The Brandstone Must Be Written Down!
My father always taught me to write drown my New Year's resolutions. Something about how putting pen to paper made them more real and likely to be achieved. Well, the same goes for your brand and culture. The output of our Brandstone process is a document. One that articulates the authentic ideals of the people who work there and aligns them to a shared purpose. It becomes the foundation of all communications and behavior. It sounds simple enough. Creating it is anything but.
As a simple exercise, try writing your own obituary. In one page try to sum up your life, what it meant, the values you lived by and how other people were affected. You'll be amazed at how ponderous an exercise it can be as you search for the words and meaning that feel right. Now imagine doing that for an organization of hundreds or thousands. It can a messy process. But in the end, it's an incredibly powerful one. Just as writing your obituary demands a level of distillation, honesty and purposeful thinking, so does creating a Brandstone for your organization. It brings people together in authentic dialog and creates understanding and alignment. And most importantly…it LASTS.
For proof of that lasting power, look no further than the Declaration of Independence. Our country was literally founded in this document of ideals. It took our founding fathers years of debate and compromise to agree on the set of principles it outlines and it took Jefferson many drafts to get it right on paper. But that document connected to the deepest aspirations of people around the world, unleashed a wave of immigration and entrepreneurial spirit that reshaped the planet, and allowed us to survive a civil war, economic depressions, two world engulfing conflicts, a cold war, bitter political divisions and even assassinations. By that measure the United States of America is perhaps the most resilient "Brand" in history. The Declaration of Independence is its Brandstone.