Find and Sound Your Barbaric Yawp

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world” –Walt Whitman

Every business needs to find its barbaric yawp and shout it out.  Mr. Anderson found his barbaric yawp in Dead Poet’s Society:

The problem is you can’t just go online and search for yawps on Amazon – all that shows up are tee shirts or baby onesies or stickers with the word yawp on them.  There’s no great definition of a yawp: “a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.”

So, what is a business’s yawp?

In a single word – – purpose – the one statement that says who they are, why they exist and why you should do business with them.   One of my favorite recent management books is Dan Pink’s Drive.  I liked the book so much I got certified in Drive theory and have read all his other books.   In defining what motivates us in the Motivation 3.0 world, Pink points to purpose as a core driver. It’s well documented that the millennial generation needs that sense of purpose to be engaged.

Why sounds your yawp over the rooftops?

Let people know your yawp.  Give them a reason to work with you, hire you, buy your products.  Add value everyday in the great conversation that is social media.  There’s a ton of noise out there but there are many of us always searching for strong voices to listen to, to admire, to converse with.  Not everything you say has to be what you do, in fact, it shouldn’t be.  Share music, articles of interest, let us connect with you and your business.

How do I find my business’ yawp?

Here’s a quick exercise for identifying the organization’s purpose and almost more importantly what the employees actually believe that purpose to be.

  • Pull in your team and hand them each a note card.
  • Ask them to anonymously write down the company’s purpose in approximately a 6-word sentence in the next 5 minutes.
  • Collect them all and read them aloud.
  • Are they similarly aligned or all over the place?
  • If you’re the manager or the owner, is it the same as your yawp?

If your team isn’t singing the company’s yawp from the same sheet of music as the owner or the manager, how can anyone be motivated on either side of the buy – sell equation to work with you.

If you’re looking for assistance in finding your purpose, give me a yawp.