“When I take something on, I take it on”
Meeting with Nurit Zubery, Managing Director of SP Blinds was an inspirational experience.
A short wait in the reception area gave me good insight into what SP Blinds stood for: Professional, Precise, Sustainable and Reliable. This was reflected in how beautifully designed this area was, so uncluttered, crisp, and informative. Their clients are designers, architects, and retailers, and they undertake large commercial projects. Proud displays of recent work, from sun shade blinds on super yachts, to acoustic absorbent blinds in award winning glass buildings lined the walls. They are also CarboNZero certified, and this led to them securing a huge commercial project in the Westpac Charter House, which is a 5 star Green Building.
Nurit greeted me with a warm smile, and we undertook a tour of the premises. The production area was equally impressive. Everything was clean, labelled and organised. A central feature was the “testing” rack, where all blinds were thoroughly checked before being despatched. Quality control was paramount. Nurit told me how there were four production staff when they bought the business ten years ago, and still just four today. Under their management, turnover has more than quadrupled in that time.
Talking with Nurit, I quickly got the feeling that she does not do things that are easy. Her background includes serving in the Israeli Army and she was a lawyer for some time. Now as a business owner, she still thrives on the same passion for challenge and excellence. She joined our Owner Operator Programme just over a year ago, because she knew it wouldn’t be easy. In the last year SP Blinds have established branches in Christchurch and Wellington, developed four new products, implemented a new CRM system and written a 65 page sales manual. On asking how she coped with taking so much on at once, she replied “It all needed to happen, and when I take something on, I take it on. I get unreasonable with myself and find ways to cope and achieve”.
This sheer determination has not been developed as a result of the programme, but the programme has provided Nurit with tools that have helped her prioritise and focus on the big stuff. I had already noticed that one of our Goal Getter books was at the hub of her desk. It turns out this was not placed there for my benefit but is the driving factor in managing her day. She went as far as to say that she had become addicted to her Goal Getter. It helps her focus on one big thing, ensuring she does something towards it every day, and avoid getting distracted by the smaller and easier tasks.
Nurit knows that if she did not have this focus, she would not be able to do the things she values, like leaving work at 2.30 every day to go and get her girls from school. Choosing to do this over hiring a nanny was not an easy decision, in fact she said it was the harder choice to leave her business so she could collect her girls, but knew she would regret not making this decision later on.
Nurit has pushed herself to indulge in a personal interest of hers. She has always liked singing, so she joined a singing class earlier this year, well aware that she really did not need any more things to do in her life. She found the process enormously useful, and of all the tough things Nurit has done in her life, she found this the most difficult. “Nothing got close to the difficulty of singing in public” she said. After declining an invitation to participate in a public performance, one week out from the show, she decided to do a duet with her daughter. The driving force to her last minute change of mind was something Dr Mike Ashby said at a recent workshop, “Get outside yourself – take on a stretch goal”.
At the time of the concert Nurit’s partner was celebrating a milestone birthday, so as a surprise Nurit and her daughter chose to sing his favourite song “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. They performed in front of a crowd of about 100 – no music, and no microphone to hold or hide behind…. Just them, standing on the stage, “naked” as she put it. I have seen the YouTube clip, and I have to say, Nurit’s partner should be a very proud man. It was beautiful.
I asked her what got her through, what niggled in her head every time she thought about backing out. She said “I don’t like giving up, and I keep my word”.
Nurit’s determination would see her succeed in anything (especially if it’s hard), so I asked her why she joined the programme. She simply said “The programme puts pressure on me; it holds me accountable at a higher level”. She has no doubt their business would still be successful without the programme, but to ensure she makes the additional changes and growth, she has needed an external push.
One of Nurit’s big drivers is her Action Group. “It’s really easy to be too busy for the Action Group meetings, but they are not like the workshops where you learn something new, they ensure good habits. They provide perspective and insight, and an opportunity to share useful information”. She was recently looking for a new telco provider and had great feedback from the group on their individual experience, so it saved her hours on research. The group Nurit belongs to is across the other side Auckland and at 7.30am, but she goes because she likes the challenge of getting herself there, and not giving up.
I well overspent my time with Nurit and I am so grateful to her for sharing her story. We all know she had no spare time in her day for me; she knew it would not be easy to give up this time and that’s why she did it.
By Wendy Taylor, Membership Manager