Does Your Business Have a Soul?
I recently wrote an article on maintaining integrity in a down economy and I feel that the next logically follow-up is discussing the concept of having a soul in business. Integrity means honest and sincerity and its root is ‘integral,’ which means essential, complete and whole. Honoring soul in business means not only acting openly and honestly, but ensuring that we look carefully at the essence and implications of all that we do. Having a soul in business reflects commitment to corporate responsibility. It’s what moves us in communities to embrace diversity, sustain the environment, give back to our communities and practice sound ethics. Linking these values with your business will contribute to your financial success, create lasting customer relationships and make you a great employer.
The dictionary defines soul as: the complex of human attributes that manifests as consciousness, thought, feeling, and will, somebody’s emotional and moral nature, the deepest and truest nature of a people or a nation, what gives somebody or something a distinctive character.
There was a time when businesses functioned more like extended families. I believe that a company has a soul when the company becomes a family. When you take that view, there is a sense of responsibility on both parts. Individual contributors are valued for their skills; relationships are made, recognized, and considered important. The heart and soul of the business is shared not just by the leaders and key people but by everyone within the concern. The soul of your business is that all people need to be valued! Pursuing a dream of helping others requires leadership development and constantly re-inventing yourself. The people who you bring into your business are not only united as a family, they are united in achieving a vision.
Unfortunately, today’s business has become strictly a numbers game that is founded on calculation instead of connection. The world at large has suffered from commerce that lacks a conscious. It really should be based on authenticity, transparency, respect, and partnership so your customers and business partners can clearly see who you are and what you bring to them so they can trust to do business with you. When you can passionately and purposefully support your clients from your heart and you truly love what you do, you are more likely to put that extra effort into excellence than those who are only in it for the money. The difference between really good and passionately excellent is the soul in your business. You should integrate your deeper purpose and passion within your business so that work becomes joyful, and being in business becomes effortless. When you grow a successful, soul-centered business, you are connecting with the deeper reason for what you are doing, and begin to explore how to express that through all aspects of your business.
Companies must now open a two-way dialog with their customers in order to meet their needs throughout the consumption process. When one surrenders oneself to focus on the creation of mutual value the by product is profound and productive relationships are embedded in trust. Today’s greatest business challenge is to offer a total experience that delight your customers and that experience should exceed their expectations. It’s no longer viable to offer commodities, or just the best products or services.
I have been in the telecommunications industry for many years and sometimes our technology can create an impersonal world of customer interactions. Instead we need to use these tools as an opportunity to improve responsiveness to our customers, and to personalize customer interactions. Our world is in a continuous state of change and the rate of change keeps increasing. The faster the changes, the more our personal and professional lives are affected. Communication is at the heart of human relations and how we interact with each other and talk to each other is extremely important, especially in the business world. Speaking from your heart allows the emotionally difficult, the ordinary, and the wonderful things in our lives to be communicated and received.
Your business practices don’t drive your success – your values do! A healthy business relationship is one where there is an exchange of value overtime. This can only be achieved when one is dedicated to something greater than just the personal benefit one derives from the transaction. Rather than a game of winner take all, your true success occurs when your customer succeeds.
When your business has soul by combining passion and meaning, it is more likely to result in success and longevity. When your business comes from your heart and soul, it has more chance to thrive during the highs and the lows in this economy. I believe that business owners and leaders that are asking themselves if they recognize the soul in their business, is a good thing to do especially in this economy.
Leaders must be crystal clear in our intentions, and continuously champion that intention to others. By doing so you will realize the conditions required to maximize your inevitable success into reality. Business leaders can make a change, experience true joy in their work, and still make a profit, particularly in this economy; people want to work with people who share a common passion and vision for the future. I believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is at an all time high building their business with soul or passion.
“There are two great days in a person’s life… The day we are born… And the day we discover why.” – William Barclay
Written into our inner beings are a naturally-occurring series of strengths and passions and when these passions are recognized and developed and used to serve others, they create favorable conditions for peace, joy, health and wealth. We believe we can make as big a difference in the community as we have achieved in the telecommunications industry. The same passion that drives our commitment to customer care drives our passion for our community. Our success over the years has come from staying true to our core values which are the heart and soul of our company.
Jamie Wood, Avatel Executive VP
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