Why Just Muddle Along When You Can Be Great

by Mike Sleppin

Mike Sleppin's specialty is creating significant positive change in people-intensive industries whose business environment is changing rapidly. For example, since 1989, Mike has worked with firms touching every facet of the construction, transportation and printing industries as well as the other professional groups (Architects, Accountants, Engineers, Commercial Insurance etc) that service those niche markets. As a highly experienced, global business traveler, he helps small to mid-sized organizations understand and plan for their successful expansion into global markets. As a result of Mike's body of work, organizations achieve the goals that are important to them on a regular and consistent basis.

Business leaders of companies I would describe as ORDINARY see themselves as merely money making machines. Would you get a great deal of enjoyment working at a business that sees itself solely as a money making machine?

Rosabeth Kanter, the former author of the Harvard Business Review, believes that the best companies inspire by operating differently. These companies are led by people who champion the idea that great firms believe that their business is an intrinsic part of society. While great companies, of course, need to earn money they do so by embracing the idea that they are intrinsic to the success of employees, communities they are located in, and invest in the future of the nation they work in.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture given by Robert Shapiro, the President Emeritus of Princeton University. His thesis was that of course leaders of government and business should obey the laws of the land, but what they must make sure to do also, is to make this country a better place to live for as many people as possible.

Do you perceive your firm as a social institution which should also serve society? These past few weeks the NFL has been forced to scramble to change its image because if the image doesn't change, profits could tumble if advertisers abandon ship.

You may be saying to yourself, "This is something large companies need to worry about, but most people don't even know we exist." I suggest that you take a closer look. Just a few weeks ago a business in my area had been refusing to offer products its owners did not believe were in line with their religious values. Well, America being a land of many religions plus non-believers in any religion were doing their best to prevent even greater erosion of customers who didn't give a darn about the beliefs of its owners. Years ago I received a call from a customer who did not want to see one of our salesmen because of his religious beliefs. I could have made an issue out of the matter. I didn't. I switched salesmen for his account. I tripled prices over the next year and had one third of the commissions given to the former salesman. I didn't do what I would do if I were in a one man business. I did what I believe was in the interests of the two salesmen and the firm.

It has been determined that transmission of your values motivates your employees and has a positive emotional impact on those employees. If your employees were more motivated would you just be an ordinary company? Meaning making is one of the central tasks which you should embrace! Almost all of us are more engaged if we believe that our firm has a real sense of purpose.

I can confirm that clients of mine whose vision and mission involved more than "let's make money" were the more successful firms I worked with.

People who share values and are willing to make adjustments when necessary are proven to be the most successful. If this is foreign to you, you could benefit by sitting down with us to explore this concept further. With a quarter of the year left this could be a good time to learn more!