What You Do and Why You Do It
Have you ever been asked what you do for a living? Rhetorical question, yes, but one that is often asked in social gatherings, and even from customers and vendors who may not truly understand what you do. Even though they know you are in the "franchise" business and own your own thing, there is mystery around exactly "what" you do. The answer traditionally leads into the generalities of the "tactical" things, such as "I am an entrepreneur who owns my own part of something." Or maybe you are benign and say something like, "I own this store and manage people." Whatever the answer, the reality is, we rarely answer from the perspective of why we do what we do.
Consider when asked "what do you do," does a sense of pride begin to swell inside. If you don't find this happening, perhaps we should talk about your exit strategy. I suspect, however, that most of us, if we pay close attention, find we come from a place of pride and passion. This is a natural experience for many who go into business for themselves.
I pondered this topic recently because, here at The Rawls Group, we are a quirky group of individuals with a diversity of backgrounds endeavoring to change the perception of succession planning. It is sometimes difficult to explain what we do, because it is different. But we never find it hard to talk about the passion for why we do it. What I landed on, from my own personal experience, is simple. By changing your mindset from talking about the tactical elements of what you do every day to why you do it, you change the dynamics of the conversation. The receiver who asked you the question finds your voice getting a little louder with confidence, and maybe your body language becoming more animated. Before you know it, you have expounded upon why you went into business for yourself, the opportunities you hope to provide individuals, and maybe even the impact you hope to make in the community.
Why we do what we do is at the core of who we are. Our why is the belief we can make a tremendously positive impact in the lives of our employees, customers, communities' families and all the extended people reliant upon the continued success of the business. When we allow ourselves to let that passion show, it becomes infectious. It becomes our unique value proposition to all those who we interact with daily. A personal brand, in a sense, for how we are remembered!
If you are feeling drained by the day to day, take a moment and think about your why. If your culture feels sluggish, communicate your why to your people. And, if you are having a tough time recruiting good talent or getting new customers in the door, infuse your why into all your recruiting and promotional material.
As you are pondering your why, consider the impact of it on the future of your business. Have you put the proper safeguards in place to ensure that passion continues as you grow? Specifically, weave it into your business and succession planning. If you are unsure if it is time to think about your succession planning, think about why you got into business in the first place and determine if that is something you want to protect and grow into the future. Passion is infectious, tap into to it, share with others and it will act as an engine to get you where you want to go.
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