June 11, 2019 • Paul Woolf
“History is an interpretive process. It isn’t carved in stone. The facts and names and dates stay the same, but the stories themselves should be continually reinterpreted and told in ways that keep them relevant. . . .
Organizations have every right to curate their own history — to start with their vision for the future and work back.
In a practical sense, I think businesspeople tend to intuitively connect with Start with the Future and Work Back because it gives them an excuse not to look backwards. They continue looking forward. And History Factory takes care of the rest. By the time we’ve begun our research and pulled a client’s history forward we’ve all agreed on a set of objectives. . . .
Or say, for instance, a client is experiencing a great deal of consolidation in its industry. Fine. Now we go in and start pulling forward stories about our client that show it was an exemplary corporate parent or a considerate merger partner. We talk about the strong relationships it has forged with clients and its legacy of innovation. We focus on stories illustrating how it has welcomed new acquisitions and how it has been a great company to work with — and for — over the years.
I can give busy executives an extended menu of reasons — from A to Z — as to why it’s in their best interest to leverage their past. History, after all, is a permanent record of an organization’s decisions. It can protect valuable trademarks and patents. It helps organizations recruit and retain the best talent available. It can inspire a workforce or act as the foundation for new product development.
But whenever I show our clients how their history — the inventory of experiences they already own — can help them meet specific organizational goals, I’m giving them something of greater value. I’m making their history relevant — and valuable — to them in the here and now.
And the best part, from a purely bottom-line perspective, is that our clients already own their history. They don’t have to pay anything for it. It’s theirs, a unique record of who they are and what they’ve done, just waiting to be packaged into stories that will get them closer to who they want to be and where they want to go.”