Ask a CEO what their most important asset is and they’re apt to say “our people,” “our service” or “our products.” But as important as those things are, they can only contribute to the company’s success if they operate within the framework of something even more important: A defined and shared sense of direction.
Successful organizations have a clear sense of where they are going and stay close to the path that takes them there.
In every company’s journey, the organization will need to take occasional compass readings (even Steve Jobs had a few trusted mentors). But what makes and keeps pioneers ahead is that they know how to objectively weigh the advice they are getting—to decide whether it should be embraced, or whether to do so would blow them completely off course.
How does a company or individual get to this state of self-awareness and confidence? I can't pretend to know the secret formula, but there are some telltale ingredients:
1. Confidence in your abilities and objectives.
Some have it. Some have to earn it.
2. Willingness to take a stand—and taking it.
Today's winning businesses get there by making people want to be part of their tribe. The best way to do this is to be clear about who you are. “White bread” communications designed to appeal to the masses won't get you there.
3. Carefully selected mentors and advisors.
Find people who blazed a path before you and ask them if they will share their wisdom when you need it most. When you find these spiritual, fiscal, operations and marketing sages, honor them and keep them close.
4. Resistance to shopping around ideas.
If you're shopping around your ideas, you didn't make it past #1. If you are clear in your mission, you already know what customers and prospects want from you and use their insights to help you develop new products and services.
When you feel strong in all four areas above, you are ready to set the direction of your company, both strategically and culturally. This unified direction is your brand’s most important asset, and will set the stage for success in communications and marketing. When you need help finding direction, fill out our contact form or call (207) 619-7155.