When employees identify with a leader’s “why,” they become ambassadors for your cause.
Savvy, excellence-seeking leaders who want to differentiate and grow their businesses are well advised to look within themselves and their organizations.
Leadership teams striving to enliven their companies and produce a marked increase in productivity, profitability, and customer spending should focus, first and foremost, on connecting your people to their work, to each other, and to the organization.
We are in an age where concepts like “mont-blanc for your lifetime of service,” “30 years and the gold watch,” and “lifer” are anachronisms. Sexy startup and career-change opportunities with “awesome” perks beckon.
Deep connection is the secret sauce that fosters loyalty, generates committed, energized team members, and is essential to building a sustainable competitive advantage.
Learn more about energizing your team members with our 5 Tips to Increasing Employee Engagement and Retention tip sheet.
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To establish this connection, all messaging and communications must be consistent and compelling. Compelling communications are clear, repeatable, and above all, authentic. They help you cultivate buy-in across your teams, and ultimately from your customers. I call the process “Marketing your Business from the Inside Out™.”
Leaders who want to create stickiness – especially with millennials – must do three things:
- Connect your employees to what the organization stands for.
- Connect each team member to the value they bring to the business.
- Connect your people to each other.
But how do you develop the glue that compels them to connect and stick around? How do you inspire real passion — not the empty, overused “I’m passionate about…” cliché?
Your people commit to you when they feel the organization matters, and more importantly, when they feel they matter. People not only want to feel connected, but actually want to be connected to something greater than themselves.
How to nurture inside-out marketing
It is this connection that enlivens a culture and inspires employees to fend off the array of playground-like perks that can, and do, lure good people away. It is that connection that inspires real passion, the passion that fuels growth. Here’s how you get there:
1. Reveal and communicate the leader’s innate WHY.
People connect when they believe what you believe. Leaders, discover and share your WHY, your hard-wired, root driver. Express it in clear, repeatable, tweetable language, in bite-sized nuggets of inspiration.
Your WHY becomes the driving force for the company and is foundational to all communications, from vision to tagline.
2. Discover and share the WHYs of your team members.
With team members’ innate drivers revealed, you have the intelligence to place or move them to seats or roles where each will be in his/her zone, will work harder with less effort, and maximize their productivity.
When WHAT they do is aligned with WHY they do it, employees become engaged and develop genuine passion for their work. Per Gallup, companies in the top 25% in terms of engagement realize 22% higher profitability and 21% higher productivity. Imagine what this looks like at companies in the top 5 or 10% of the engagement scale!
Team members bond and collaborate more effectively, increasing productivity: where in the past, employees have misunderstood or been put off by others, they now respect what coworkers bring to the table. Collectively, team members feel attached to each other and their common goals.
3. Connect team members to your WHY and why-based vision.
People want to know that they, and the work they do, matters. An authentic, internally-generated vision is far superior to what a consultant or agency can create. Express why you matter beyond the product or services you offer. Indoctrinate your teams in your beliefs and allow them to live out theirs within your business.
4. Identify YOUR ideal customer.
Many companies profile their customers based on demographics alone. Imagine how much more powerful it is to market to customers based on how they think and feel!
There are countless examples, but as you mobilize messaging around your WHY, and reap the benefit of 100% authenticity, your best customers will multiply and your “problem customers” will dwindle. (By the way, the same goes for attracting A-list talent)
5. Message authentically/compellingly to your ideal job candidates and customers.
When current and prospective employees as well as customers and prospects feel you “get” them and will provide what they want, they buy in.
Give all your people repeatable, compelling language that enables them to “sell” your organization, with language that connects your ideal audiences to you. When your customers believe in your brand, they spend an average of 20% more with you (Gallup).
To net this out, when employees and team members identify with a leader’s individual and organizational WHY, they become ambassadors for your cause. Clear, concise, WHY-based communications converts “9-5’ers” to aligned team members who – at every customer touch point – can articulate and advocate for what the organization stands for and inspire others to Buy In & Buy, Sign On & Stay™.
When organizations express WHY they do WHAT they do, what they believe, people sign on. They buy into the organization. They become raving, referring fans. In a time when authenticity counts, your WHY is foundational to growing a thriving business. Watch your metrics soar!