What is our purpose?
What do we value as a company?
What specifically are we going to do?
What are we committing to achieve?
The first of the year is a good time to step back and take stock of our lives. The New Year seems to give us permission to look at the big picture—our families, our relationships, our careers, dare I say—our dreams? We may ask ourselves questions like: “Am I doing what I truly love? Is my career feeding my life?” Maybe there’s just a nagging voice of discontent that pops into your mind while you’re furtively checking email at your daughter’s choir recital, or slumping over your keyboard to finish an email while your friends toast the New Year.
I’d created a business that was a reflection of me without really knowing who I was and what I wanted from my life. I was tired, unhappy, in chaos and felt like my world was coming down around me. The world was in recession and I was caught in the eye of the storm. The business I’d put seven years of hard work and energy into—sacrificing several other parts of my life and relationships—was on the brink of collapse.
I have been a fan of The Who for 38 years. I love their music and their powerful contribution to rock and roll, but above all, I love the strength of their message. To me, the music of The Who is about integrity and being true to yourself.
You need to get out there and be 'social' as the business owner, right? Getting active on Twitter, LinkedIn, to tell your story and be transparent - that's all the rage. And while it might be good advice, there are some crucial nuances that we rarely pause to think about in terms of what's actually in the best interest of your business. Not just how much transparency, but what kind?
"Values" have gone viral, and not necessarily in a good way. The process of discovering and clarifying your values and building your business based on them is a deeply personal one, but the cynical marketers among us have other designs. If they have their way, and they will, saying you have 'strong core values' will mean about as much as saying your product is 'natural'. That's actually good news.
Data is a wonderful thing. From "big data" to talk about the "data driven" life, it's a fascinating time where we're all figuring out what data we really want and need, how much of it, and when. And as a business owner, you've got some powerful, affordable tools at your disposal.
What if Ayn Rand and her controversial worldview is actually a far more reasonable picture of reality than many believe, but for all the wrong reasons? While there’s no shortage of opinions on how her ideas should be applied (or more often, rejected), arguing about whether she was right or wrong wastes a bigger opportunity. There’s a way to honor the real truth in her philosophy, just inside a more holistic and accurate picture of our humanity and how we express ourselves through work and business.