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Know What You’re FOR: A Growth Strategy for Work, An Even Better Strategy for Life

Compiled by Chuck Olson

Title: Know What You’re FOR: A Growth Strategy  for Work, An Even Better Strategy for Life


Author: Jeff Henderson

Copyright Date: 2019

In his book Know What You’re FOR: A Growth Strategy for Work, An Even Better Strategy for Life, author, speaker, and pastor Jeff Henderson delivers a truckload of leadership wisdom. Essentially, his writing is framed by two all-important questions: First, What do you want to be known FOR? And second, What are you known FOR?

From there, Henderson observes: The first question is what we say; the second question is what customers say. Within these two questions is the secret to growth. When the answers to these two questions match, growth happens. It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

Tucked into these pages are countless, thought-provoking ways to chase down how to answer both questions, especially the latter.

Check out these Book Notes to get an overview of the ways this book will contribute to how you think and act as a leader.

Signature Chuck

Book Description:

Your organization—business, church, or nonprofit—will experience unprecedented growth when you close the gap between these two game-changing questions: What are we known for? What do we want to be known for?

In Know What You’re FOR, entrepreneur and thought leader Jeff Henderson makes it clear that if we want to change the world with our products or our mission, then we must shift the focus of our messaging and marketing. Rather than self-promoting, we must transform our organizations to be people-centric. This sounds like a no-brainer, but looking closer shows just how little this is true and how impactful the change would be if it were. Whether you’re a business leader, a change advocate, or a movement maker, Know What You’re FOR will help you—and your organization—thrive.

It’s what happens when you create an organization focused on who it is FOR. This is the future. Thriving organizations will be more concerned with becoming raving fans of their customers than they are trying to convince customers to become raving fans of the organization. This isn’t theory. Jeff Henderson has experienced it.

Working with companies like Chick-fil-A and the Atlanta Braves, then serving as a pastor for 15 years at one of the country’s largest and most influential churches, North Point, Jeff knows what success looks like for healthy organizations and healthy lives. With fascinating stories from a host of entrepreneurs and Jeff’s remarkable career, Know What You’re FOR equips you with a simple strategy and the tools for extraordinary growth. You’ll discover how to:

  • Work FOR your current and future customers with a new, effective method
  • Be FOR your team and help your people reach full potential
  • Create a ripple impact by being FOR your community
  • Live and work your best by caring FOR yourself

In a hypercritical, cynical world, one that is often known for what it’s against, let’s be a group of people known for who and what we’re FOR.  It’s a powerful strategy for business. But more importantly, it is a revolutionary way to live.

Book Quotes: 

The secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. –Fyodor Dostoevsky LOCATION: 295

When customers realize an organization is truly for them, they return the favor. LOCATION: 356

In a hypercritical, cynical world, one that is often known for what it’s against, let’s be a group of people known for who and what we’re FOR. LOCATION: 363

Truett was more interested in the business growing people than he was in people growing the business. And that’s exactly how his business grew. LOCATION: 394

When you are FOR the people in and around your business, the people in and around your business become FOR you. This may sound altruistic, but I believe it is the way of the future for businesses and organizations going forward. I also believe it can help deal with a fundamental issue every organization fears—declining sales and momentum. LOCATION: 396

Instead of shouting about how great the business is, we need to start talking about how great our customers are and engage with them about their life. LOCATION: 416

Thriving businesses will practice less monologue and more dialogue. LOCATION: 417

In today’s world, what’s good for people is good for business. LOCATION: 432

For an organization to grow there are four groups to be FOR:

  • the customer
  • the team
  • the community
  • and you.
    LOCATION: 439

To get there, here’s a brief road map of where we’re going:

  1. FOR the Customer
    One of the primary ways a business grows is by creating a sales force for free. Everyone understands the value of positive word-of-mouth advertising. LOCATION: 448
  2. FOR the Team
    An organization cannot create a healthy customer culture with an unhealthy team culture. When a team understands the organization and leadership are FOR them, they return the favor. One of the most important lessons we can’t afford to forget in any business is this: A customer is treated like the team is treated. LOCATION: 454
  3. FOR the Community
    It’s no longer enough to be the best company IN the world. It’s about being the best company FOR the world. LOCATION: 470
  4. FOR You
    In order to breathe healthy life into the organization, you must ensure you’re breathing it in first. The best gift you can give your customers, your team, and your community is an inspired, rejuvenated, fully alive you.
    LOCATION: 481

