I have been reading a lot about startups, how you can identify the phase, if it ever ends and what is key to success in this stage.
I would qualify my business as a startup,
1. In my mind a startup is not only building something new but its a state where a business is always innovating, always asking questions and does not believe in boundaries. I push my team to think outside the box all of the time and “impossible”or “can’t” are unacceptable answers.
2. Yes I have run my 2 corporate centers for over 5 years, but our Franchise System and growth plans for the next 5 years are very different from adding a center or two to my portfolio and calling it a day.
Now, what has been a struggle is communicating this plan to everyone who works in our schools, our partners and our senior management team. It’s not that they can’t read an executive summary or even “get it” after a presentation.
It is that after all is said and done, we are not all talking the same language. If someone asks me who we are, what we do, and why ; this is communicated differently by my VP of Education, COO and myself. We all communicate with passion, and sure when we all sit in a room together we understand where each of us comes from our internal dialogue and our long history working together ; but to the outside world it was not the same.
What came next, was a few days of corporate culture and communication consultation and we were able to document who we are and our core values. Now we can begin to weave these very important words; our own personal vocabulary through all our documentation and verbal communication. Yes, the real test is the implementation.
What was most fun, and enlightening was one simple task : how to share what we do in 4 words or less. Without any debate we all agreed, “realizing potential, inspiring success”
And with that we all agreed, sure we may not be speaking the same language but we all share the same passion and emotional connection to our brand, and that meant we translated quickly.