There is one thing in my life that inspires me more than anything and it’s my children. After years of wondering if I wanted to have children or if I would be a good father my wife and I decided to jump into the pool of parenthood.
Not only did we jump, but we jumped into the deep end. Our kids are so very different from each other and from us that we often wonder how that could happen.The one thing that they have in common is amazing complex personalities. They are both full of vigour and love mixed with a small dose of refreshing silliness. If you meet my kids you will not soon forget them. They are an amazing pair and their personalities are infectious, refreshing, and inspiring.
It is important to remember that everyone that touches or interacts with your company will leave with an understanding of your companies personality. This includes your staff, customers, the public, your cleaning company, and your grandparents. Therefore defining the personality of your company is the single most important thing you can do. It comes before anything! Before you pick your domain name, choose a company name, make a logo, pick a color, hire your staff, choose your computer system, lease your location, choose your target market, or put a poster on the wall. Every decision you make should be led by your company’s personality. That personality should match the personality of the founders. Here is a quick step by step way to create the personality of your company. All you need to do is sit in front of a white board and elect a scribe.
Step 1: As a group of founders write down words that describe your personalities (lets stick to the good ones) till the board is full.
Step 2: After filling the whiteboard get all the founders to pick their top most important trait and circle it in one colour.
Step 3: Get the founders to choose another word that resonates with them which is different than what is most important to them and circle those in another colour.
Step 4: Erase everything else and put them in a list.
Step 5: See if you can narrow that list down by combining words into other words or erasing similar words.
Step 6: Now that you have pared down the list write it on the side of the white board and then fill the white board with people or things that have one or more of the traits you listed on the board. Example: If one of your traits was Curious you could write cat or monkey, if it was inspiring you could put down Amelia Earhart or Martin Luther King.
Step 7: Now you have filled the board with personalities each founder picks one that they think most closely matches the traits you put on the side.
Step 8: Do a second round and again erase everything else on the board.
Step 9: Organize the people left on the board into categories of personalities. Example: If you had Charlie Brown and Garfield you would put them under Comic Strip Characters, if you had White Stripes and Madona you would put them under musicians etc.
Step 10: Erase everything so you have a list of Character traits beside a list of Character types and now you have something to inspire every decision you make in your company.
I did this with my software company and we ended up with the internal saying of “Confident Passion balanced by Genuine Care and Support”. We make all our marketing decisions, support decisions, financial decisions, and hiring decisions based on this saying and it has transformed the way we do things. I challenge you to find your corporate personality and I promise you if you work from that in everything you do you will be as infectious, refreshing, and inspiring as my children.