Early in my career, I was financing a struggling screen-printing business. Orders had steadily declined, formerly repeat customers had sought out other vendors, and employee turnover was on the rise. As I entered the warehouse, the energy level was low. I made my first pass around the space, taking some initial notes, and eventually I asked the owner, Steve, about the boxes in the corner. “Oh, those are some finished goods going to a customer tomorrow,” he explained. Most of the boxes had already been taped shut, but a few at the top of the stack remained open, so I asked if I could take a look. “Sure,” he said with a shrug.
I reached into the box, pulling out a blue baseball cap. My mouth hung open as I read the text: “EMPLOYEE OF THE MOTH.” I blinked, gulped, and blinked again, looking back at the hat in hopes that I had misread it and that there weren’t actually hundreds of MOTH hats ready to ship in the 15 other boxes scattered at my feet. I hadn’t misread it. So here it sat – the physical representation of Steve’s struggling business, an actual manifestation of his employees’ lack of engagement and his blindness to what was going on.
“Alright — wanna take a look over here?” Steve asked, gesturing toward an open door. I placed the hat back in the box and nodded, following behind him. In my mind, I couldn’t let go of the moth hats. How many departments and individuals must have been part of their production: sales, order entry, design, printing, packaging, and shipping. And how many other orders had they filled in the past similar moth misprints? How could this type of mistake slip by without a single employee paying close enough attention or caring enough to speak up?
This experience is why we periodically have an “Employee of the Moth” award at LightStance. It’s a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously and that quality and client experience are everyone’s job all the time.
These types of experiences are also why LightStance exists today. Our gamified software takes a holistic look at a company’s situation and creates collaborative opportunities for leaders to come to the table and strategize better. Because for a company like Steve’s, it’s not just about declining orders and revenue. It’s the whole picture behind why morale was low, why mistakes were being made, and why customers felt disconnected and unhappy.
Using LightStance, businesses start by defining their values, vision, and mission together so that everyone is heading in the same direction as they delve into goals, opportunities, and risks within their financial reality. The robust functional topics span different areas of the business, bringing leaders together with team members from various departments to truly understand the day-to-day challenges that everyone faces. And once a robust plan is created, the LightStance software enables businesses to execute on those plans and report on their results.
So whether it’s screen printing or manufacturing, IT or finance, the LightStance methodology is robust and specific enough to bring all types of teams together to create change. And whether your business is struggling or thriving, this type of strategic planning and execution platform initiates the conversation that can take your business to the next level.