b) it's made of real wood. Not that we had any particular place to put it. But that's the way life is–at least in our eclectic home. And, as we struggled to navigate the 90 degree bend in the stairway, Sara noticed a sign on the back that identified the model and the manufacturer. It read:
"459 Secretary Desk, Weathered Walnut, Davis Cabinet Company, Nashville, Tennessee."
And underneath it said in the simplest of terms:
"Makers of Good Furniture."
And indeed they were. Because, while I'm not sure exactly how old this desk is, my back and I are very sure that it is still as solid as a rock. With a finish that is almost as smooth and shiny as it must have been the day it left the factory. In an era when people and companies were far less inclined to boast about the amazing quality of their products. Probably because "boasting" was not part of their nature, nor how you sold things back then. And probably because quality was a given in those days, when "good" actually meant "great."
Today things are a bit different, as companies brag about products and services of dubious quality as though they were the greatest things on earth. And most things aren't built to last. Not like my "new" desk with its old message about what really matters–built by the hands and genius of people who cared.
We succeed in business by offering products, services, and solutions that stand the test of time. Offerings whose quality and value speak for themselves. What sign will you put on your work today? And, will it be one worth keeping?