One of my favorite holiday movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I worked for a company that offered leadership trainings to the public and to businesses. A part of the homework (regardless the time of year) was to watch this movie. Its message is powerful and not attached to a holiday. The message, if you have not seen the movie, is really about how every person’s life, no matter what they do with it, affects so many other lives. In the movie, the main character is feeling bad about actions he has taken in his life and decides to end it all. An angel intervenes and shows him what the world would be like without him. He realizes how much impact he has had on not only his family, but people who he seemingly had no effect on.
My blog is primarily for businesses. (Though we know that business is not separate from the rest of our lives.) At this time of year, I want to raise this question: if your business was a person, what effect is it having on those it comes in contact with and even those more removed? One way to answer this question is to think about your clients and imagine what your effect has been on them. There are effects you know about. But then what do you think happens after that? After your client wins his case, then what? And what does that make possible? And then what happens? And so on. Think about how your clients are changed by their interactions with you. How do you feel about the impact you have on others? Knowing this, would you change anything?
Another way to consider the effect your business has on others is to imagine what things would be like in your community, environment, etc. if your business suddenly disappeared. Who are the people you have helped? Where would they have gone without you?
In business it is important to be connected to your values and your purpose. This is why so many successful companies have a mission statement in their lobby or on their website. The truly successful companies, though, not only have a mission statement, but actively connect with it on a daily basis. They train their employees in it. They check their actions against their stated mission to make sure the two are aligning.
When you imagine the effect your business has on your community and what would happen if your business had never come into being, then check that against your mission. Are you in alignment? If not, what will you do?
It is good to consider where things need to change for you to be living more fully in purpose and integrity in your business. It is also good to acknowledge yourself and your business for all the good you have done in the world. So if you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful warm day with family and friends. And whether you celebrate this day or not, take a moment to celebrate your business today – just a moment to acknowledge the good you have done in the world.