The organizations that understand this and shift the focus from the business to the customer will win the heart of the customer. And the heart of the customer is the great battleground. When you do this effectively, customers start talking positively. They notice you are FOR them. In turn, they become FOR you. It’s as if they have a personal, vested interest in supporting the business. They become your sales force . . . for free. This is the fertile ground where positive word-of-mouth advertising begins to grow. LOCATION: 539

As Scott Cook, cofounder of Intuit and a billionaire director of both Procter and Gamble and eBay, correctly points out, “A brand is no longer what it tells consumers it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is.” LOCATION: 544

This leads to our two questions that will follow us throughout the rest of the book: 1. What do we want to be known FOR? 2. What are we known FOR? “What do we want to be known FOR?” is our vision. It’s our big idea. It’s our niche, our foothold, in the marketplace. The first question is the one we answer. Here lies the purpose, the vision, the why…“What are we known FOR?” is the customers’ experience of our vision. It’s their reflection of whether they are experiencing the purpose and vision of the organization. The first question is what we say; the second question is what customers say. Within these two questions is the secret to growth. When the answers to these two questions match, growth happens. It’s that simple. And it’s that hard. LOCATION: 693-698

When what you want to be known FOR is actually what you are known FOR, customers become a sales force for free by telling others about you. LOCATION: 705

Joey Reiman, author of The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy, says, “Purpose is where your company’s distinctive gifts intersect with the needs of the world.” LOCATION: 735

What does your organization want to be known FOR? Once you have a clear, concise, and compelling answer to this question, your next step is to connect it with the second question…
“What Are We Known FOR?” The first question is for us to answer. The second question is for the customers to answer. “What do we want to be known FOR?” is the brand promise. “What are we known FOR?” reveals how well we are delivering on the promise. LOCATION: 815

These four strategies will help you keep the main thing the main thing:
1. What you see
2. What you celebrate
3. Where you meet
4. What you talk about

Words are powerful, but research tells us over and over again that words plus images are more powerful. The walls of your organization should be dripping visually with vision. And yes, this can happen for virtual organizations as well. LOCATION: 969

There’s nothing quite like seeing the business in real time, up close and personal. It’s why I love having our leadership meetings in the community and not always at the church offices. The location reminds us of our purpose. LOCATION: 1021

To help us get there, let me introduce you to the essence of the FOR strategy. I believe this is the pathway to future success for any organization that wants to thrive and grow: Winning organizations of tomorrow will be more concerned with becoming fans of their customers instead of convincing customers to become fans of the organization. LOCATION: 1076

If your business is going to truly be positioned to be FOR your customer, you must create systems to leverage the power of customer engagement. Customer engagement is the new customer service. What’s the difference between the two? Customer service is reactive; customer engagement is proactive. LOCATION: 1148

The invisible barrier is when companies stay exclusively on their own social media platforms, never venturing onto the platforms of their customers. LOCATION: 1202

It’s why one of my favorite insights from Andy Stanley is this: “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” This isn’t just a great thought; it’s a great system. LOCATION: 1368

The more personable you are, the more remarkable you are. LOCATION: 1384

The better a friend you are to your customers, the better a friend your customers will be to you. This is why small is the new big. LOCATION: 1424

This is a mantra to repeat to yourself and the team each and every day: Personable leads to remarkable. Remarkable leads to memorable. LOCATION: 1460

A megaphone approach highlights the business where the primary emphasis is promotion. Instead, think of social media as a telephone—an opportunity to have a conversation with your customers. LOCATION: 1556

For companies to truly leverage social media, they are going to have to up their game with personal interaction. The more personable the interaction is, the more remarkable the experience will be. LOCATION: 1567

There’s often a perception that email is a hated necessity of life. The reason for this isn’t because of email. It’s because email isn’t leveraged in the right way. LOCATION: 1577

Your email list is of greater value than your social media followers because you have more control over what gets seen. LOCATION: 1580

We started sending emails that featured, for example, a Spotify Christmas playlist. The next email included a college football bowl schedule while the next one included a Christmas breakfast recipe. Each one included a year-end giving button. The open rates of these emails were 30 percent while the standard for open rates is generally 24 percent. LOCATION: 1593

As Peter Drucker reportedly said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”…Your culture is created by default or by design. There is no middle ground. We’re either moving forward or backward. LOCATION: 1786

The best ideas are often the simplest. They are often the easiest to ignore as well. The handwritten note is by far one of the best ways to show someone on your team you are FOR them. LOCATION: 1891

To become better organizations, we need to become better at meetings. When we become better at meetings, we become better at intentionally developing the team.

