Edsel Day: Business Lessons the CFS Way

On the morning of October 18th, we strolled up to our office and were greeted by a classic Ford Edsel sitting alongside the front door. If you don’t know what the Edsel is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Edsel was supposed to be Ford’s shining star but ended up being a historic flop. Though today Edsels are worth more money than you’d like to spend on just one vehicle, the car has become a beacon for those who see the good in the bad and keep on going. 

A New Tradition: Edsel Day 

Little did we know that our day would continue in Edsel fashion. We arrived at our desks to find new Cars For Sale jerseys with new numbers on them representing what year we started with the company. After making our way downstairs, we gathered in the auditorium to listen to our leader, Sean, speak about starting Carsforsale.com and how often perseverance has prevailed. Though failure is inevitable, Cars For Sale has overcome challenges for over 20 years and created a business that continues to tackle challenges day in and day out. 

With all of that said, Sean decided that each week, from then on, that our employees would pass around an award, the Edsel Award, from colleague to colleague for going above and beyond at work. Our first Edsel Award was given to a long-standing employee who had been with the company through thick and thin over the last decade.  

Build Your Own Edsel 

We weren’t just in for a speech and an award, though. We were ushered out into the lobby to find our nametags for an activity as cross-departmental teams. We managed to find our teams and were given an Edsel model car that needed to be put together in two hours. From painting to gluing, the teams got to work in a tizzy as the clock counted down. It was a blur for two hours, but by the time it was over everyone was ready to present their cars, whether they were complete or not. 

After lunch, the teams met back in the auditorium to pick the winner of our Edsel building competition. There was one that was sure to take first place, but as for the rest, well…let’s just say we’re not professional model car builders. Thankfully, the judges of our competition managed to find two others that were worthy of second and third place. Shortly after, the afternoon of team building was over. We headed back to our desks with a newfound sense of accomplishment (and competitiveness) that thrives here at Cars For Sale. 

Edsel Day will surely go down in Cars For Sale history. 

The obvious point of the Edsel’s story is the defeat of a giant motor company, but what is just as surprising is that the giant did not come apart, or even get seriously hurt in the fall, and neither did the majority of the people who went down with him…failure can have a certain grandeur that success never knows.

– John Brooks, Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

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