What is the ingredient which makes your business great?
That mysterious elusive quality of “the X Factor” existed before the popular shows. The Oxford Dictionary describes the “X Factor” as ” a special quality, especially one that is essential for success and is difficult to describe”. In the past, I’ve asked the question “Does your business have the X Factor?” Of course, we all want to be in the category of having the “X Factor”, but if your business is going to be successful, then that intangible essence must be identified.
Having seen and heard about successful leadership and businesses. I now believe that the “X Factor” for business, and indeed for most people or organisations or situation is actually the “E” Factor.
The E Factor
There are many “E” elements which can make a business successful. Think about Engagement, Excellence, Extra mile, Extraordinary, Empowerment. I’m sure you can think of a lot more. But the biggest factor, the one which sets a business out from the rest is something which the majority of people relate to.
A few months ago, I read a blog post; entitled “101 Short Stories that Will Leave You Smiling, Crying and Thinking” you can find them here. I enjoyed the stories enormously, and they certainly caught my imagination as I related to many situations described.
In the UK, we are annually entertained with “The Pride of Britain Awards”. If you haven’t come across this national event, the programme celebrates stories of heroic acts of bravery and contribution. On the awards site the introduction states “Selfless, courageous, caring . . . our amazing winners make the world a better place”
Emotional Connection creates the X Factor
Indeed I have recognised that what makes the X Factor is an emotional connection. We’ve always known that successful businesses engage their customers emotionally. After all, we are surrounded by a raft of advertising and marketing, which is intended to do just that. We all have different personality types and buy for different reasons. But there is an element we all share. And that is the extent to which we feel emotionally connected to the company we are doing business with.
When we see the young people on X Factor doing well, despite the odds; when we see the young girl who saved her mum; or the soldier who risked his life, we feel something. When we read the stories about caring about one another or significant people in our lives, we feel something too. It demonstrates our emotional connection.
Emotional employee engagement
I am an Oprah Winfrey fan. If any of you watched her daily show, you know what I mean. If you don’t watch her, you might label her 25 years run as a female-dominated magazine show. But it is much more than that. The majority of her employees at Harpo, her production company, were at the time the show was running, some of the most enthused, committed people I have seen. They told stories of working long hours, dedication and going the extra mile. They truly believed they were part of something much bigger than themselves.
Connecting with others
Emotional engagement with their mission was evident. According to CNN in September 2011, Oprah was the 8th richest woman in the world. Undoubtedly, her employees’ dedication and commitment have helped her reach that enviable status. Not only that, her audience was hugely emotionally engaged with what Oprah had to offer. What Oprah had to offer was the “E” Factor. She helped people see the good inside of themselves. Helped them touch positive emotions which made people want more. She came from the paradigm that people cared about each other and recognised this was who they were at their core.
So how does this affect ordinary businesses, who might be providing products or services which are not setting the world alight? There are some steps you can take to create that emotional engagement
Businesses who have the X Factor take these actions: They
- Have a vision or a dream and they are passionate about it
- Make sure that what they do, they do extraordinarily well
- Are purposeful and they believe in what they do
- Want to make a sincere difference and have stories to tell about how they do.
- Realise that they are part of something bigger than themselves
- Find their people are emotionally engaged, they have attached real meaning to what they do
- Make sure whatever it is they do, they help people get in touch with the very best of who they are at their core