Using your History to Communicate the Future

Everyday whether it feels like it or not, you make history. Large or small milestones take place in day-to-day life and you often only get a few moments to reflect on how you got there or what chain of events led you to that point.

Friends are great repositories of your history; your stories reveal important shared values. However, tapping into the history of the place you work maybe harder. Do you only know the stories that come out at Christmas parties? What do people say about the company?

Company’s record their histories in numerous accidental ways such as financial records or client experience. Although, there are benefits to purposefully recording the history of the organisation and many ways of doing it.

Finding ways to record the company’s history needs to be relevant to what you do. For example, if your work is project related, can you write case studies? Are there photos labelled and stored in hard copy and electronically? Do you ask for and collate testimonials? Is there a media file for clippings and advertising? Do you store the staff newsletter and other communication products together? Where are all the awards?

The benefits for having all these things are numerous. The obvious one is to use the material to promote the company’s work via website. However, it’s more valuable that these artifacts can be strategies to encourage future employees, suppliers and industry colleagues to have a greater understanding of the ‘personalities, values and turning points’ that created the company.

These artifacts can reveal the core values and aspirations of the company’s foundations and perhaps some things that have been lost. Ask yourself; was there a strong team feel? Were the relationships based on respect or loyalty? Did humour play a big part? How did people socialise? Who has been influential and what legacy did they leave? How have relationships between founders and managers changed?

The purposeful recording of history not only help new staff members, but also helps to keep the essence of the company strong; something very important when riding out tough times.

‘A company that documents its history gains significant competitive advantage. Your legacy reminds the world that your business is built on enduring values and that it is here to stay’.

So what does your company’s history say about its future?

Does it say, ‘we value excellence in everything we do’, ‘we are here to stay’ or ‘we are great at customer service’. Or does it say ‘we react rather than plan’, ‘we need to be better at strategic planning’, ‘managing our reputation is now a priority’ or ‘we need to laugh more’?

Whatever your history says about your future, it’s worth listening to. Share the story and see what others think and most importantly act on it – sometimes history repeating itself is not a good thing.


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