Anniversaries are important milestones. Organizations reflect on their heritage and accomplishments. In doing so, they build and widen stakeholder bases, enabling organizations to grow for the future.
I’ve recommended anniversary celebrations to client companies before. In each case, the results were phenomenal, because they took the effort to mount anniversary celebrations. In 1978, I was advising Uniroyal Tire Company. They wanted to sponsor a 40th anniversary for Little League Baseball. My research revealed that their company had in fact founded LLB, which younger generations of management did not know.
In 1998, I advised the Disney corporation and reminded them that Walt Disney’s 100th birthday in 2001 would offer great marketing and positioning opportunities. In 2007, I was advising the credit union industry of America, reminding them that their upcoming 100th anniversary in 2009 would provide outreach opportunities for chapter members around the country. This was news to them, and they jumped on it with relish. I’m the person who planted the ideas and strategy. Great organizations work tirelessly to celebrate and involve their customers.
When one reflects at changes, he-she sees directions for the future. Change is innovative. Customs come and go…some should pass and others might well have stayed with us. The past is an excellent barometer for the future. One can always learn from the past, dust it off and reapply it. Living in the past is not good, nor is living in the present without wisdom of the past.
Here are some recent celebrations that drew acclaim and participation: Rice University, 100th in 2012. Star Furniture, 100th in 2012. Houston Symphony Orchestra, 100th in 2013. Civil Rights Act, 50th. Beatles coming to America, 50th. The Port of Houston, 100th in 2014. “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key, 200th in 2014.
These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2015: The Galleria, 45th. The Astrodome, 50th. University of Texas System, 50th. Houston Ballet, 60th. Houston Grand Opera, 60th. Texas Medical Center, 70th. “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, 150th.
These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2016: Houston Community College, 45th. Star Trek, 50th. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 75th. Houston Livestock Show and Rode, 85th. Gulf Oil, 100th. The Houston Chronicle, 115th. University of Texas Medical Branch, 125th. Scholz Garden in Austin (Texas’ oldest bar), 150th. Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity, 350th.
These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2017: NASA’s move to Houston, 55th. launching of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, 60th. The Alley Theatre, 70th. Texas Southern University, 70th. The Gulf Freeway (Texas’ first), 70th. The University of Houston, 90th. Exxon (Humble Oil & Refining Company), 100th. Phillips Petroleum, 100th.
These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2018: Metropolitan Transit Authority, 40th. Houston Public Television, 65th. Baylor College of Medicine moved to Houston, 75th. The Heights annexed by City of Houston, 100th. End of World War I, 100th. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, 200th.
These anniversaries should be celebrated in 2019: Houston Intercontinental Airport, 50th. NASA lunar landing, 50th. Suez Canal, 150th.
There are seven kinds of anniversary reunions:
- Pleasurable. Seeing an old friend who has done well, moved in a new direction and is genuinely happy to see you too. These include chance meetings, reasons to reconnect and a concerted effort by one party to stay in the loop.
- Painful. Talking to someone who has not moved forward. It’s like the conversation you had with them 15 years ago simply resumed. They talk only about past matters and don’t want to hear what you’re doing now. These include people with whom you once worked, old romances, former neighbors and networkers who keep turning up like bad pennies and colleagues from another day and time.
- Mandated. Meetings, receptions, etc. Sometimes, they’re pleasurable, such as retirement parties, open houses, community service functions. Other times, they’re painful, such as funerals or attending a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting.
- Instructional. See what has progressed and who have changed. Hear the success stories. High school reunions fit into this category, their value depending upon the mindset you take with you to the occasion.
- Reflect Upon the Past. Reconnecting with old friends, former colleagues and citizens for whom you have great respect. This is an excellent way to share each other’s progress and give understanding for courses of choice.
- Benchmarking. Good opportunities to compare successes, case studies, methodologies, learning curves and insights. When “the best” connects with “the best,” this is highly energizing.
- Goal Inspiring. The synergy of your present and theirs inspires the future. Good thinkers are rare. Stay in contact with those whom you know, admire and respect. It will benefit all involved.
7 Levels of Learning from the Past:
- Re-reading, reviewing and finding new nuggets in old files.
- Applying pop culture to today.
- Review case studies and their patterns for repeating themselves.
- Discern the differences between trends and fads.
- Learn from successes and three times more from failures.
- Transition your focus from information to knowledge.
- Apply thinking processes to be truly innovative.
When we see how far we have come, it gives further direction for the future. Ideas make the future happen. Technology is but one tool of the trade. Futurism is about people, ideas and societal evolution, not fads and gimmicks. The marketplace tells us what they want, if we listen carefully. We also have an obligation to give them what they need.
Apply history to yourself. The past repeats itself. History is not something boring that you once studied in school. It tracks both vision and blind spots for human beings. History can be a wise mentor and help you to avoid making critical mistakes.
About the Author
Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.
Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.