It was a warm spring day in 2000, on lovely Kiawah Island, South Carolina, when I arrived to conduct a sales training class for Augustine Medical, an innovative producer of unique medical solutions. We had four classes going at the same time and I was assigned to the group that sold their Warm-Up© Therapy System. Each group would have their presentations judged on the final day, (by real doctors and nurses) to determine their “field-readiness.” One of their Power Positions was “the healing power of warmth.”
Each presentation was highlighted by remarkable stories of bedridden patients with bedsores that would not heal, until they experienced this “healing power of warmth,” which accelerated the healing process dramatically. People who could not go out in public for years because of these sores were now given a new sense of life. The stories were so powerful, many times the presenter found it difficult to contain their emotions…affecting emotional responses of tears in the nurses, and yes, even the doctors.
It quickly became apparent that the most effective presenters of this product were the eyewitnesses to this “healing power of warmth.” For them, sharing this message transformed into a mission. When a company’s message is fueled by employees’ strong inner belief and commitment, they feel the impact and power they have in changing the people they touch and making a difference. It then becomes their mission while changing their corporate culture.
Martin Luther King, Jr’s message of equal rights through nonviolent demonstration became a mission to millions, inspiring 200,000 people to join his “March on Washington” in 1963. His “I have a dream” message changed the United States racial perception and landscape forever.
Power Positioning work brings together some of the brightest minds in an organization to analyze their target customer and competitive landscape while discussing and debating their place in it. Channeling this creative chaos, and facilitating its innate friction is my most difficult and rewarding task. Invariably the group will hit a “valley of despair” when the overwhelm of this task hits “tilt”. At this point I ask the Founder or President, “Why did you develop this product?”, “Why did you found this company?”, “How are you trying to change the world?” Their answers are ripe with passion, and inevitably become the rallying point that inspires a critical breakthrough. It’s then their differentiating message becomes a mission. Unique features and functions become secondary to this unique value their product offers a customer. What a powerful moment!
Scott Augustine, the founder of Augustine Medical, is more than an executive that tells a clear, compelling, and unique message. He is an industry leader because he ‘lit the fire’ that transformed his corporate culture with a message that became a mission for everyone that touches their customers. I was not surprised that in August 2002, Inc. Magazine named Augustine Medical one of the most innovative small companies in America. To Augustine Medical, “the healing power of warmth” is more than a message – it is their mission.
- Kevan Kjar
Senior Consultant and Instructor