Since we announced the name and launched the brand last October a lot of people have asked me how we landed on Northbound. It’s a great story and one that I love telling. You’ve all heard the statement “when the pupil is ready the teacher appears.” Well in our case it went something like this…“when the company was ready the name appeared.”
Although we didn’t know it at the time, when senior leadership declared “our company is going to be healthy from the top down,” and affirmed through our actions and commitment of resources that the health of the organization is, and remains, the number one strategic initiative we started to move closer to the new name. We committed to be authentic, transparent, and honest. First with ourselves, then with each other, and subsequently with the entire staff. Bob Dylan once said “chaos is a friend of mine.” Well, it’s not a friend of mine. I don’t need chaos, I need clarity. And the work we’re doing at Northbound is providing both clarity and cohesiveness.
In a previous blog I described Transformational Leadership. This is the term we use to describe our leadership style, and it has resulted in clarity of purpose, an infectious passion for the work we do, and the alignment of our values and behaviors. We demonstrate commitment in resolving personal issues that get in the way of our leadership potential, acknowledge our shortcomings, ask for help, and demonstrate respect for ourselves and each other.
As the direct result of our commitment to a healthy culture everything started to fall into place. Our mission became crystal clear. Our vision emerged. People were put into the right positions. Resources were aligned. The entire organization clearly understood the direction of the company. We started to talk about the Northbound Train. You started to hear statements like “are you on or off the train?” and “you can’t straddle a moving train!” A commitment board was placed at the Behr Center under the train symbol with the requirement to declare your commitment to personal and professional development.
We started to get on-board.
The name was staring us in the face. Heading north is positive. It says we’re moving in the right direction and doing so with purpose. It fits with everything we believe. We couldn’t have chosen a better name for our company.