How to Honor the Past and Build Support for the Future


By Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist™

A great way to honor the past and build support for the future is by celebrating milestones such as anniversaries.  This way, organizations can reflect on their heritage and accomplishments and in doing so, they are able to build and widen stakeholder bases and enable growth in the future.

Companies that take the time to mount anniversary celebrations can have phenomenal results.  One of these companies that I advised for was Uniroyal Tire Company.  They wanted to sponsor a 40th anniversary in 1979 for Little League Baseball.  My research revealed that their company had in fact been their first corporate sponsor when they were U.S. Rubber.  A lot of people were not aware of their contribution including the younger generations of management, so this was a great opportunity for them to draw attention to their company and gain new clients.

The Disney Corporation took advantage of an opportunity that would offer great marketing and positioning opportunities when they celebrated Walt Disney’s 100th birthday in 2001. Great organizations work tirelessly to celebrate and involve their customers.

Some recent celebrations that drew acclaim and participation include Rice University’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2012, Star Furniture’s 100th Anniversary Celebration 2012, Houston Symphony Orchestra’s100th Anniversary Celebration in 2013, and the Port of Houston’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, 100th in 2014.

There are seven kinds of anniversary reunions:

  1. Pleasurable

which includes seeing an old friend who has either 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Benchmarking.

Good opportunities to compare successes, case studies, methodologies, learning curves and insights.  When “the best” connects with “the best,” this is highly energizing.

  1. 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.

Ways to Learn 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 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 us 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.  It is not about fads and gimmicks.  The marketplace tells us what they want as long as we listen carefully.  We also have an obligation to give them what they need.

When one reflects on changes, they see directions for the future.  Change is innovative.  Customs come and go but some should pass and others should stay.  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.

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. 

Hank Moore has advised over 5,000 client organizations including public sector agencies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and 100 of the Fortune 500.  Contact Hank by phone at 713-668-0664, by email at [email protected], or visit his website at  Hank’s new book “Houston Legends” can be ordered at


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