Does Your Company Have A SoulJosh Bernoff, Founder WOBS LLC, presented “Does Your Company Have a Soul?” at the Boston Social Media Breakfast this month. Josh was a researcher for Forester for 20 years. As he prepared for this presentation, he looked at how companies described themselves. Do these descriptions actually describe what they do? Or is it just a bunch of gobbly-goop that doesn’t really mean anything?

If the company has a soul, it has a description that all the people at the company understand. If employees understand they are in a position to contribute without being told what is productive and what’s not. The employees then become more productive.

Does Your Company Have a Soul?


 Zombie Companies

Josh uses the term “Zombie Companies” for companies without a soul. Here are characteristics of a Zombie Company:

  • Motivation is Financial
  • People are part of their department or team
  • People innovate in expected directions
  • Management must manage people

Companies with a Soul

  • Motivation is Intrinsic
  • People are part of something bigger
  • People innovate in productive ways
  • Manager spend less time on management and communication

Using this as criteria he looked at Southwest Airlines, Comcast, Whole Foods and his local bank.

Southwest Airlines – He thinks they have a soul. You get a sense that employees know what they are about. There mission statement:

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

Contrast this to American Airlines where he couldn’t find their mission statement on their website.

Comcast’s Mission Statement

Comcast brings together the best in media and technology. We drive innovation to create the world’s best entertainment and online experiences.

This mission statement describes what they do and what they are trying to deliver. Josh points out that the customer is left out. The “best entertainment and online experiences” starts to get at it – it just should be clearer.

Whole Foods mission statement

We seek out the highest finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries and you start to get a sense of what we are all about.

Josh’s local bank mission statement

We’re focused on listening to our customers, helping them connect to what matters most. Our purpose is to help improve the financial lives of our customers and clients through the power of every connection.

Looking at where growth comes from tells a story. Companies with a soul growth comes organically from attracting more customers. Companies without a soul tend to grow by acquisition and creating barriers to keep you from leaving.

Experience drives results

  • From Forrester CX data, customer experience leaders deliver better financial results.
  • A believable mission drives customer experience.
  • Don’t be a Zombie

Does Your Company Have a Soul?

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