We’ve been reading about the Great Resignation. Millions of people are leaving their jobs to find meaning or fulfillment elsewhere. Some move to a new company and others just stop working.
As leaders, we play a critical role in illuminating the meaning behind what our company represents. People need meaning, a purpose. It’s no longer enough to just have a job and make some money. I personally think this is a good trend.
In interviewing hundreds of executives, dealers and line workers over four decades, we have confirmed that employees who believe they are making a difference perform better and will likely remain on the job longer.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to identify what makes your product or service unique and to repeatedly share that story. Is your company merely a producer of look-alike products, a commodity? If that’s your message to employees, why expect them to care if the bolts are tightened properly or the wiring harness is installed correctly?
If your message is all about profit, shareholder return on investment and other things that most employees don’t share in, then why should they care? They’re just replaceable parts in a machine that makes you more money.
If your brand has amazing technology, provides people freedom, helps save lives or transforms communities, then shout that story from the rooftops! And by the way, the vast majority of brands and products do have uniqueness, you just have to discover it.
The commodity mindset begins with you, the leader. We are not victims of it; we are the promoters of it. If we strip our products of their unique identity in search of cutting corners, then our employees, distribution system and, ultimately, customers will receive that message loud and clear.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to identify what makes your product or service unique and to repeatedly share that story.
We interviewed a plant worker who told us he was approached to work at a marshmallow factory down the road. They offered him 50 cents more an hour, but he turned them down. If he had felt he was merely tightening bolts at an HVAC factory, he would have left. But he truly believed he was part of a movement to make our environment cleaner and safer. I don’t know if he would have said no to two dollars more an hour, but his point was made.
The dealer that believes a manufacturer is focused on increasing profit at the cost of its brand differentiation will act as well. They will look for other brands to offer their clients. However, if the dealer believes deeply that yours is the only brand they should represent, amazing things will happen for you both.
Is your brand a steppingstone in the career of the plant worker, the executive or the distributor? Just another job or commodity product? Or is it a destination, a landing spot, a point of pride?
Move forward today to discover differentiation in your enterprise, and just as important, share it, discuss it and celebrate it.
Take the Differentiation Pulse Survey>
Take just 40 seconds to answer seven questions on your brand’s differentiation and employee engagement.
Barry LaBov is founder and CEO of LABOV Marketing Communications and Training. He is a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year recipient and author of numerous business books, including the upcoming Power of Differentiation. Since 1981, LABOV has differentiated and launched products and brands around the world.