Losing the Soul of the Business

Leadership Organizational Culture

This week at my TEC (The Executive Committee) meeting we had a great guest speaker, Al Killeen. Al is a successful executive coach from Boulder, Colorado, and I like to think he’s living proof that there are more than just retired hippies living there. And, after listening to Al speak, not only did his message resonate with me but I also felt his insight and advice were worth passing along.

Al believes that, as businesspeople, we’re selling more than our product or service. He says that if we focus too heavily on the product or service, we become more focused on process and we lose the soul. “The key,” he says, “is to find the values that connect with your customers and then understand how those values help your customers achieve their purpose.”

Al passed on three key takeaways that I felt were helpful reminders:

  1. Don’t lose sight of the soul. As a business or even as a person, we can become detached from the human experience. It sounds fancy but what it really means is that we allow data, targets, tasks, project management, service delivery, etc. to become the main focus and we lose sight of the person or people we are serving. Soul work is about serving others. The outcome is the sale.
  2. It is not about you. In the book Story Wars by Jonah Sachs, he reiterates that we – the business – are not the heroes of the story. Our customers are. Our business is the guide or mentor that provides them with a product or service that enables them to live out their own story. Our employees should always know who the hero is and be genuinely excited to see them win.
  3. Understand the values that are important to your audience. Most businesses we work with take an educated guess in this area. We think we know what is important to them but we fail to ask the deeper questions to truly uncover raw insights. It’s always worth the investment.

Have a great day!