Round Wheel And A Square Hole

Round Wheel And A Square Hole

We have just come off of another great conference, NCURA 2013.

We have always done well at these conferences, even more so in the past few years.

Last year when considering our success at these conferences, I wrote an article entitled “InfoEd Secret Sauce”. It described the quality of employees we have here and how they are such a huge factor,  in the success of the conferences.

This year I noticed something different, or maybe I just saw it through a different eye. I struggled to label what it was or even be able to describe it well.

The other day Netflix suggested a movie for me, Elizabethtown. It’s a movie about a man who’s estranged father passes away and he is forced to handle the arrangements of his passing. It’s a quirky movie encompassing  the strain of personal/ family oriented pressures, unsuspected love and a journey that preaches strong messages. I had seen the movie before but it was worth watching again.

A quote fell out of the movie that I had missed in previous viewings. 

“We are not just employees. We are denizens of greatness.

The world is full of those who achieve through negativity or theft.

We succeed through original thought. “

Bulls eye! This was the perfect expression that encapsulated what I was trying to describe about this year’s conference.

Dissecting this quote…

“We are not just employees, we are denizens of greatness.”

This is  the perfect way of stating how we are not just people who come to work, watch the clock and go home. We are people, who belong to greatness. We are occupants or residents of greatness. We strive to go the extra mile. We believe and know we are the best. We care about what we do and know we are great enough to achieve it.

I believe it is vital that people look at their jobs in this way. Most people spend a significant amount of their life working. Most people spend more time working than they do with their family and friends. You need to be great at it regardless of what your job is.

I love to give everyone here perspective in this regard (good or bad) because in the midst of  supporting our clients, it’s easy to forget “we are denizens of greatness” or we need to keep striving for it. I consider it my job to tell them, remind them, and continually reinforce these goals.

As a result of our staff being ‘denizens of greatness” they witnessed a few different reactions from the attendees and other exhibitors at and around our booth..

I will break up these reactions into three separate categories:

  1. Respect. Many of the people and other vendors spent a significant amount of time at our booths and in our companionship. They enjoyed interacting with our staff. They were drawn to our knowledge, confidence, and greatness. We did not in any way present ourselves as pretentious or cocky.
  2. Threatened. There were some exhibitors that did not like the attention that we were getting. They were upset that we were drawing the most traffic. This was somehow making them feel inadequate and/or maybe jealous. Maybe their own self images were being challenged. It reminded me somewhat of how someone might think they are the best basketball player around and then a better player shows up. Even without that “super star” doing anything other than playing as well as they could, they are now threatened. 
  3. Flattery. Not only from the direct statements of the attendees but by way of vendors copying us. They look at what we do and try to take it on as their ideas. They of course never acknowledge this. They feel if they take things from us they will achieve our success. They do it with software functionality, concepts as well as marketing. They also did it with our “wheel”. The “wheel” is a perfect (albeit simple) example of this point. I will reveal what the wheel is in a moment.

These last two points support another section of the quote:

The world is full of those who achieve through negativity or theft.

We succeed through original thought. “

(As to the “wheel” this was something we brought to the conferences last year. It is a carnival/casino type wheel that stands upright as you spin it. It stops on a color and you get the prize that corresponds to where it stopped. We had a great time with this last year. )

Several vendors brought a wheel and prizes with them this year. They had not had them the previous year. They probably expected to have our success (greatness) just by having them at their booth. It was truly funny to see. It is also flattering that they chose to copy us. What was even funnier, and also downright sad, was that their booths remained dead. Somehow they must have thought our success was tied to this wheel. They were trying to get to greatness by pushing our round wheel through their square hole.

They were clearly not achieving greatness “through original thought”

All of this speaks to the other part of the quote:

The world is full of those who achieve through negativity, or theft.

We succeed through original thought”

They stole our ideas (wheel) and  they still could not succeed. By the way, we brought a different “prize game” with us this year. I suspect they will all go out and get one of those games for next year. They may never learn that the “prize game” is not what differentiates us from them. They may never lean that without “original thought” they will not succeed. They more than likely will continue to try and push our Round Wheel through their Square Hole”.

I applaud you whose actions, deliberate or not, support the goals articulated in prose.

I would also challenge those who do not embody it to do so, or to at least try. I am also sure you can find examples in your own life that support or contradict the concepts that I describe.

We had great attention but not because of the “prize” giveaways but because of the type of people we are. We are magnets of men (and women) and will always draw crowds and attention no matter what gimmicks (or not) we choose to bring with us. It’s not about the gimmicks, but rather about us being “denizens of greatness” and people are recognizing that, consciously or not, and are drawn to it.

I hope in your world there is such a person who points greatness out to you, or at least points you towards greatness. If that person is not you, be that person.

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