Written by Ekaterina Walter Building Social Bridges
To build a culture of innovation, excellence, and action you need to inspire people, bring them together around a shared mission, give them a sense of purpose.
For centuries different tribes, teams, and organizations came up with mantras and slogans that motivated, elevated, and inspired: sports teams, military groups, non-profits, businesses… These mantras led people and helped shape internal culture.
Here are some of my favorite ones that you might want to adopt within your company:
All it takes is all you’ve got
Used by sports teams, this mantra should be at the heart of every organization. Passion drives everything. It creates positive energy. It motivates. It is contagious. Passion gives life to creativity and innovation, because only when people are passionate about something, they can come up with creative solutions, give their all, and drive transformative change.
Ask any entrepreneur would they have built the business they built if they knew what they had to go through, and a lot of times the answer is no. Sometimes passion and naiveté is enough to set you on a journey of your life.
But this mantra goes beyond just the role naiveté plays in starting a business. It goes to the heart of innovation. This is the mantra Dyson and his engineers use when building exceptional products, consistently fighting the norm and proving that new ways of engineering are possible.
Dyson promotes an open culture where it is totally acceptable to ask silly questions and perform crazy experiments as if you were still a student. It is quite fascinating what comes out of this crazy form of collaboration. For example, his team was working on an unrelated project when they discovered the technology that would help them produce the cold-air hand dryer that would dry your hands in 10 seconds instead of 40 and use 80 percent less energy than a warm-air equivalent. Airblade, Dyson’s famous hand dryer that came to market in 2006, was born out of trial and error on a different product. It seems that this hands-on, error-filled, no-engineering-law-is-off-limits approach works well for Dyson and his R&D team.
Embrace the suck
A military mantra, most known to be used by Navy SEALs during their rigorous training, “embrace the suck” communicates an important business message. Building / growing / scaling a company is not an easy task. It’s a journey that is filled with failures and roads less traveled. It’s about perseverance in the face of challenges and nay-sayers. If you are looking for the constant rainbow, you won’t find it in an innovative environment.
What you will find, though, are people who are willing to move mountains in order to achieve their mission and show the world what’s possible. Because that’s what true transformation is all about. It is about powering through obstacles as much as it is about celebrating small victories.
Someone once said that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. And to see the rainbow at the end of the storm, you will have to put up with the rain.
“Embrace the suck” is the mantra our marketing team at Sprinklr has adopted when the workload gets overwhelming. We love what we do, we love our clients, and we share the same mission – help our customers deliver valuable experiences to connected consumers across all touchpoints. That said, just like any other growing business, we face obstacles and difficulties time to time. That’s life, not every day is rosy. But we share common vision of success. We not only hire people who are passionate about the company’s vision, but also understand that to get where we are going requires hard work. Adopting this mantra also means that we have each other’s backs, appreciate each other’s contributions and commitment to the larger mission, and celebrate successes together.
Glad to be here
Have you heard of Blue Angels? Well, Blue Angels represent the top 1% of the top 1% of pilots.
Most military pilots never fly closer than 10 feet to another airplane. Blue Angels, however, fly 36 inches from the other planes during loops, rolls, and other aerobatic maneuvers such as flying upside down with their heads just a few feet from the runway. Every year, only three pilots are selected to go through the process of becoming a Blue Angel. They are the best of the best.
But to fly in this close of a formation also means that if one pilot makes a mistake, it can cost lives. Though a privilege to be a part of this group, this is also a dangerous exercise. That why each pilot that flies with Blue Angels never takes team mates and each successful mission for granted. They always close each mission’s recap with “Glad to be here.”
You see, we sometimes forget that what we have isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. And to have a job we love, even though we work hard and get worn out from time to time, is a joy. And we shouldn’t take it for granted.
To me, “glad to be here” is a statement of gratitude for the life I lead and the opportunities I have been given. But this is a mantra businesses should adopt as well, for their employees, the people who helped build those companies, shouldn’t be taken for granted either. A culture of gratitude that goes both ways is a healthy culture.
Just do it
Obviously a Nike tagline, it is one of the best business mantras I’ve seen. Why? Because leaders act. They possess a wicked sense of urgency, of getting stuff done. That’s why they are the first to market, that’s why they are leaders. If you empower your organization to act, if you instill the sense of urgency across your company, your business will not only succeed, but thrive. Don’t stifle, empower!
Attitude is everything
At the end of the day, it all comes down to one’s attitude. Which path you take, how you respond to challenges and successes, what you learn from both… Our attitude determines who we are and what we stand for, it shapes our beliefs and our behaviors. Charles Swindoll said: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.”
Personally, I am fully convinced that excellence is an attitude. Determination is an attitude. Success is an attitude.
But that’s just me.
What’s your mantra?