Charles Dickens was an Englishman, social critic and author of some of the world’s most well-known fiction stories and hailed as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. Great Expectations was set in 1812 and follows the life of Pip, an orphan child who is on an amazing journey of personal growth and character development to become a proper gentleman. Uh, Yvonne…What in the world does this have to do with the business industry? Don’t give up on me yet… The original ending of the book was later revised based on another editorial critic who said that its predecessor was far too sad. So with ego slightly bruised, Dickens rewrote it (Yeah, someone asked Charles Dickens to rewrite one of the most renowned literary pieces in history!) so that Pip marries Estella instead of the original ending which had them passing each other on the street with no apparent love or future in sight. It was then hailed as one of the most brilliant stories and influential literary pieces to be held in ones hands before best-seller lists existed.
Fast forward to 2012. You’ve got this nice small/medium-sized business that’s been running pretty well for several years but with the current “recession” in full swing, you’ve hit a bit of a speed bump (or maybe several nails in 3 tires). You’re sales are down and Abe Lincoln is the reflection of your ROI. You drive to your office wondering if sooner than later your doors will look like one of many that have “Now Leasing” over the door instead of your company sign above it. So what’s a business owner to do when you feel like you can’t spare a nickel, let alone a check with more than (2) 0’s to boost your business and the bottom line? Rethink and re-strategize. Let’s learn from that earlier Dickens example.
Dickens’ Great Expectations
Business in Jeopardy
|An established masterpiece of literature that already had a solid reputation & some notable success||A well-established but slowly declining business with a seemingly solid clientele but not producing an adequate profit margin. Needing to resort to downsizing personnel, departments or “doing away with” vital parts of your business because of funding.|
|An outside critic thought he could make it better||Believe it or not, an outside source sometimes can have the best perspective of what your business needs to survive. Sometimes when we’re too close to it, we need a lens adjustment to see outside of what we have been doing and expand our perspective outside of “what we already know”.|
|Considered another outcome. The change embraced and implemented helped the book become one of the greatest among classical literature and Dickens was hailed as a literary genius.||Maybe it’s a website if you don’t have one. Maybe it’s
rebranding and testing the market with a new look/feel for your online and print marketing materials. Strategize as if it’s business warfare and the life of your business depends on it. Most times how we start is not always how we finish and it’s ok to embrace that. Oftentimes that is the sweetest success and thus the story of getting there!
I’m sure Dickens didn’t expect anyone to come along and tweak his masterpiece but surprisingly, he was open to the idea that someone may just have a better way. The Great Expectations Pip had, were constantly evolving with every ebb and flow of life and unforeseen circumstance. For the sake of the novels success, Dickens was forced to consider the revision if he wanted to see Great Expectations become all that it deserved to be and that which he desired.
What are you willing to do to achieve the Great Expectations you have for your masterpiece?