I was reminded today of a story that I hadn't thought about for a long time. It's short and sweet (although I don't know the original author)
The Gardener's Badge
A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for two or three generations. The staff were happy and customers loved to visit the store, or to have the staff work on their gardens or make deliveries - anything from bedding plants to ride-on mowers.
For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive happy people.
Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business.
In fact it was the other way around...
A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge saying 'Business is Great!'
The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however was the owners attitude and the badge saying 'Business is Great!'.
Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked "What's so great about business?" Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.
Anyhow, the 'Business is Great!' badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work, for example
- the pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
- the reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
- the fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
- the fascination in the work itself, and in the other people's work and business
- the great feeling when you finish a job and o it to the best of your capabilities
- the new things you learn every day - even without looking to do so
- and the thought that everyone in business is blessed - because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where we have no real worries.
It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another it's probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, on which point, if asked about the badge in a quiet moment the business owner would confide.
"The badge came first. The great business followed."
So my question to you is... If you had a badge what would it say right now? Is this what you want it to say? If not, change it - it's your badge and you decide what you want on it.
Some of you will be looking at your business and thinking about how you can expand it in the future, take on more people, perhaps even think about how you can franchise it. Others will be looking to keep their niche, staying small and successful - whichever one is right for you it will need planning, creative thinking and energy.
Focus your business on what you do best, let the others worry about the rest!
Just like the Gardener - what you think will drive how you do things and sometimes we need help with that. Even when things are not looking so good and, let's be honest, in those moments it can be tough to stay flexible and creative.
Be your badge!
"Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful" Albert Schweitzer
If you want to know more about understanding what your badge is currently saying and what you want it to say then contact me.
Annie Page - firstname.lastname@example.org, 01525 633874