Don Porter, CEO of United Recyclers Group, LLC (URG), based in Texas, US, tells us about the group’s upcoming event – the URG 2022 Educational Conference by reflecting on the history bestowed at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, the site of this year’s conference.
New Orleans has been selected to be the site of the URG 2022 Educational Conference. It is a fabulous city with a fantastic history. During a pre-planning visit to the city, I took the opportunity to visit one of the city’s major attractions, the National WWII History Museum. I spent a day and a half going through the various exhibits and was amazed and inspired by the courage and gallantry of the individuals that served and sacrificed so much for the US and other allied nations during this dark period of our civilization. During my visit, I happened to read the purpose and the mission for which the Museum was created. This statement intrigued me.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.
Once I returned home, I began to reflect on my visit to the museum and the significance of why it was established. I began to understand the importance and need for a society to study its history and how that history impacts current and future events. History does not just happen; it is made. It was made by real people who faced real challenges. Who had uncertainty about the future, just as we do.
Author David McCullough said, “… history is not the past. If you think about it, no one ever lived in the past… They lived in the present. The difference is that it was their present, not ours. They were caught up in the living moment exactly like we are and with no more certainty of how things would turn out than we have.”
Looking back into the past to what is called ‘history’, we can better understand the present and predict the future. We can track our origins and compare past patterns with present and future patterns with history. Modern technology teaches us new ways of doing things. Looking back at history tells us why we do these things.
Each organization/company has a history. A company’s history is the founding bedrock upon which it stands and continues to grow. Although it is natural to want to highlight only the good times, an authentic history embraces every aspect of a company’s legacy – both high and low points. And while every company’s history is unique, most should share a few key elements.
A company’s history should include the founding values and original vision for the future. Companies are seldom founded on a whim. Whether they are founded to start a specific business, solve a specific problem, or assist a specific community, companies are created with a vision of being a force for positive change and shaping a better future. The founding vision, in most instances, forms the very heart of the organization. It encompasses the problems the founders wished to solve and the tenets that guided their actions in creating a positive change and outcome.
The company’s growth, milestones and significant triumphs are a part of its history. Capturing and reflecting on moments of growth and success is one of the most enjoyable aspects of compiling and sharing a company’s history. It is important to reflect that these successes did not occur in a vacuum. They were built upon the combined efforts of strong ethical leadership, an industrious staff, the communities that support the company and the customers who placed their trust in its brand.
Its history acknowledges and chronicles past defeats and hardships that were overcome in building the company and its business. No company or organization that ever accomplished anything worth doing did so without its share of failures.
However, when you read the histories of some companies, you would think they experienced nothing but success throughout their time in business. It’s not easy to chronicle past defeats and failures; however, acknowledging and sharing them alongside the company’s successes demonstrates how the company learned and grew from those mistakes.
A company’s history should include its impact on the community in which it serves. Every company has an economic and social impact on the community in which it was founded. A company’s successes and shortcomings are felt either directly or indirectly by the communities that support it. Company histories should chronicle the events that helped define how the company and the community grew together throughout the years.
Knowing and embracing your company’s history is an effective tool for building a lasting culture and guiding leadership. It is a powerful connective force between you and your customers. A company’s culture matters. It is the driving force that attracts new talent, builds morale, and inspires innovation more than ever before. Throughout each year in business and with each hurdle your company overcomes, its culture and its enduring legacy grow stronger, culminating into a set of principles and practices that serve as the foundation for achievement and strong, ethical relationships.
Managing a company’s history may be relegated to the back burner. However, as the company, its customer base, and its reputation grow, so does the importance of effectively managing its history.
As I stated earlier, looking back into the past to what our history is, we can better understand the present and predict the future. We can track our origins and compare past patterns with present and future patterns with history. We learn from our past mistakes and successes. With this knowledge, business leaders can more effectively set goals and strategic initiatives to ensure their organization’s success and long-term growth.
The 2022 URG Educational Conference is dedicated to honoring the past, understanding the present and looking forward to the future. We hope the conference inspires the attendees to remember the history of their organization, reflect on the present, and be better equipped to lead their company into the future!
Come join us at the URG Educational Conference April 7-9th, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana.