During my morning cup of coffee a friend’s photo came across my social feed. A simple stack of brightly colored boxes, her status read:
“Heaven awaited me at work today.”
What followed was a slew of comments – in several different languages… friends, co-workers, and followers all voicing their love of the limited-time-only, highly-coveted Girl Scout Cookie. Thin Mints, Samoas, and Savannah Smiles… these cookies evoke such emotion.
Honestly, I have never been a big fan of Girl Scout Cookies. I’m not a fan of boxed cookies in general. When I eat cookies, which really isn’t all that often, I want hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies. I just don’t really get it. But knowing the allegiance – no, obsession – everyone else has for these little morsels of goodness I wonder how they’ve created such a loyal following.
The Girl Scout Cookies website boasts:
Every cookie has a mission: To help girls do great things. These cookies help teach girls 5 essential life skills: Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics
And, it seems they manage to do all of that while providing their customers a great product with heart and a history. But that’s just the beginning. These little cookies also create support systems for the Girl Scouts selling them. Not to mention the revenue generated that furthers leadership projects, summer camps, travel, and a mountain of other services for Girl Scouts and their communities. It seems Girl Scouts can teach us valuable lessons about creating engaged communities, loyal customers, and strong leaders.
Business success begins with goal setting. Setting realistic, specific goals and then implementing a plan to reach them is an important first step in the creation of any successful brand. We also should not disregard the value of cooperation, team building, and other skills critical to to the goal-setting process.
Business moves faster than ever in today’s digital landscape. Businesses operate in real-time. Developing the ability to assess and respond responsibly is not optional. Technology has created a customer base that expects and demands instant interaction. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are critical to community building and consumer trust.
Understanding commerce, marketing funnels, and the sales process is critical to creating and implementing successful business strategies. Knowing who your customer is, what your customer wants, and how to provide it within your budgetary limit is key to successful business and customer relationships.
This goes beyond selling. It goes beyond being able to get along with others. People skills include listening, team involvement, and conflict resolution. Without these it is impossible to build devoted teams, loyal audiences, and strong customer networks.
By far, the most valuable lesson we can learn from the Girl Scouts is how to conduct business while remaining honest, trustworthy, and reliable. These positive values and ethical prinicples inspire others to act. The intersection of ethics and leadership empowers organizations, teams, and customers alike to make a difference.
Strong leadership drives organizations toward challenging but attainable goals. And producing a quality product allows attention to be focused on values, employees, and customers. These things combined equal excellence in business. More than selling cookies, leadership training is the focus of the Girls Scout’s mission. The cookies are a tool used to accomplish that purpose. Girl Scouting is designed to help the girls grow into leaders of courage, confidence, and character… imagine if all of our leaders possessed such admirable qualities.
Valuable, unexpected lessons from a box of cookies.