a man reading a book about funeral homes

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

There’s a lot we can learn from literature. See how these classic stories can inspire great leadership and steer your funeral home toward success.

 

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Author: Lewis Carroll

 

Story: The young girl Alice walks through a mirror into a strange land that’s a reflection of her own, but yet, not quite the same.

 

The lesson learned: One of the best takeaways from Alice’s adventures comes from the following quote by the Red Queen, “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” The takeaway? In order for your funeral home to succeed, you can’t just keep adhering to the status quo. By simply doing things the same way, over and over, you’re going to end up in the same place. Instead, your funeral home needs to move forward, innovate, and think outside the box to get ahead.

 

Green Eggs and Ham

Author: Dr. Seuss

 

Story: The character Sam-I-Am insists that an unnamed character tries the green eggs and ham, even though the unnamed character is unsure of what he wants. At first, the unnamed character refuses, but finally accepts Sam-I-Am’s suggestion, and enjoys the green eggs and ham.

 

The lesson learned: Many families have never had to plan a funeral or memorial service, and so they don’t fully understand the importance that rituals and traditions play in the healing process. The takeaway here is that it’s important to educate your families about the benefits of a funeral service to help them better understand why we have them.

 

Moby Dick

Author: Herman Melville

 

Story: Captain Ahab is a prime example of how not to be a leader. He risks everything for revenge on a whale, despite several warnings not to follow through with his plans. And it costs him not only his life but also the lives of most of his crew.

 

The lesson learned: Good leaders listen to those around them. As a funeral home owner, this means taking advice from those around you. Listen to members of your staff, families in your community, and other thought leaders in the funeral profession.  

 

Meditations

Author: Marcus Aurelius

 

Story: While there’s not really a story, Meditations are the musings from a man who once ruled the massive Roman Empire. The book is a collection of the emperor’s journal entries, which eventually earned him the title of “philosopher-king.”

 

The lesson learned: The whole collection of the emperor’s writings offers important insights on everyday life, which makes it hard to narrow things down to just one life lesson. So instead, we chose three important quotes to keep in mind when running the day-to-day operations of your funeral home.

 

“The universe is change, life is an opinion.” — While we might have our own personal feelings about changing trends in the funeral profession, remember, it’s not up to us. We have no control over them. But we can control what we do to adapt to them.

 

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live in a consistent way.” — Your funeral home needs a strategy for the future, otherwise it will struggle to make it through the present.

 

 “The measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about.” — Always remember what got you into funeral service in the first place. It’s the care and compassion you bring when helping others. By making that a priority, your funeral home will always have a place in the community.

 

Don Quixote

Author: Miguel de Cervantes

 

Story: Don Quixote, despite numerous failures along the way, pursues his dream of becoming a knight and reviving the code of chivalry across the land.

 

The lesson learned: It’s ok to fail. In fact, failures and setbacks are common in any business. But by staying passionate about your vision and disciplined in your business strategy, you’ll overcome any setbacks and achieve your dreams.

 

As a funeral director, it’s important to understand how to embrace change, while still maintaining important traditions. Download our free eBook, the Modern Funeral Director, for more tips and advice on how to adapt for the future.