I was working in my office today, and needed to erase the whiteboard you see in the picture above. I busted out the windex and paper towels to take care of what I thought would be a 2 minute project. Except it took longer. Much, much longer. I needed a scrubby-pad-thingy-what's it, too. And elbow grease. The quantity of which may have just given me tendonitis. Great, there goes my professional tennis career.
Mid-cleaning it hit me.
I had written the notes that were on the board a while ago. It was an important section of a book I am currently writing. I left it up, because I knew I would be referring to it a lot. And when my elbow began to feel like it was going to explode I realized something.
Consistent messages are hard to ignore.
That made me think of high school and college students. Specifically, our responsibility to speak life into them on a regular, consistent basis.
The words we use impact how they see themselves.
The actions they take based on those words multiply those results. Either for good, or...well, not so good.
We need to be intentional about the words we are pouring into the next generation.
The ones they think about themselves. The ones they use to describe themselves. The ones that act as a mental GPS to the actions they take.
And that's on us.
Just like the words on my whiteboard were not easily erased, neither are the ones we speak into the next generation. My whiteboard had encouraging words. But think about the many, many times that the emotional whiteboard of a young adult is getting filled with negative words. And then our first reaction is to blame them for acting on the only teaching they've ever known...negativity.
Millennials are listening.
And every time we lob the softball of "they are just an entitled generation", we highlight our unwillingness to be part of the solution. Actually, we also do a fantastic job of contributing to the problem.
Stop complaining, and start solving.
Stop putting down, and start pouring into.
Stop, stopping, and start, starting.
Be willing to spend the time scrubbing the emotional whiteboard of a Millennial clean, so that you can fill it back up with encouragement.
Unleash their potential, by bringing words of wisdom that are intentional.
Teach them the power of words.
Teach them how to leverage the momentum that comes from understanding WHO they are, and WHY they exist. Teach them to rely on values, so that WHAT they believe comes alive in HOW they act.
Every mind is like a whiteboard.
Fill it with great content.
Words are hard to remove, so make sure they are worth the time you are taking to say them.
Every word matters.
And one last thing...
The consistency of your delivery will either be part of the solution, or part of the problem.
We also have to be intentional about our commitment over time. Just because we said it once, doesn't mean our job is done.
There will always be a competing message for limited space in the minds that we are teaching.
Keep writing words of encouragement, life, challenge, love, hope, etc...on the hearts of the next generation.
That way when someone tries to fill it with the opposite, they will see the value in not listening to it.
Well, I have to run.
I have a whiteboard to fill with more notes.
Positive, life-giving, inspiring notes.
For the next generation.
I hope you will join me in doing the same.
I was having a conversation with a client yesterday,
and I shared this important piece of advice...
"Be a problem solver, not a product seller."
Hit pause today, and ask your team the following question.
Are we solving an actual problem for our customer(s) today,
or simply begging them to buy what we are selling?
How do you know if you are solving or selling?
If you are serving your needs, you are selling.
If you are serving your customers needs, you are solving.
The irony is that when we serve and solve,
the selling takes care of itself.
Too many organizations are treating social media like a digital lottery ticket.
What does that mean?
Exactly what this picture says.
You are as likely to grow your business by random social media activity as you are to pick up a lottery ticket off the ground and walk away with millions.
So what is the answer?
Building a story that your current customers see as worth telling and sharing. I said it the other day on Twitter..."If it's not #sharable it's #forgettable." Try equipping those that already interact with your brand to be able to have an impact on those you'd like to be part of your brand.
When you are looking down in search of the digital lottery ticket,
you are ignoring your greatest asset.
Identify it. Tell it. Share it.
Build everything you do around it.
Equip others to brag about it.
Lottery tickets are transactions.
Stories are about relationships.
Guess which one matters more.
Yet...too many organizations still treat social media like digital lottery tickets.
So you might be thinking..."should I still use social media then?"
Replace random with relationships.
With intentional story.
Go have a conversation with a customer. Share your story with them.
And do the same thing in your social media posts.
Stop scanning the ground for luck, look up, and see that you have everything you need.
Story and relationships.
Simply put, it's
WHO you are and WHY you exist
as an organization. (In business, education, ministry, family, etc...)
You exist to _______________________, so that _______________________.
You exist to (do something specific), so that (a specific thing happens as a result).
When you can articulate who you are, what makes you tick, what breaks your heart, what keeps you up at night, what you'd do if you could spend all day doing it...you are getting close to your vision.
The key word there is articulate.
Yes, it's important.
If you can't be clear, you'll never be able to explain it to anyone else.
You can't give clear directions
where there aren't specific boundaries.
That is what a clearly articulated vision does for you and your organization.
It's the starting, middle and end point of your conversations, meetings, brainstorming, etc...
It keeps you on track.
It's your filter.
We exist to help you discover WHO you are, so that you will know WHAT to do.
That is what drives us at WHOBIX.
That is our vision.
It's clear. It's concise. It's our filter.
Notice we aren't calling it a "vision statement". Unfortunately that term comes with some serious baggage. It makes us think of some paragraph of general drivel with big words. Boiled down, I think we'd be hard-pressed to find a single person in any organization that could repeat, much less explain one of those from memory.
When you get who you are and why you exist into a single sentence, something cool happens.
It gets you past incoherent babbling, and into intelligent conversation.
It enables you to cast your vision to me.
It empowers your team to do the same with others.
It gets me, as the listener, excited to hear more about you.
It allows your team to process opportunities more effectively because it keeps you on point.
It helps you avoid getting distracted by something that looks cool, but ultimately isn't who you are.
Do you see where all of that is going?
Having a clearly articulated vision will keep your team focused.
Having a clearly articulated vision will help you lead with confidence.
Having a clearly articulated vision will launch your team into it's calling.
Having a clearly articulated vision will attract others to join you on the journey.
Who are you?
Why do you exist?
Start brainstorming thoughts, words, phrases.
It will take some time, but the most beautiful, simple, articulate, and meaningful things always do.
Put this on your whiteboard.
Pin it on your corkboard.
Place this on your bathroom mirror.
We exist to ______________________________, so that ___________________________________.
I can't wait to hear your vision.
I get excited when other people find theirs.
And if you get stuck, send us a note.
Maybe we can help you discover yours.
The need to be "right", or the need to make progress?
We can dig our heels in, and debate until we feel we've "won", or make an intentional effort to hear someone else's point of view and see that as the win.
Confrontation vs. Conversation.
The former chooses sides,
the latter builds a relationship.
Which one do you think has a better chance of making progress?
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.