Communicating your core. Are you neglecting your center?


Behaviors are surface. So much of what we do deals with behaviors. We want behavior modification for our employees. We try to incentivize the right behaviors. You have good behavior. I have bad behavior. The trouble with behavior is that, by the time you see a behavior you don’t like, things have been changing for that person long ago and deep within themselves. Behaviors sit on the surface.

Values are core. Behaviors are like solar winds. They are the last things thrown off by the nuclear reaction in a star. In that star’s core is the reaction that generates the heat, the gravity, the energy the light. So what’s at your core? What generates the heat and light in your life that radiates into the world around you?

Finding your core. Go somewhere quietly and write down why you are in business.The easiest way to keep digging is to keep asking yourself “Why?”

Why am I in business? To make money.
Why do I want to make money? To get a great car.
Why do I want a great car? Because it makes me feel good.
Why does the great car make me feel good? Because people notice me.
Why do I want people to notice me? Because I like the attention.
Why do I like the attention? Because it makes me feel valuable.
Why do I need to feel valuable? Because I want my life to matter.
Why do should my life matter? Because…

See how you get to some interesting places? It works on business initiatives, too. Just substitute “How?” for “Why?”

Why are we in business? To make money.
How do you make money? We sell apples.
How do you make money selling apples? We charge more than it costs to grow them.
How do you get to charge more? We sell direct to the customers who visit.
How do you get customers to visit? We advertise, promote in the media, and post social media to convince customers to visit.
How do you convince them? We offer a premium product.
How do you prove it’s premium? We…..

See how using this strategy allows you to blast some assumptions? This leads you past “we always have done it”, “people have just been coming for years”, “Word of mouth is all that works”, “Everyone knows that we (fill in the blank)” – insert any assumption you are making and eventually you’ll work your way to the core of the problem which is, What is your core?

I can’t answer this for you. It’s your core. You alone can plumb the depths of your being to determine the value, the purpose you bring to the world each and every day. I can tell you it is likely that not enough people know your core and your business’ core. I’m sure you don’t communicate it often enough.

Why it matters. Neglecting your core has a number of unintended consequences.

For you. Neglecting your core leads to frustrating days when you are really busy and don’t feel like you’ve gotten anything done. (Ever have one of those?!) When this happens to me, typically, I was not focusing on the right activities, even though I was doing tasks. I wasn’t moving forward the greater purpose of my life. Even accounting (the bane of my existence), has meaning when framed in the purpose of providing for my family, our family of operators and caring for guests.

For your employees. You job is to be successful in your business so the bills get paid, employees payroll checks clear and the business moves forward to a happy future. When you start neglecting your core, a number of things start going wrong. You start doing jobs you shouldn’t be doing. Are you doing minimum wage jobs? Jobs teenagers can do? You are stealing from the company and you’ll start getting frustrated because, the bathroom needs cleaned, but that’s not your core responsibility. You have to stop and look around, metaphorically, to see if you are really focusing on the core of the business.

For your guests. No one can care for your guests like you do. One of your core values likely is (approximately) providing an environment of wonder for your guests so they can’t help but talk about your business. If you drift from this core value, your guests will notice. Make sure you are on the front line, not necessarily the front register, of greeting and ensuring your guests are well cared for.

At the Fun Park, our core is a mantra: Make people happy. Three little words my teenagers have memorized before orientation is over, yet everything they do, we do, we train them to do gets filtered through it. It is our core.

What’s at your core? Take some time to thoughtfully consider it between now and the new year. You’ll find a whole lot more motivation in this one exercise then in a thousand New Year’s Resolutions.

Resolutions typically have to do with behaviors, but behaviors are just on the surface.What matters more, what motivates more is what’s in the center.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a great week.

See Maize Quest’s attractions for entertainment farms at:

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