Greetings. As we boarded the plane in Stockholm for the short flight to Venice, I told our children that this was one of the most remarkable places I had ever had the privilege to visit. It's "one of a kind" I suggested, hoping that they would find the very same magic here that captivated me on my first visit. And three days later it is safe to say that they too are in awe of this place. Sure there are some parts that seem to be falling apart. And there are way too many tourists in the most popular "tourist" destinations of San Marco, Rialto and the beach at Lido. But just off the beaten path most parts of this island city of canals, gondolas, narrow walkways, history and beautiful architecture is a city unlike any other place on earth. A place shaped by the water and navigated only by boat or a comfortable pair of shoes.
And it is even more brilliant when viewed through my maturing eyes and the eyes of our three children. "This place is simply awesome," our daughter Carly exclaimed the day we arrived. "Why can't we stay here?" our son Noah asked as we walked through the neighborhood of Dorsoduro under the light of a full moon. "This city is just amazing," our oldest daughter Sara agreed joining us here in the middle of three-and-a-half months of backpacking on her own across Europe.
Yes the city of Marco Polo and Antonio Vivaldi is alive and relatively well in 2011. And while it was one of the western world's most entrepreneurial and innovative communities in their days, its current reason to be is centered on being a unique and compelling destination for a world of travelers. All inspired by the fact that there is no other place like it. An inviting magnet for 20,000,000 visitors a year!
Which begs the question–"Is there another business or organization like yours?" And, if so, what can you do to be one of a kind? To be a magnet for your customers and prospects in the same way that Venice welcomes and satisfies its customers. Because while it's not the only unique place in the world, it has figured out how to leverage the power of being unlike any other place. And that's our challenge–even in the most crowded of industries…
We win in business and in life when we are truly different in ways that captivate those we have the privilege to serve. Maybe it's time for your company or organization to emulate this remarkable city that's been drawing people and ideas for centuries.