7 Questions For A More Aligned Company

The City of Seattle has been building more curb cuts in our neighborhood. I am happy to see that. There is still a lot of work to do, but there is progress.

Curb cuts make public spaces accessible to people with disabilities. But, in reality, they help everyone. If you’ve pushed a stroller or walked with crutches, you probably know the difference they make.

Fifty years ago, curb cuts didn’t exist. Delaney Hall, filling in for Roman Mars, has a great episode of the 99% invisible podcast about how activist Ed Roberts started a movement that demanded society see disabled people in a new way.

Why am I talking to you about curb cuts?

When you are at a city intersection, the presence or absence of curb cuts tells you something about the city’s narrative. Curb cuts embody what a city like Seattle values or not, in our case, accessibility and inclusivity. They are the expression of the city’s perspective on society.

I am using picked curb cuts, but there are thousands of other examples of the city’s perspective around us: zoning, new homes, libraries, bus routes, neighborhood squares and parks, community markets, static and movable sitting, trees, etc.

In an urban environment, the city’s narrative is everywhere. You can see it, touch it and even feel it.

A narrative expresses what we value as a group and illustrates how we think. It reinforces the norms and stereotypes that define our culture.

We design and grow cities with the influence of our narrative, and we do the same with companies. The business you build is the expression of your imagination through a belief system that impacts your decisions.

In my analogy, when the City of Seattle builds more curb cuts, it shows that it values inclusivity and believes in a future where all people can enjoy their neighborhoods more. The city narrative is crucial for decision-making.

Therefore, what kind of “curb cuts” will you decide to build as you think about growing your company?

Ask yourself:

  • Could there be easier ways for my team members to work together?
  • How could we simplify our budgeting process or even kill it?
  • What if we made information more transparent?
  • Who might benefit from finally understanding my overly complicated strategy?
  • How could I make our product or service more easily understandable and accessible?
  • What should I practice differently as a leader to align with my company’s narrative?
  • What should I repeat more consistently and frequently, so people understand what impact we’re trying to make?

These are examples of simple questions you can use to align your company with its core narrative and make it more transformative.

Use them to imagine how you can create a company that people want to join, can benefit from, enjoy more, believe in, and support.

Use these questions to imagine the future so that you can create it.

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