John Leech illustration used by Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/John_Leech
In the spirit of Christmas, here’s a fun way to make sure your business is engaging for you, for employees and for customers. Pay a visit to the ghosts of business past, present and future.
The Ghost of Business Past
Have you captured your origin story? Do you share it with employees and customers? On his Brand Autopsy blog, John Moore gives some great examples of this from the early days of Whole Foods.
By visiting the Ghost of Business Past, you can inspire folks with the original purpose and drive that was the genesis of your organization. The challenges overcome in the beginning can encourage folks when they face adversity today. Your origin story can also instill a sense of purpose and belonging for employees and customers alike.
The Ghost of Business Present
Sharing your origin story is a good start, but it’s not enough if people don’t understand who you’re serving or why you exist. Is there a clear understanding of your business’ mission, the purpose it is fulfilling TODAY? We need reminders of the unique needs you are serving, so we have a clear picture of the hole that would be left if your business disappeared.
I’ll allude to another Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Maybe your business is like George Bailey. By realizing how some customers and employees would miss your business if it never existed, you can recognize the unique value you bring. Once you’re aware of the value only you bring, you can put more emphasis on that value and let it drive your mission as an organization.
Chick-Fil-A’s corporate purpose reinforces the decisions employees make on a daily basis, because it instills purpose:
To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
When employees understand why your business exists today, they can be decisive knowing they are in line with the organization’s purpose. It also gives customers the confidence of knowing why they should choose you over your competition.
The Ghost of Business Future
Once you’re clear on how you started and where you are today, you need to paint a picture of tomorrow. Have you cast a vision of your company’s future? I’m not talking about, “We’ll be doing the same thing for twice as many people.” I’m talking about a compelling vision that will show what has to change in order to move from HERE to THERE.
Your mission will help everyone understand why they do things today, but a vision will help them know what has to change to reach tomorrow. And just like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, you have the opportunity to change that future.
Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
So, if you tend to say “Bah, humbug!” to putting time and effort into capturing your origin story, branding your business or crafting mission and vision statements… maybe you need a visit from these 3 ghosts to transform your business.