Your Company in One Word

Your Company in One Word

“One is the loneliest number,” a song way back once lamented. As we enter the first week of the first month of 2021 the number one abounds. As our fundamental quantity of existence we hear it a lot in life and business. “What’s your number 1 goal?” “If you could have one thing to make things better, what would it be?” “What’s the one thing that’s most important to you?” We use the primest prime number to distill things to their fundamental element, to clarify their essence. The same can be applied to your business, your life, your purpose.

I remember the most memorable networking description I ever heard came from a guy at a Fordham U. event. He used one word to describe himself, “I’m a man of faith.” Nuf said. A coach colleague I know recently posted a challenge to businesses to define what they do in one, clear sentence. Standard enough, provides clarity. The structure is basic, what is it that you do for the people who pay you. Good sentence makers, like good networkers can provide a concise, compound sentence that aptly describes what it is their company does. The better sentence descriptors will reveal value and/or intention or perhaps anticipated results. That’s all well and good, everyone should do it for their company or their job.

When I work with companies, particularly on leadership, I like to go a step deeper and challenge any owner and executives to define their company in just one word. You may remember Curly out on the range telling a City Slicker that you have to find your one thing that gives life meaning and work on that to be happy. Well without dropping down to do one-armed pushups (tribute to Jack Palance) I can say that it is always an interesting exercise to hear the one word people come up with to describe their company and the discussion or debate that follows.

I’ll pause a minute while you come up with yours.

One sentence is a good way to define what you do, one word is a good way to define who you are as a company or a person. It works equally well as an exercise in life. Our “faith” guy example has one that clearly defines who he is in business and in life. When those are conjoined your chances for success, with much less stress, are far greater. Try it with your employees or co-workers, or family members for that matter.

When more than one person from a company come up with their one word it can be hugely revealing based on variations in the room. Is there a common belief in who you are? It is a great leadership measurement. If there’s a difference how do you explain it? To give an over-simplified example let’s say two top executives do the exercise, one declares, “Value,” the other declares “Profit.” What are the chances you’ve got alignment in purpose and process when those two work together? Before you try to align goals, align purpose.

What’s your defining word? Please share it below in the comments. If you do the quick exercise in a staff meeting share what you learned. For my company the one comes down to “Enlighten.” As a trainer, consultant and business therapist I don’t get authority to change anything except the way people thing. Sure, that can translates to behaviors but my job comes down to trying to give a thought or guidance or best practice or insight on a subject and help them move to a place where new actions create positive results.

As a simple definition “Enlighten” means to give greater knowledge and understanding of a subject or situation. The reason I think it fits my business is that, for better or worse, more than once I have made a clear case for a way of thinking or actions to be taken for a specific result but they don’t always get followed–but that’s for another business therapy session! The point is I don’t define my company for what I wish it to be or for the best case, I have found it clarifying to know my purpose and let the rest take care of itself. Perhaps you’ve been enlightened after reading this…if so, I’ve accomplished my purpose…how about yours?

©2021 MyEureka Solutions LLC. For help defining your purpose, or strategy or other BUSINESS THERAPY insights follow or contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter @TomFoxTrainer, or check out My current book: Business Therapy: Ideas and Inspirations To Help Build Sales, Leadership, Management, and Personal Performance is available on Amazon.

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