This week I had a big presentation at a big company. I was very excited about sharing my ideas on how I and my partners in crime wanted to help them. A big brand. A big name. Wow, wouldn’t that be great. We were setting out on making an impact. The presentation went well, not great, but well. We did a good job but it was not good enough. Not because they told us so. They were nice and told us they liked it. But I know we didn’t make the impact we were hoping for. Why? Because the premises were all wrong: I don’t really want to help companies. I hate companies. The departments, the politics, the management, the shareholders. I’m not good at helping companies. I’m great at helping people. I want to help people. But the people who were listening to us talk were not sitting there as human beings who wanted and needed help, they were sitting there as departments with the assignment to spend a certain amount of money on something they didn’t really seem to care for. No passion, no impact. No impact, no change.
I walked away and thought: There are so many companies with all this money. All these talented people. They have so many opportunities to make a difference. But they don’t care. The departments are working for a brand. The people seem to be working for their resume. Nobody is looking for ways to be of more value. Everyone is trying to retain the status quo.
So for a while on my way back home after the presentation I was disappointed. I was sad and even a little bit angry about the fact that in this business of mine I have to deal with people who just don’t get it. That it’s really hard to get them to understand that their business is personal. That their company is not a building made out of bricks. But that it is made out of people. That their mission is not to find a way to just make more money. But that they are here to create things that are so significant that people want be a part of whatever change it is they are trying to make. That is how the money is made. That when you create a product or service just because you think the market wants you to (not because YOU want to and BELIEVE you should), that when you do that, the end result is always a crappy product or service. An endless game where all parties keep competing on price and attention. But that what you really want is connection and commitment.
I was frustrated. But only for a moment or two. As I realized that it’s not true. My business is not fighting with the people who don’t get it. My business is about finding the ones who do. The ones with the passion and the personality to run a significant business. These are the people I want to help. These are the ones who give me the opportunity to make an impact. So to hell with the big corporations, the departments, the faceless brands. I need to stop bitching about them and spend more time helping you.
I know you’re out there.