Every enterprise makes a Promise

Posted by Kirsten Gibbs
Last updated 12th September 2022
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  • Every enterprise, even the smallest or shortest-lived, makes a Promise.   It can be summed up simply as "what we do for the people we serve".

    Unfortunately it's rarely spelt out as clearly as it could be.  If you run your own business you know it's there, because you have clients who love you, and recommend you to all their friends.

    But I bet you find it difficult to articulate clearly.   And I bet your team find articulating it even harder.

    It's very hard to live something that you can't articulate.   So if you're feeling a bit frustrated by your team's inability to deliver on your enterprise's Promise as well you would like, here's something you can do to help:

    Get your whole team together and ask this simple question:

    "What’s brilliant about this business?"

    Get everyone to spend 10 minutes answering this question on a generous pile of sticky notes, then, one by one, starting with the newest or shyest, get each person to share what they've written and why they wrote it.

    As they do this, listen out for gems.

    When asked 'what's brilliant?', people often start with clichés like 'quality' or 'service'.

    If you encourage them to explain why they've written that, they often voice values, behaviours and specific examples that are far more reflective of the value you bring to clients.

    Capture these on new sticky notes as you go, and share them with your own at the end of the session.

    It's an afternoon's work, but you'll be glad you did it, because by answering this question with your team, you’ll not only articulate your own values and preferred behaviours, you’ll also identify values and behaviours you share with at least some of your clients.    You'll know exactly who they are.   They'll be the clients you most enjoy working with, and who most appreciate what you do for them.

    What's more, you'll have energised your team.  You'll have discovered nuances of your Promise of Value that you didn't know about before.   You'll have started to articulate more clearly what makes your enterprise unique.

    And perhaps most importantly, you'll have reassured yourself that you're all on the same side.

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