Build a Team Who Lives, Eats and Breathes Your Business | Passionate Employees Make the Difference
Everybody loves a good movie, right? It's one of those key American experiences, whether you are talking about an old school drive-in theater, the indoor experience where we can gripe about the rising cost while munching popcorn and Goobers, or the new wave of binging on Netflix. Movies are one of those touchstones that we use to find commonality or silently judge one another sight unseen. The online dating number-crunchers at eHarmony even calculated which movies mentioned in your profile are most likely to get you an approach from a prospective mate.
I think it is pretty safe to say that the people over at Turner Classic Movies take love of a good movie to the next level. Last month marked the 25th anniversary for the cable channel and burgeoning brand, and we're going to take a look at their success to think about what it has to offer every business owner. Go ahead and click that link to the Variety story if you've got the movie bug; I'll be referencing it several times but the thing that I'll keep coming back to is this quote from Brad Siegel, one of the people responsible for starting up the brand:
“We put together a team of people who lived, ate and breathed classic movies.”
Don't mistake what I'm suggesting here: it can be valuable to have an outsider's perspective in your business and on your team. Likewise, you certainly want to recruit, train, and reward excellence in your employees. Where the rubber meets the road, though, you want passion. You want to find a cashier for your bakery who gets an endorphin rush from the smell of your fresh pies, because it reminds him of spending summer vacation with at his aunt's house. You want your mechanic to breathe gasoline and sweat motor oil to be able to tell your customers that her great-grandmother was a Technical Sergeant in the WACs and taught her how to change an oil filter when she was eight years old. Perhaps most importantly, you want to share the same fire and the same goal with the people you work with. It's an order of magnitude better than just working for a paycheck and the weekend, you'll all enjoy your time more; you'll have something in common to smooth over the inevitable workplace friction, and something to keep you looking forward to the next workday instead of dreading it.
“TCM is a brand, not just a TV network,” says Jennifer Dorian, exec VP and general manager of TCM. “Much of our future growth will come from fan engagement initiatives.”
When you and your team love what you're doing, it shows. Your customers and clients see that, and it engages them far more than any advertising or discounts can. I'm not just talking about t-shirts and beer cozies and Merchandise opportunities; you can occupy a space in their lives because even though it's a buying and selling financial arrangement, the connection goes deeper. You, your employees, your customers - you are kindred spirits. It establishes an air of hospitality and welcome that goes way beyond plastic ferns and a Mr. Coffee.
Of course, not every enterprise can be a living, breathing labor of love from top to bottom. Hard work may not be its own reward, but the results of hard work are always rewarding. Push yourself and your employees with passion and dedication, and take some time at the end of every day, every week, every finished project or finalized sale to recognize the zeal and effort that made it happen. As the modern philosopher Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says, “'I’m always asked, ‘Whats the secret to success?’ But there are no secrets. Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.'”
Even if your passion is no nobler than doing the best job you can, that transmutes hard work from drudgery to opportunity. It's about more than just your sweat and your hours, though, because you set the tone for everyone under you. Find people who share your dreams and dedication, employ people who are inspired by your hard work. You'll be energized by them just like they are by you, and your customers will want to keep coming back. It doesn't have to be about pep, about being a high energy or extrovert type of businessperson. Shared passion can be a quiet thing, like sitting down to watch a favorite movie with a bowl of popcorn. Just ask TCM.
What are you doing and why are you doing it? How have you gone about finding employees who share your passion, and have you found it to be worthwhile? Most importantly of all...what's your favorite movie? Let me know in the comments!
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