All of us periodically find ourselves in a funk. Our company might be moving forward, but sometimes it’s as if we’re moving along so quickly that we’re at a standstill. Or perhaps we continue in such a familiar routine that our actions require no thought or imagination at all.
Every business owner and every executive on the team of a large corporation can tell you they often are not satisfied with where the business is, both internally and externally. And they shouldn’t be.
We set goals for ourselves on a personal level, and goals for our company and employees. When those objectives are reached, new ones are set. When a financial goal is met, a bigger ambition is put into place for the next year. But sometimes setting new goals requires us to dig deeper.
Reflecting on company vision
In my research of the successes and failures of companies, I notice the ones that succeed do something similar. They step back and reflect on the organization’s original vision (or improved vision), even if it’s decades old. Then they analyze how they can get back to that core of their company’s foundation. They set up a strategy or plan to attain it, they look to their employees for input, and then they take action. Not only does the company improve in its external growth, but internally the atmosphere is positive: the employees are happier, the executives are inspired.
More importantly, when employees are motivated, they are more productive and encouraging to the entire organization. Consumers notice when employees are happy (and when they’re not) and can tell when a company treats their employees well. A positive employee atmosphere has a direct bearing on the quality of a product or service. And leadership has a direct connection to this attitude displayed in the company.
It’s important to deeply reflect on what our organization is about. When we have a solid core and we lean on that for any decisions we make, we stay focused and can achieve success.
When a company’s vision and values are clearly defined — when employees understand why they do what they do — it gives meaning to their daily tasks. They have something to strive for. And when the organization includes them in the company’s goals toward success, employees feel valued.
Admittedly, sometimes it’s difficult to be motivated. Blame the weather, the headache you’ve been nursing for a week, or the personal stresses in your life. It happens to all of us. And then there’s that rut we occasionally find ourselves grinding in.
And that’s why it’s important for all of us to take that pause for reflection, brainstorming, and renewed enthusiasm. Read something in the company’s history that inspires you. If it’s your own company, look at your values and vision, and think about how and why you came up with those statements. What are the circumstances that thrilled you the most when that vision became real to you?
One word of caution though: when reflecting on your company’s core vision, refrain from the “what” and focus on the “why.” Some companies have the mantra that “customer service and satisfaction” is their utmost priority. Frankly, that should be the case with all companies. However, it’s not a value. Consider why you want customers to be happy. What does that mean for your organization and for the people working for you? How can this be achieved and why are those methods important?
The idea here is to think deeply about why you do what you do or why your company is in business in the first place. What do you represent and why?
Making reflection personal
The reflection is important, not just for our company, but for our mentality. For example, when I realize I’m having an off week (psychologically speaking) with my work, that’s when I review the reasons why I do what I do. It’s true that helping others to be successful in their interactions with one another internally is my focus as a consultant. But the reason I do this is because I love people. I enjoy working with teams to create solutions to communications challenges, but I experience joy when I see others able to communicate with one another well. I experience satisfaction when I witness creative minds working together as a collective to be innovative and reach a common goal. They are happier and productivity increases, especially when the company recognizes their value. I also believe people need to be treated as the resourceful, talented humans that we are. But I digress.
The point is to take time as often as possible to remind yourself what you stand for, how it can help others, and what adjustments you need to make to realize your vision.
This is a continual process, but it can be satisfying when your purpose is clear and your efforts to reach your objectives bring you satisfaction. Each small goal you achieve will bring you closer to your aspiration. You cannot control the outcome, but you have power over your actions and the methods you use.
And your renewed passion is contagious. When you are excited about what you do, your employees — and your customers — will be too.
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