The average business in America survives only 15 years, with only a fraction of a fraction making it to 100 years. One reason BWBR is still here after 100 years is it has practiced an “infinite mindset,” as defined by Simon Sinek’s 2019 book The Infinite Game. Sinek contrasts finite thinking with infinite thinking, where the goal of a finite game, like a sporting event, is to win while the goal in an infinite game, such as business, is to stay in the game. So, while 100 years is an important milestone, worthy of celebration, BWBR considers this just another point along the continuing journey that began a century ago.
From the company’s origins in the 1920s, through uncertainty and challenge of the Great Depression and World War II, through the extraordinary societal change of the 1960s-1980s, and into the technological revolution of the 1990s and 2000s that opened the doors to the modern era, BWBR has seen it all and come out stronger. By learning from hard times, being willing to grow and adapt, and holding on to what works while leaving behind what doesn’t, the firm has evolved into what it is today.
Many organizations don’t survive beyond the founders. Yet BWBR has established a culture of developing future leaders who carry on the values and practices of their predecessors while continually looking for ways to make the firm a better place to work that offers better results for clients. Now in 2022, a quarter-century since the last of the founders retired, the firm is still as strong as ever. BWBR isn’t about any one person or group of people, it is about purpose, mission, core values, and staying in the game.