While in Vermont on vacation I also stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge. I love, love, love, the movie The Sound of Music so being able to stay at the lodge of the family who inspired that story was truly a magical moment. I was inspired by the family, the singing, the stand that they took to leave their country before the Nazis took over and now I truly respect them more. After they left Austria and came to the US, they traveled around as singers. A few years later they settled in Stowe, VT and began eventually to invite guests to their home. From there sprouted a lodge, which is now a family run business. I come from a family who owns hotels so the current Trapp family continues to resonate for me.
The youngest von Trapp (son of Maria and the Captain) is Johannes and is President of the Trapp Family Lodge. I was very impressed to see his leadership skills and business acumen in translating the family name and fame into a well known and well run business. The lodge has hiking trails, cross country skiing trails, mountain biking trails, tennis courts, a farm to food restaurant, and great fitness center, and they produce their own lager. They also lease out villas to families who want to come to the lodge each year. All of these components along with the family legacy draws in visitors from all over the country and the world.
The leadership lesson I saw from the von Trapps was a continuous re-invention of themselves while staying true to their core values. The Captain was in the navy. Once they came to the US they were singers. Then they transformed a lodge into a successful business while still spreading the essence of family, love, integrity, and compassion to those people who stay with them.
As leaders and as organizations we must continually grow and learn and transform in order to stay ahead of the curve. The environment, the situations are always changing, but if we keep a strategic mind, a vision of where we want to go, and a perseverance to continue to move towards your dreams, values, and goals then through hard work a leader will succeed. Just has Johannes Trapp is succeeding and continuing to grow the legacy of the von Trapp family.
While on vacation over the 4th of July week I went to Stowe Vermont. It is a beautiful countryside up there nestled in the mountains and we had a wonderful time exploring nature and some of its wonders! We also were also able to go and visit the Ben and Jerry's headquarters in Waterbury, VT and take a tour there. It was a great story of leadership. Here are a few things which I found so inspiring:
-They found a business which they were passionate about - leaders need to have a vision and a mission of something that they want to bring to the world. Ben and Jerry, as partners, took a class in ice cream making and began to make ice cream in 1978. Now they are a world reknowned brand and a subsidiary of Unilever.
- They give back part of their profits to fund community oriented projects - Ben and Jerry's actively gives back to its community in Vermont through starting a Foundation in 1985 which gives 7.5% of annual pre-tax profits to fund community oriented projects. While the company was growing its profits it also found a way to give money and resources back to the community they were a part of. Leaders find ways to give back to others.
- They are beginning to have a voice by beginning to lobby - in 1992 Ben and Jerry's sent over 70,000 postcards to Congress as they join the Children's Defense Fund to bring children's basic needs to the top of the national agenda. Ben and Jerry used the stature that they had to begin to take even a larger stand in order to truly enhance the national stage.
The Ben and Jerry's story was quite inspirational from a leadership perspective. While I love their ice cream (Triple Caramel Chunk is my favorite!) I am now truly valuing the mission and vision of their organization and how they are living each and every single day! Go out and buy some Ben and Jerry's ice cream!
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.