Why You Need A Long-Term Vision

What you do today determines the type of organization you can become tomorrow.

What you do today determines the type of organization you can become tomorrow.

It’s hard to conceive of something that has a positive effect today but that can be damaging over the long-term—something that is simultaneously both good and bad. Without a vision, it’s impossible to determine how today’s decisions will contribute to the future. The vision allows you to ask: Does this decision push the organization further towards that ultimate goal? Does it change nothing over the long-term? Does it only benefit the organization today, making it harder to get back on track to achieve the long-term goals?

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Happy Employees, Happy Profits

Enabling employees to find meaning in their work isn’t the same as creating a utopian organization: there will still be complaints and frustrations. The goal is maximizing potential, not perfection.

I have often blamed you in my mind for treating this or that person differently and reacting to this or that situation differently from how I would have; and yet the outcome usually showed you were right. “If we just take people as they are,” you once said, “we make them worse; but if we treat them not as they are but as they should be, we help them to become what they can become.”Therese in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship

The most recent edition of Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report. Put simply, there’s need for drastic improvement: Only 33% of U.S. Employees feel engaged at work.1

What’s more worrying than this lack of engagement is that it’s only improved by three percentage points in the five years since the previous edition. This minuscule increase should be surprising considering the prevalence of companies proclaiming to invest in and value their employees over the same time period.

Valuing employees has been more chest-thumping than action.

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Leaders Are Made, Not Born

To be an effective leader, you have to be a really good listener. And, not to what’s being said, but to what’s not being said. You have to be really observant. That was a big transition for me: I went from being a scorer and a floor general to being a leader. And, that meant putting others first. That means not worrying about: Are you in rhythm? Are you playing well in this game? Are you ready to go? [It means going] to being: Are they ready? What can I do to help them be ready? That’s the big transition to make. You’ve gotta observe them, because they all have things they want to accomplish as individuals. And, as. Leader you’re like, “Okay, what are those things?” And, how can I help them accomplish that within the system, the structure that we are trying to do collectively. —Kobe Bryant

The passing of Kobe Bryant this week had us reflecting on the man he was and the time we spent working with him. When we worked with Kobe, he was undergoing the transition from being number 8 to number 24. This transition was much more than just a number change for him; it had personal significance. 24 meant dedicating himself every hour of the day to being a better person that others could look up to; it meant going from focusing just on himself and his stardom to focusing on being a leader and helping his teammates achieve their goals. Kobe realized that leadership is a choice and that it takes dedication, practice, awareness, constant learning, and skill. Leaders are made, not born. And, great leaders never stop trying to be better not just for themselves, but for those they have the honor of leading. Rest in peace Kobe.

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How to Become Great by Giving Up

Being Great Requires Giving Up Being Great At Something Else

Piglet: If everybody were like everybody else, how boring it would be. The things that make me different are the things that make me, me!
Eeyore: Stand tall.
Piglet: You’re in a class by yourself.
Eeyore: Be proud.
Piglet: You’re not like anyone else. No doubt about it, you’re second to none ‘cause you’re the one and only one. Piglet and Eeyore, “You’re the One and Only One,” Winne the Pooh: Sing a Song with Pooh Bear

It often seems like companies are doing everything to try and get customers to do more. 

But, when a company tries to do everything, it excels at nothing. 

Since companies only have a limited number of resources, this usually involves trying to improve their category weaknesses, which inevitably draws focus away from their strengths. And, by improving their weaknesses to match the competition and focusing on winning share of mind for their improvements—and ignoring their strengths—they just end up looking a lot like the competition. 

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How to Build Customer Loyalty in The Age of Skeptics

When customer relationships are treated as one-sided—when there isn’t an effort to try and benefit the customer at least as much as the company benefits from the customer—there’s no reason for customers to view a company with anything but skepticism and a lack of trust.

Customers are skeptical.

That’s a given.

And, it shouldn’t be surprising: they’ve been lied to from everyone from politicians to large corporations; they’ve seen their data stolen; they’re constantly bombarded with companies trying to grab every dollar they can; and, when they contact a company with an issue they often have to battle to get the company to make it right.

Even companies that claim to be customer-obsessed usually think of customer-obsession only in terms of how it can maximize ROI and increase the bottom line. It’s more of an obsession with the customers’ wallets than the customers themselves.

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Are You Ready To Be The Hero Your Customers Deserve?

Cult brands stand against an evil force: they believe the world should be a certain way that stands in opposition to an ill they perceive in the world.

It’s common to talk about the customer journey: the important steps the customer takes when interacting with your company. But, many companies forget to pay attention to the journey their business is on. And, it’s through this journey that we can not only become heroes to our customers but also help them become the heroes in their own journeys.

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Top 5 Cult Branding Blogs of 2019

Happy New Year

As the year comes to a close, we’d like to thank all of you for continuing to support our blog with your readership.

We’d especially like to thank our friends that contributed blogs in the past year: Tyler Williams, Lead Link of Brand Aura at Zappos, wrote about what it takes to build a great brand without engaging in practices that would disappoint your mom; John Bunch, Lead Organizational Designer at Zappos, wrote about the journey to Zappos’ 20th birthday this year and what the future looks like for the company; and Greg Breeding, President of Journey Group, wrote about what it took to create the Love Stamp for the United States Postal Service.

Taking into consideration opens, shares, and clicks, below are our five most popular blogs of 2019.

We wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and fantastic New Year.

BJ, Salim, and Aaron

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How Cult Brands Create Loyal Customers

The relationship between Cult Brands and their Brand Lovers is mutually beneficial.

Brand Lovers enjoy a real sense of satisfaction, accomplishment, and belonging from the relationship. Their self-image is enhanced significantly: these customers feel better about themselves—and they feel strongly that others view them more positively—because of the brands they openly embrace.

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