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EDITOR’S LETTER

The Right Fit

Photo: Sheila Barabad

There was a 15-year period in my life in which I never wore blue jeans. It wasn’t for any principled reason or even because of discomfort. When I was a sophomore in high school, I’d run out of clean jeans before my mother got around to doing laundry that week. We didn’t have a particularly strict dress code at my school, but I knew that pants were definitely required. So I grabbed a pair of khakis I hadn’t put on since receiving them as a gift the previous Christmas, and ran out the door. Later that day, a girl commented on how nice I looked. I didn’t have a crush on this girl—or even the remotest desire to impress her—but my mind immediately equated this compliment to, “Girls like khakis.” Taking this conclusion to a ridiculous extreme (as teenage boys are wont to do), denim of any kind was henceforth banished from my wardrobe in a very specific—if misguided—ploy to someday secure myself a mate. Although it can be difficult to change the way you do things, it’s pretty easy to fall into a rut of repetition. You can pin a lot of things on teenage stupidity, but surely by my late twenties, I should’ve been smart enough to know that donning a pair of blue jeans for a day or two every so often probably wouldn’t sentence me to a life of celibacy. For Jesse Moyer of Levi Strauss & Co. (p. 104), “change” is a big part of his job description. Moyer helped a legendary company that has more than a century’s worth of history modify and adapt to a changing landscape with a new store design that engages a new generation of customers. He tells us he relishes the challenge because “the magic happens outside of my comfort zone.” It’s a good lesson to remember (and one that’s repeated throughout this issue) as executives find themselves in an ever-present struggle to adapt and take advantage of any opportunity that can boost their company’s bottom line. It doesn’t mean every step outside of a comfort zone pays off, but when it does, they must also remember not to let those successful steps become their new comfort zone. In other words, be wary of sticking too diligently to your routine. Otherwise, you’ll be 15 years into said routine when the woman who will become your wife asks, “Why don’t you ever wear blue jeans?”

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OCT | NOV | DEC 2016

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American Builders Quarterly #63