35 years of storytelling
My favorite day every month comes when a new issue of Virginia Business lands on my desk. Each magazine tracks emerging economic trends and the ongoing evolution of business leadership in the commonwealth.
But for me, the impact is much more than just a good read about important business topics. Each issue of this magazine represents the hard work and professionalism of a team of dedicated employees and freelancers who write stories, edit copy, shoot photos, lay out pages and sell advertisers on the value of our readership and content.
Since Virginia Business launched its first issue 35 years ago, the magazine has published 419 regular issues. That’s one each month, with the exception of last spring, when pandemic-induced advertising cancellations forced the combination of May and June into a single issue. Fortunately, with your support, we quickly resumed our normal monthly schedule.
While daily newspapers have long been called the first rough draft of history, a monthly magazine at its best can provide a bit more opportunity for circumspection and analysis, telling more of a story and adding the context for why it matters.
Storytelling is the essence of all good writing; this rule applies to journalism as much as any other kind of writing. Furthermore, the ability to construct a good story is essential to leadership, especially in business. Your team at work wants to know what is expected, but they also need to believe that what is expected is possible.
A “just the facts” approach usually falls short of being persuasive. Facts are important, but simply being correct doesn’t go very far. Good leaders help those around them to see possibilities. Greatness happens when an organization believes in the possible. Failure is the most likely outcome when things seem impossible.
Similarly, business strategy is more than just a vision, a mission statement, values, goals, strengths and weaknesses or metrics. Strategic execution requires ongoing conversations. What’s the story of your strategy? Getting that story across to investors, co-workers, customers, new hires and prospects takes more than just the proverbial “elevator pitch.”
Sometimes leaders feel as if they are repeating themselves over and over, but repetition is what it takes to communicate values. Consistency drives belief and buy-in.
At Virginia Business, our values are Leadership, Integrity, Balance, Respect and Success.
“Leadership” refers to the fact that our readers are leaders. We also strive to occupy a leadership position in Virginia. We are a small business that strives to do big things by consistently punching above our weight.
The integrity of our journalism is sacrosanct, but so is the integrity of all our dealings with customers, suppliers and other business associates.
“Balance” means telling both sides of a story, without falling into the trap of equal time, equal weight or false equivalencies. Balance also means work-life balance, something that we strive to encourage at the magazine as well as for our readers.
“Respect” means being careful about how we use your time, and it also characterizes our approach to reporting on the many diverse industries, companies and organizations in the commonwealth. We believe in the importance of treating our business associates, including sources, co-workers, suppliers and all other stakeholders, with respect.
As for “success,” there’s a reason why Virginia is consistently among the top states for doing business in the United States. Collectively, Virginians value success and we believe in getting the right results by doing things the right way.
For Virginia Business, we are taking this moment to celebrate 35 years of storytelling and 35 years of business success. It’s been a great run and one that’s far from over.
Many thanks to all of you for being a part of our continuing story. We look forward to telling the stories of your successes to come.