Stories can be powerful tools to shape behavior and dramatically communicate expectations. Wise executives continually seek for opportunities to capture and then relate a story that supports and illustrates the organization’s culture. If the story can be tied to a piece of physical support, then it’s even better. Here’s an example.
In the days before E-mail, we had a marketing program that consisted of developing an individualized prescription for a series of marketing letters for each prospect we encountered. We would customize and send these monthly. Thus, one prospect would get a series of letters based on the size and type of his business, and another prospect would get a different series. This was the backbone of our marketing effort, and we produced hundreds of customized, first-class letters each week.
For reasons that I can’t remember, I reached into the wastebasket and retrieved a crumpled up letter. It was one of our prescription letters that had been sent back to us. There were typos and obvious errors in the first paragraph, including the incorrect spelling of the prospect’s name. The recipient had circled the errors and hand-written this message across the top: “Dave, if you can’t produce a letter without errors, how can you possibly help me?” He had mailed the letter, with his notes, back to us.
The marketing intern who was responsible for managing the program had received the letter, and, in an attempt to keep it from me, had crumpled it up and thrown it away. It was only by chance that I had seen it.
This event stimulated a series of consequences. First, the intern was relieved of her position. Hopefully, it was a powerful learning experience for her to take to her future employers. She had violated two of our core values which we had written and posted in prominent places around the office. Every new employee received a copy of our vision, mission and values statements. They included these two commitments:
Quality: In everything we do, we will strive to do it as well as, or better than, the very best companies in the world like ours do it.
Integrity: We will be honest in everything we do, never over promise, and zealously work to fulfill our commitments.
DAVE KAHLE – Your business can be much more than just a money-making enterprise. Helping you achieve that potential is Dave Kahle’s passion. He has been helping business grow for 30 years. The author of The Good Book on Business, he’s written 12 other books, which have been published in eight languages and distributed around the world, and has presented in 47 states and 11 countries. He has personally and contractually worked with over 459 companies, and touched thousands of others through his seminars, speaking engagements, and webinars. You’ll find him challenging your paradigms and prompting you to think more deeply. Contact – Facebook – LinkedIn – Twitter – Blog
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