Why Your Company Needs A Moving Start-Up Story

Author: Michael Michalowicz

Source: Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2012

Employee “buy-in” is an often overlooked tools in a company’s arsenal to attract and retain committed employees.  Sure, pay and benefits deserve the main focus, but consider how a good “Start-Up Story” may help.

I have an altar to Bruce Springsteen in my house. On it sits my prized possession: a guitar pick Bruce tossed out into the audience at one of his concerts.

If you come to my house, I will tell you a long, drawn-out, mostly truthful story about where I got it, why it’s important, and the many hardships I endured to acquire it. To me, and to those who live through my story, Bruce’s pick is priceless. Sure, at face value it’s a piece of plastic worth mere pennies, inspiring a shrug and a tepid “cool,” in response. But after you find out it’s Bruce Springsteen’s guitar pick, and after you hear my epic tale of how it came into my life, the value of the pick goes up considerably. Now it’s worthy of oohs and ahhs and the inevitable, “Oh my gawd, may I touch it?”

Just as no one cares about my little piece of Bruce more than I do, no one cares about your company more than you do. Your business is your baby, and you’d do anything for it. Your employees, on the other hand? Not so much. Even your best, most loyal employees aren’t going to care about it as much as you do. That is, until you cultivate the entrepreneur within.

To get your employees to be even half as invested in your company as you are, you need to foster their sense of ownership. To do that, you need your own epic tale.

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