The Wish Sandwich
Updated: Jul 5, 2018
Who are you as a company? As a person? Really think about it… What is your identity? What are you known for? Why do people by from you? Why do people rely on you? When push comes to shove, what will you do?
Many of the companies and people I work with (and sadly most that I don’t), cannot answer these questions when a real answer is demanded. They give fluffy answers that are noncommittal like:
We take care of our customers. We are the best. We work hard.
Basically, this type of answer is nothing more than a wish sandwich. For those who don’t remember the Blue’s Brothers song:
A wish sandwich is the kind of a sandwich where you have two slices of bread…and you wish…you had some meat.
These generic statements are a ruse. They fool you into thinking you know who you are, when a little digging quickly reveals that they contain no meat.
We take care of our customers. How do you do it better than anyone else? What exactly does taking care of your customer look like?
We are the best. Who doesn’t say they are the best? What specifically do you do better than your competitors?
We work hard. See above. How does working hard benefit your customers?
Defining yourself by these vague terms is not enough for you or your customers. If you are unclear about who you are, how can you be clear about who you want to be in the future. How can you know where you want to go if you don’t know where you are starting from?
One of the first things I help clients do is commit to who they are, what they do, and why it is important and needed. Simon Sinek has a great teaching he calls The Golden Circle. The very quick summary is that truly successful companies start from why they do things versus just what they do and how they do it. All their decisions are based on why they exist.
Here’s my next challenge to you. Come up with a powerful, meaningful answer to the question: Who are you? Base your answer on why what you do is important. Even if you don’t own or run the company, you have impact. Start by learning why what you do needs to be done. Articulate the importance of the impact you have, and learn to appreciate it.
Once you do that, you will find the meat and stop offering wish sandwiches.