How could the Pilgrim explorers be so future thinking and we cannot look up from our cell phones nor extract ourselves from the 24 hour news cycle – news that SOMEONE ELSE (not us) made?
As we rapidly approach the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Cape Cod it seems more vital than ever to learn or relearn the lessons that they left behind and to divine any relevance for our lives today. There are straightforward and important lessons that can recharge your business and motivate its success in short order.
1st: If you are not working in a workplace that makes you feel the importance of your efforts nor managing an organization that is doing important work then leave or commit to change it now.
Consider that the Puritan separatists left England headed to Virginia because they were seeking a world that gave them more meaning. Yes, Virginia was their destination, but none knew anything more than that and when, driven North in a storm, they arrived in Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod, they had arrived. Cast off the past, Seek better outcomes and more meaning. Seek to surround yourself with similar belief systems. Simon Sinek, the bestselling author of “Start with Why”, suggests that
“the goal of business should not be to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have. It should be to focus on the people who believe what you believe.”
Our current economic climate creates more opportunity to align yourself with people and customers who believe what you believe. With an expanding economy and more opportunity, we are seeing higher levels of attrition in businesses we serve, but we contend that properly managed, productivity, morale, and profits can improve as a result.
2nd: Do not hold on too tightly to old methods and habits in a rapidly changing world. The Mayflower Compact (The Compact), written by William Bradford and signed by the passengers November 11, 1620, establishes provisions for just such an unknown and changing world (as many are finding today in business).
“We by virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General Good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.”
Yes. This is a compact that would frame a political community but many businesses fail to acknowledge the market dynamics, the role of innovation, and the requisite dynamism in business practices to be successful over the long term. The long view wins out when preservation of the business as a means to sustain its stakeholders is publically acknowledged.
3rd: Work at communication.The number one impediment to organizational success (and personal relationships), a common refrain from our clients, is inadequate or inefficient communications. The Pilgrims in the Compact, began their new lives together: “We covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick for our better Ordering and Preservation.” It is an important acknowledgement in business to reaffirm that the success of the entity is built on the inter-workings of people and departments. Conflict arises out of unclear communications so the organizations that acknowledge conflict (a key ingredient in any competitive entity) and the need to make communications work, will be more successful. The Pilgrims reaffirmed this:
“In these hard and difficult beginnings, they found some discontents and murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches in others; but they were soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage of things by the Governor…”
Easier said than done but stay true and on message to your organization’s purpose and better outcomes will result.
4th: Be thankful. Respecting the difficulty inherent in managing a business, the uncertainty there exists in working for such a business, and the faith your customers put in you to perform with products and services that meet a need or solve a problem, you can benefit from a strategy that targets appreciation for employees, co-workers, suppliers, managers, and customers. From the writings of the first Governor, Governor William Bradford
“Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.”
A strategy built on an outward expression of thankfulness leads to important introspectionon the value you offer to your customers, the value business practices and processes give to the wellbeing of your organization, the value you create for your co-workers, employees, and all stakeholders, and that can be a very good place to start.
With the arduous journey in the history books almost 400 years ago, this week we can be reminded:
Work with people and in an organization that helps you find purpose. Change or leave if you are not getting or providing it.
Endeavor to be forward thinking and plan for change.
Acknowledge that conflict is inherent in what you do and endeavor to always communicate while working toward the common good.
Be thankful and acknowledge those who help you through each day.
Pretty simple…in a Pilgrim sort of way.