I would recommend using It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For by Roy M. Spence, Jr., as a resource. If you’re like me, after years of attending annual planning meetings you’re often looking for something new and fresh. Spence and his colleagues have advised some highly regarded companies, like Southwest Airlines, and have come up with a list of great questions you could use during your leadership team’s annual retreat/planning session.
I’ve written several times about a company’s “why” or “purpose,” including in my January 11, 2016, post. The primary subject of It’s Not What You Sell is “purpose,” and Spence organizes his suggested questions into four categories:
- Are purpose principles alive and well in your organization?
- Are you building an organization that makes a difference?
- Are you a leader of great purpose?
- Are you bringing your purpose to life in the marketplace?
Each of these categories provides 10 questions that could be used as part of a team-building, vision-casting session.
In addition, Spence references numerous books and research studies that you may want to obtain as advanced reading material for your team.
Spence and his colleagues assist businesses with marketing services including branding. As I read their client stories, I reflected back upon sitting in company lobbies, reading the plaques on the walls (yes, this was before digital displays). It wasn’t uncommon for companies to incorporate Bible verses into their messages (purpose, vision, principles, etc.). On more than one occasion, when I was sitting in a meeting with the company’s executives, I had a totally different experience than what I had expected based on the values their lobby displays touted.
So, what’s my point? I’m probably playing big brother here, but I believe it would be better to not say certain things if, in fact, they aren’t the standards your business (and all its team members) adheres to. The plaques or video displays on the lobby walls should accurately reflect the company’s culture. Be careful not to overstate it.