The Inspiration Index

The Most Inspiring Companies operate at a different level than do other companies and can be credited for leveraging one of four Inspiration DNA Categories and championing at least one of seven Drivers of Inspiration.

The Four DNA Categories of Inspiration

The research identified those companies on the Most Inspiring List fall into one of the following DNA Categories of Inspiration:

  1. Dogooders—companies that are inspired to demonstrate their good deeds and that make the world a better place for others.
    Newman’s Own is a perfect example where a portion of their sales are donated to a variety of worthy causes.
  2. Lovers—companies that are inspired by their commitment and dedication to their employees’ well‐being and who in turn demonstrate passion, care and devotion to customers.
    SAS, the only B2B Company that made the list because of their commitment to their employees, encourages them to donate 40 hours annually of their time (company paid) to support needs in their local communities.
  3. Dreamers—companies that are inspired by, tap into and empower others to achieve their aspirations.
    Apple leverages their innovation to help people feel smart, creative and empowered.
  4. Heroes—companies that are inspired by their ethics and values, put a stake in ground to do the right thing and are not afraid to break the status quo.
    Ford lost $14 billion in the 4th quarter of 2009, yet chose not to take any bail
    out money. Consumers responded favorably and Ford rebounded because of their courage and strength to stand behind what they believed was the right thing to do.

The Seven Key Drivers of Inspiration

The research also identified the follow seven drivers of inspiration:

  1. Authenticity—demonstrating crystal clarity in understanding what you stand for as company/brand (your core principles) and being fully transparent and consistent in how you live up to those core principles.
  2. Affirmation—the ability to leverage what you stand (your core principles) for so as to tap into the dreams and aspirations of others, and demonstrate how you can make their dreams become a reality.
  3. Vision—engaging all stakeholders to share a broader and bigger purpose, one that ignites a sustainable passion in them to be part of helping you realize your compelling vision as it help them realize their vision.
  4. Story—the ability to leverage the use of metaphor, allegory, symbols, and drama to communicate and perpetuate the significance of your mission and overall purpose; and by creating community with others who demand to be a part of something special and bigger than themselves.
  5. Progress—committed to the necessary sequential steps and due diligence to pave a  pathway for growth; a road that serves as milestones and guardrails as the organization head towards certain destination in realizing its vision while being true to what it stands for.
  6. Credibility—a willingness to put a stake in the ground and never compromise no matter what the cost so as to continually generate and sustain a high level of trust and goodwill with all stakeholders.
  7. Servant Leadership—a commitment to serving others, your community and demonstrating that people, culture and purpose, and doing what’s right are more important than process and the bottom-line.