We’ve all heard the phrase ‘when the stars are aligned’ and in business that means when your unity of purpose is clear and bright. It’s time to rediscover the joy and power of your original vision.
We all know what it’s like to have a brilliant idea, especially if it results in a successful start-up. Like watching a shooting star blazing across the sky, it’s easy to get swept along with the sparkle and the stardust, assuming that everyone watching is as passionate as you are. But in business, as you’ve probably discovered, you need more than passion and hard work; you need a unified unwavering higher purpose – your own so-called ‘North Star’.
With the ripples of the pandemic still being felt across the globe, it’s becoming obvious that to survive and thrive in 2022 companies need to adapt and transform to bolster their resilience and one of the important steps on that journey is knowing who you are, what you do and what you’re uniquely good at.
How is your company making a difference? Of course, you may feel as if everyone is already doing something important towards your unique picture but perhaps, to gain the needed resilience, it’s time to ask some different questions.
And while many bright ideas are indeed plucked out of the firmament, to cultivate them into successful organisations, we can also take our inspiration from the earth. Like our gardens or window boxes, in our companies we must nurture growth and understand that sometimes we have to take tough decisions and prune deadwood or weed out what (and who) we no longer need. Occasionally even uprooting or replanting is required but, crucially, all the gardeners must be working together towards the same goal – creating a unique, flourishing enterprise.
This unified connection to inspire through the power of shared values and purpose was once eloquently explained to me in a chance meeting on a plane. My neighbouring traveller, an expert in logistics, worked – coincidentally – for a global florist and for an hour we enjoyed a robust discussion about the far-reaching challenges faced by an international conglomerate, from price, profitability and cost to communication and ensuring the quality of a unique brand. He felt that over time, without clarity of understanding of what was truly important about the brand and kept it special, it was easy for the business to lose its connection to purpose… Through an increasing lack of alignment it was losing its competitive advantage.
The words that stayed with me after this exchange were: this alignment builds the resilience you need to grow and stay unique in the future, and as I returned to my role leading the early stage opening of Specsavers in the Netherlands I realised the questions I should be asking were indeed different. How aligned were we as a company and could any misalignment become a block to growth as we rapidly expanded?
So, inspired by my flight companion’s challenge, 900 professionals; partners, store and support staff, were re-onboarded with individual bouquets of flowers, which I asked them to order according to certain criteria. This allowed us to compare the bouquets and analyse a number of factors and whether we could see whether they lived up to their company’s purpose. They did, in so far that they were lovely to receive, but it was obvious as group by group we discussed where unity of the brand was lacking, either in the flowers themselves or other small details that should have made them unique. They were missing that elusive 10% that unites to bring power to purpose. In turn it helped us reevaluate our own values and our individual contributions and the importance of a united picture, with a wow factor of course.
As that champion of sparkle and stardust, Roy E. Disney once said: ‘When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.’ To which I would add: feel the earth beneath your feet and fix your sights firmly on your North Star; by its guiding light, the magic really will happen.
Join Julie for a virtual coffee
If you would like to discuss your North Star and how to bring power to your purpose, feel free to contact me for a virtual coffee. Alternatively, Wyseminds has a training programme to support you to begin this journey – you can find out more here.