Big Idea of the Month: Lessons From Failure Feed Fulfillment

How does one become successful in security? Often it’s by learning from failure.

If you’ve never met Lou Resweber, it’s understandable. Apart from an industry event you would have to go to Louisiana, look him up in one of his offices and set up a time that’s mutually convenient to go see him. These days Resweber’s schedule is pretty full, but we’ll get to that.

Back in April 2012, I wrote about him, focusing on “the golden rule” — treating everyone you meet as though they were the most important person in the world, and you will receive similar treatment in return. I know a number of people wrote to Resweber about it and went up to meet him at various events.

It’s very rare you would meet Resweber where he didn’t have just a big smile on his face that looked like he would be perfectly cast for a commercial for toothpaste.

But he has struggled through some hard times in this industry, and I thought it might be worthwhile to write about somebody’s failure — there, I’ve said it, failure — and how, when and why a successful person can really bounce back from trying times.

Resweber was president and CEO of Pelican Security Network, based in Baton Rouge, La. He had spent an amazing amount of effort and time to put together a business that reflected the fact that he had purchased over 30 companies during the years that he was president of Pelican, and had become somewhat of an industry icon throughout Louisiana and was starting to be known throughout the rest of the country.

I always thought of Resweber as someone who could sell virtually anything, and of greater importance, could teach others how to sell. He seemed to be a solid operator and his staff liked him. He suffered a devastating blow a few years ago when his partners and majority owners of Pelican decided that they wanted to move on and literally sold the company out from under him.

He called me for advice, I gave him what I could, but really felt bad for him. I thought there was a very good chance I’d never see Resweber in this industry again. But he sure bounced back, and just recently there was a press release that he had taken the helm of a new company.

So when I called Resweber, he was somewhat taken aback when I said, “Look, I know how successful you are, I know about your great attitude and I also know about how important the golden rule is to you. This interview is not about how you treat success, but rather, how you treat the opposite of success.”

I mentioned how many successful people in life have had to deal with failure, often more than once, in order to achieve their goals … yet we rarely teach about how to deal with those failures.

Resweber said his sense of defeat was complete; he was disoriented as to what to do next, wasn’t even sure that he wanted to get out of bed the first few mornings and was not talking to very many people, myself included.

Lou Resweber says he always finds inspiration from his family — wife Michelle and children William, Andrew and Nicole.

When I asked him how he got through it, he said, “Ron, I’m going to send you a picture. It will explain to you and your readers how I managed to get through every adversarial or crisis moment in my life. It can be summed up with the phrase, ‘to me family is everything.’”

And the picture he sent me is what you see on this page, of Resweber on the lawn with his wife, Michelle, sitting next to him, and surrounded by their children, William, Andrew and Nicole.

“Anytime I find I can’t deal with or accept results of my efforts, all I have to do is look at this picture — or one similar to it — and I’m suddenly channeled back into the time in my life when I was most successful and most happy,” he said. “It has always worked for me, it still does, and it always will.”

And it’s pretty clear Resweber understands whatever mistakes he made the first time around, he’s not going to make them the second time.

As mentioned, he’s been extremely busy. Last month he was appointed chairman, president and CEO of Nu-Life Sciences, which in August had joined the security industry fray after entering into a merger agreement to acquire LJR Security Services and Gulf West Security Network — two companies Resweber owned and built up in the aftermath of Pelican.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him for a long time to come in this industry. So if you do run into Resweber, you’ll know what’s behind that big smile on his face.

About the Author

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Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Marketing Group (DMG), a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates Int’l in the 1980s.

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