SpeakerCraft CEO Reflects on Nortek’s Chapter 11

News that Nortek Inc. had filed Chapter 11 to eliminate approximately $1.3 billion in total debt, sent shock waves through the halls of the Georgia World Congress Center during last month’s CEDIA EXPO in Atlanta. According to the parent company of major brands, such as ELAN, Niles, and Speaker-Craft, this “restru
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News that Nortek Inc. had filed Chapter 11 to eliminate approximately $1.3 billion in total debt, sent shock waves through the halls of the Georgia World Congress Center during last month’s CEDIA EXPO in Atlanta. According to the parent company of major brands, such as ELAN, Niles, and Speaker-Craft, this “restructuring and lockup agreement” would provide “considerable financial strength and flexibility to the company’s balance sheet.”


As we wait to see how this move really affects some of Nortek’s major brands and their dealers, RS asked frequent editorial contributor and SpeakerCraft CEO, Jeremy Burkhardt, to reflect on the announcement and CEDIA EXPO, in general, in a way that only he knows how. Here���s what he sent us, via iPhone, from his post EXPO vacation on the island of St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a week after the show:

Last month, CEDIA EXPO offered a great reminder of why we choose to play in this industry as our way to make a living. Members of the press, brilliant engineers, sales and marketing professionals, installers, and entrepreneurs from around the world all converged together in Atlanta and shared the best that we have to offer one another.

While this was going on, I heard many rumors that my company was going out of business, and that I should worry about my future. These are both false statements. The reorganization of our parent company could, in fact, be stressful for me as the CEO of SpeakerCraft. I could freak out and worry about the unknown. I trust, however, that my partners are doing the right things, and I trust myself and what I can accomplish as a willing and able person.

This past week led me to reflect on some funda•mentals for dealing with change, worry, and life in business. Whether your business is booming or reorganizing, I have a few rules that will help you and your team perform better regardless of the situation. I taught a class on these principles last month and reflected upon them multiple times daily during CEDIA EXPO. In fact, they helped me handle all the excitement of the show, manage my stress, and keep moving forward. So, here are my Capitalist Zen Rules:

1. Tackle one thing at a time. Trying to do more is setting yourself up for failure.

2. Slow down and be deliberate in thought. Everything changes, and you are better off being deliberate and initiating change, as opposed to waiting for it.

3. Do everything you choose to do with 100 percent effort.

4. Do less with more. Get input from advisors, make a decision, be flexible, and move forward. You don’t need everyone on your so•cial networking site to tell you what to do.

5. Create repeatable rituals that work for your success. Success doesn’t happen by accident; it happens by being deliberate on a regular basis.

6. Only think about what is necessary now. We harm our minds and bodies by thinking too much about the unknown. Think about what you can do that will create forward progress.

7. Live and think simply. We have a tendency to complicate life by making things more diffi•cult than they should be. Do your work, serve others the best you can, then step back and live in this moment.

Business is a great game that we are lucky to play every day. You are choosing your future every moment by whom you surround yourself with, and by what you learn and do. Do what is necessary, and enjoy the journey.

—Jeremy Burkhardt

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