When a recent survey of consumers worldwide revealed that 70% of brands could disappear tomorrow and wouldn't be missed, it sent yet another distressing message that our overly commoditized world of products and services simply won't support more of the same. At a minimum it begs the question, what is the point of opening the doors every day only to be counted as yet another "category placeholder."
In his book, Success to Significance, author Lloyd Reeb, points out that many people measure their success by wealth, recognition, power and status. There's nothing wrong with those, but if that's all you're focused on you're missing out. He urges us to focus on significance--using our time and talents to serve others.
Seems like the lessons we can learn in our personal search for significance are worthy of carrying over into our businesses as well. In fact, I would argue that the brands we respect most are the brands that seek to become significant. To leave a lasting footprint on the world they serve. Success, measured only by last month's sales is both shallow and uninspired.
Seek to do something significant with your company. Strive to improve the lives of your employees and your customers. Stand for something greater than what you manufacture. In his now famous response to shareholders pushing for more ROI, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple said, "the company does a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive. We want to leave the world better than we found it."
Is that your desire? To use the resources of the organization you lead or work for to better the world? Or does satisfaction come primarily from the ledger sheet?
Speaking from personal experience, I can truly say that my own view of success has shifted dramatically over the years. And while I've experienced some measure of financial success in my career, I'm most grateful and satisfied by the rich relationships I've accumulated. Working along side those whose values I share. Dreaming big. Serving others.
Want to see your company make a lasting impact? Give the people you lead something bigger than what they do to accomplish together. Create one big, audacious goal and watch the very best come out of your company. Don't settle for success. Reach for significance.