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John Bassett III Speaks at Concord

By Savannah Cooper
On December 5, 2018

Bassett emphasized the importance of working hard, looking out for your employees or coworkers and communicating.
Photo Courtesy of PRLog

John Bassett, renowned business man and author, visited Concord University to inform students about how to make it in the world of business.

Bassett has been in the furniture business for more than 50 years. He started out by working in a furniture factory in his teenage years, and has now worked his way up to chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company. After the furniture industry became more globalized, Bassett worked to keep jobs and production domesticated.

His presentation revolved around the steps he used to keep his business going in times of adversity, which he has outlined in his book “Making It in America.” In the very beginning of his talk, he made it clear that, “We are not against globalization. We just want to play fair.” Playing fair was a leading theme throughout his speech. Everything he stated connected back to being civil while protecting the people around you.

His steps extend far beyond the business world. These steps can apply to the average person trying to make it in any field or industry. He said, “If you don’t think you are successful, you will lose.” By emphasizing a positive mindset, Basset explored how an outcome can be altered by a mental approach. He explained that if America wants to grow in success, we must “change our attitude.”

His next step, leadership, focuses on how to influence the morale of employees. He explained, “You change an attitude with leadership.” While globalization was making people question if they were going to keep their jobs, he encouraged his employees by being firm and letting them know, “We are going to stay right here.”

When the odds were against him in his fight to keep manufacturing local, he also refused to use the word “can’t.” By fighting back and keeping hope through his journey, he was able to spark hope in his company. He believes this is one of the benefits of making it through globalization. He stated, “People start paying attention when you buck against a trend.”

The third step dealt with learning how to deal with change. Unforeseen circumstances will come up in any situation, so adapting to settings is necessary for any business. Bassett advised to “be willing to change and improve repeatedly.”

Fourthly, Bassett explained that staying calm during troubling situations will help you get through anything. He said, “Don’t panic! People will try to intimidate you, but you should not let them.” He introduced the idea of asking, “What can we do that they can’t?”

His final step, teamwork and communication, emphasized the need to take care of the people around you. He pointed out, “You can’t do it on your own,” echoing that life is all about teamwork and collaboration.

He used his final point as an introduction to his lesson about America. After telling a heart-wrenching story about his time in war, he exclaimed, “We owe a debt to this country!” He explained that we are all very lucky to be Americans who have freedom to live as we wish.

After asked if millennials are lazier than older generations, Basset told another story about his experience with a younger employee in a factory. The boy was not moving as fast as he should have been, so Bassett stepped in to show the boy how to do things. In the end, the boy was producing the product at a higher rate than was necessary. His story concluded with, “It’s time that we act like we used to act. Let’s get back to work in this country.”

Bassett presented the tools needed to be an influential and effective business owner. While his speech was geared at the next generation of entrepreneurs, everyone could gain some lessons from his speech. Working hard, looking out for everyone and communicating were Bassett’s key points. Students and other audience members can now go out and apply these tools to their everyday lives to hopefully be as impactful as Bassett

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