Mindsets & Manifestos

I’ve always thought of manifestos as politically-driven calls to action. Worldwide, the “Communist Manifesto” is probably the best known, but I suspect that you, like me, have never read a single word of it. In fact, it was news to me that businesses also have manifestos. I read Tim Cook’s version of The Apple Way soon after Steve Jobs passed away and now I understand why Apple’s employees are so motivated and loyal. Being a big fan of Apple and Steve Jobs, I figured I ought to look at the manifesto idea for Houweling’s. But where to start?

One thing you should know about me. If I lack expertise in a particular area of business, I seek the advice of those who have it. Fortunately, a trusted advisor of mine is adept at uncovering a company’s success factors and figuring out which ones are the most meaningful to the employees, and how to best communicate with them. John Bell, the retired CEO of Jacobs Suchard (now owned by Kraft Foods) is a no-nonsense leader who would never put ‘spin’ into anything resembling a strategy or vision statement.

When we started working on the project, we quickly concluded that Houweling’s manifesto would never be a stereotypical vision statement. It would represent our mindset – who we are, what we do, and what we believe in. I’m not one to pound my chest or set a pie-in-the-sky goal that employees will see as unreachable. Anyway, to make a long story short, John and I decided to base our manifesto on the true values of Houweling’s – culturally, we should continue to do what we are doing and keep learning to be ourselves, better. Mastery is a powerful word around here. One never reaches mastery, and that is fine with me as long as we never stop trying.

I encourage you to comment on the result of our efforts, entitled The Houweling’s Mindset.

As always, with my regards,


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