I'll be honest with you; I really don't feel like blogging. I haven't blogged all month. I've had a really good excuses to not blog. My trip to Romania ate up two of the past three Fridays, and shear exhaustion overpowered me on this last one. (Plus, isn't Kristen supposed to blog every now and then!?) At any rate, I am out of the proverbial grove, so I just don't want to do it. Blogging, however, is important, and I say it's important. Therefore, I am putting my keyboard where my mouth is, and I am blogging.
While in Romania, I noticed how eager the culture was to take its cues from American culture. At first I wondered if this was some sort of subtle imperialism—you know, the Americans coming in and saying, "Now that you're not communists, you need to look like and act like us." The more I talked with people, the more I saw that was not the case. The people with whom I spoke liked America, and they liked Americans, and they liked American culture. (A point for all of those who claim America has no culture.) They didn't want to be Americans or lose their own culture, but they wanted to be like Americans.
Fast forward a week. I've been reading Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody. He recounts his time growing up in Colorado and all of the things he learned from his father. Ralph's father always seemed to have the right answer and the right approach to everything. He always took the time to teach Ralph what he was doing. I find that very inspiring. In fact, yesterday when my son's scooter broke, instead of adding it to my list of things to do, I took him to Lowes and talked through how to get the right hardware and fix the problem. (We couldn't find the right hardware or fix the problem, but, nonetheless ...) I took my cue from Charlie Moody. I didn't want to be him or stop being me, but I wanted (at least in that way) to be like him.
That's a lot of ramping up to what I'm actually trying to say, so let me get to it. I want my sons to think of me the way Ralph Moody thought of his father in Little Britches. I want my community to think of me the way that Attics Finch's community thought of him in To Kill a Mockingbird. I think we all subconsciously create these goals in our head. I shy away from calling them idols, but they are images to which we aspire.
The point is this: There are a lot of great companies out there. There are a lot of successful companies out there. There are a lot of cool companies out there. Which one do you want to be like? I'm not saying that you should try to be them; your company should be uniquely you. But, is there a company that inspires you? Is there a company after which you aspire? I have learned some good things from Pixar and from Amazon, but I don't want to be like them. Apple and Google are amazing brands, but I don't want to be like them either.
Personally, I've got this idea in my head of what I want my business to be and to be like. Honestly, though, I don't know that I've ever seen it done. That might sound lofty or pious, but the truth is I want to see it. I want to have that visible goal. I want to want to be like someone who has gone before me. Any suggestions?