Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written. This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books. After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do. I implemented it! My last 7 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts.
If you care to catch up, here is part 1 and part 2.
My last meeting was the easy meeting. What we were to do with this meeting is write down "What we do?" Simple right? Wrong! I had each of the team members take 5 minutes and write down what they thought the answer to this question was for Mirabella.
After 5 minutes, I asked each team member what they had gotten. The answers were all over the board. Then I read mine.
Then I told them that this is a very straightforward definition. Don't use any adverbs or descriptors. Don't use qualifiers. Just write what we do. I read some examples from other companies like:
A power company: "We generate and deliver electrical and natural gas products and services to people throughout the state."
A credit card company: "We provide payment products and extend credit to consumers."
The team gave me all kinds of grief. Of course your answer is right John, you knew the instructions at the beginning! So, make sure to give good instructions in advance. Though it seems straightforward, it can get a little squishy if you don't make it super practical.
So what did I write?
"We are the developers of a brand of color cosmetics called Mirabella"
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Yes, that is what we do! It is clarifying to come to this simple conclusion. It helps, just like the other exercises, to direct us. It helps us to stay focused on who we are and what we are trying to do!
I have loved this so far. I think it has caused us to speak about the big picture more than we did in the previous 3 years combined.
Our next exercise is the hard one, how will we succeed? This is all about strategy. I made sure everyone got it this time. I copied the pages of the book for everyone to read in advance. No excuses this time!