Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in the Gates family’s garage. A trivial fact? Perhaps so, in light of the subsequent overwhelming history and global impact of the mega-corporation. Yet it is still cited regularly. Not just as a quaint reference to those humble beginnings, but also as a statement. As confirmation of the idea that a direct line can be drawn from those humble origins to today’s reality; that the same values of uncomplicated energy, determination and enthusiasm are still the driving forces behind success. Employees need symbols to give meaning to their work and to convince others of the added value of the company they represent, and these symbols are often found in the company’s DNA. This convincingly conveys an image, which is more important than ever in this day and age: that the company is rooted in truth and has always remained true to itself.
In these fleeting and changing times, people are looking for certainty and reliability. The appreciation of your brand is more than ever linked to your intention. Increasingly, a good brand strategy depends on who you are, rather than what you do. How committed are you? Innovation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility demonstrate your willingness to invest in society. Touching people in their hearts rather than their heads; that makes a strong brand story. This presupposes an identification that goes beyond the mere quality of a product or service. Employees and customers want to be moved emotionally. Not based on a marketing strategy or target group analysis, but on a story that touches them. Make your employees and customers partners in your dream and values, and this emotional power source will spread the fire.
Enthusiasm about and experience of the shared story afford employees the attention and appreciation they deserve. Core values express what your organisation stands for. Your employees can rely on them, your customers can depend on them. Core values are the starting point of a good vision. Values for which you collectively stand form the foundation for future growth. Values in themselves are hollow phrases that everyone can interpret in their own way. Placing values in an authentic story gives them direction and meaning. It is particularly interesting when employees can connect historical and contemporary personal stories with the values of the company.
As a leader, you want to get the best out of your employees. But loyalty, passion and enthusiasm are not for sale. People go the extra mile if they are touched in their hearts; if they have the idea that they are working for the greater good. This makes the development of a connecting vision all the more important. A vision is more than a passage in an annual report. It is also more than an idea in the director’s head. Call it the proverbial dot on the horizon, the view of the future; a vision story works when it leads to a shared dream, including the meaning associated with the dream: something you cherish and would like to achieve. Moving toward the future together – that is the core of the ultimate organisation story.
Record your success stories: share your insights, knowledge and experiences. Leadership is about getting people moving.A good story convinces and moves people, and sets them in motion. If the story rings true in its clarity and feeling, the reader or listener is carried away by the power of the story. This creates real contact. Good storytellers know how to captivate and engage their audience. It was always thus and still is. With storytelling, you ensure that your company history is also taken up and passed on by managers and employees, so that everyone becomes part of the same unstoppable, connecting story.
A good company history provides answers to key questions such as: Who are we? What makes us unique? What is our purpose? It is the foundation of your company story. From shared personal stories emerge a collective story and collective ambition. This creates a close-knit business culture. Mission, vision and objectives complete every company story.