In most places, the new school year is underway. This is good news for many of your customers, especially merchants who look forward to back-to-school sales. But the beginning of a new school year also has come to symbolize something more: an opportunity to start over.
When I was a school kid, I loved summer vacation, but I also got excited when I thought about the school year coming up. What interesting things would I learn in school this coming year? What new people would I meet? What cool clothes and gadgets would I get at the start of the new school year?
After the first week, of course, the excitement of a new school year often wore off. The new things I was going to learn, it turns out, were a lot like what I had learned the year before. I would meet new people, but it looked like I'd be hanging out with the usual folks. And that cool new top purchased at a back-to-school sale would look drab once I saw someone else wearing the same thing in class. Still, I knew that at the end of the next summer, I'd be excited all over again about starting a new school year.
As an adult, the only thing I can think of that's similar is starting a new job, but that's a relatively rare experience, not the same thing as a new beginning every year, in the fall. Maybe we should have something like that in the workplace. The week youngsters return to school, we could go back to school at work.
During "back to school at work" week we could identify the new things to learn in the coming year on the job. We learn new things all the time, of course, but this would be an opportunity to be more proactive about it. We could ask such questions as: Where do I need to increase my knowledge base and expertise, and what new techniques and tools would most benefit me this year?
This is a chance to think big. Spend some time researching possibilities. Take a good hard look at your mission and current business practices; be realistic about what needs to be changed and what's working just fine.
Then think about the business contacts you have and the new ones you're apt to meet in the upcoming months. How can you strengthen the bonds already established? Maybe it's time to take things to the next level with some of these contacts, to turn colleagues and business associates into friends, adding emotional to financial benefits.
Meanwhile, think about how you might add new people to your circle of business contacts. Instead of just meeting people on the way to business success, consider how you might invite people to help co-create that success, to share a mission to use business to increase profits, and to make the world a better place, by providing goods and services that people need.
Having a back-to-school-at-work week might help us regain some of the excitement from our school days, and to create even greater success for our customers and ourselves.
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