Three years ago, I decided to give it a try. I started framing my meetings around these three sections, with the corresponding questions under each one as a guide.

  • Thought Leadership: How can we see and shape the future?
  • People Leadership: Am I growing? Are we growing?
  • Project Leadership: How can we be more effective and efficient at the same time?
    LOCATION: 2063

One of the ways you reinforce the mission and vision is to say it over, and over and over and over again. Leaders are repeaters. LOCATION: 2186

Great ideas elevate. Great ideas elevate the mission. Great ideas elevate the purpose. Great ideas elevate customer interaction. But most important of all, great ideas elevate the people on the team. LOCATION: 2203

From ideation to implementation. It’s not about having a great idea. It’s about executing that great idea. LOCATION: 2209

Vision rarely repeated is quickly forgotten. LOCATION: 2226

How the team is treated is eventually how the customer is treated. LOCATION: 2273

Here’s how this works: When people who aren’t your customers speak positively about your organization to people who are your customers, it increases loyalty on the part of the customers. People want to feel good about the companies and organizations they support. One of the ways to do this is to do good for goodness’ sake, no strings attached. LOCATION: 2351

When people feel a sense of belonging, they aren’t just buying a product; they are buying purpose. As a result, each purchase creates an even deeper emotional bond with the customer. LOCATION: 2399

Thriving organizations understand how to transition people from benefiting from the mission to participating in the mission. LOCATION: 2505

Without community, you’re a commodity. LOCATION: 2564

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve observed is a genuine care, respect, and love for their digital community. This creates an emotional bond that leads to a loyal following. Here’s how I think they did it:

  • Listen to the community.
  • Talk with the community.
  • Celebrate the community.
    LOCATION: 2592

Credibility leads to influence. Influence leads to community. Community leads to belonging. Belonging leads to FOMO. LOCATION: 2675

Tim Tassopoulos is one of the nicest people I know. He’s also one of the sharpest. Both explain his career path from working as a high school student at a local Chick-fil-A to eventually becoming president of the company. Even though I’ve been gone from Chick-fil-A for quite a while now, Tim is still kind enough to have lunch with me, which reinforces the first sentence on this page. At each lunch, I come with a series of questions for Tim, hoping to soak up as much wisdom as I can. A few years ago, I asked him a fantastic question: “What’s your definition of success?” Well, at least I thought it was fantastic. “That’s the wrong question,” Tim said. And before you think his response puts the first sentence on this page in jeopardy, he kept going: “Success is measuring yourself against other people. Excellence is measuring yourself against your own potential. When you choose excellence, you move closer to your potential. You’ve got a lot of potential, Jeff. The question isn’t about success; the question is, ‘Will you move closer to your potential?’” LOCATION: 2761

If we’re going to move anywhere close to our potential, we’re going to have to remain inspired. LOCATION: 2785

Ironically, thriving companies are inspired companies. You feel it. You sense it. You experience it. It takes inspiration for a company to say, “It’s not enough to be the best company in the world; we must be the best company FOR the world.” LOCATION: 2792

Your life moves to a better place when you move at a sustainable pace. LOCATION: 2882

Rest isn’t for the weak; rest is for the wise. LOCATION: 2898

Several years ago, I came up with a personal challenge called Think 30. The challenge was to think for thirty minutes a day. It could be about something at work or something personal; sometimes I just stared at a blank page. Some days were frustrating. But sometimes it happened. I got an idea I never would have gotten otherwise. I never knew when it would happen, and that’s the point. Thinking is like fishing. Some days are better than others, but you never catch something unless you show up. LOCATION: 2928

A great day begins the night before. LOCATION: 2954

Note: should you wish to find any quote in its original context, the Kindle “location” is provided after each entry.




Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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