Three Years Too Late

Category: Internal Brand

I was leaving an evening networking event when I glanced at my phone and noticed that Gummi had called me. Since he rarely calls me in the evening unless it’s something important, I called him back. He greeted me with these words:

Gummi: “You had your vison wrong.”


Karen: “What?”

G:        “You had your vison wrong, you know.”

K:        Silence and then: “My vision was change the face of business. What was wrong with that?”

G:        “It was wrong.”

K:        Nervous laughter, “What do you mean wrong?”

G:        “You didn’t change the face of business. External marketing changes the face of business. You work on the internal brand. You changed the heart or soul of business.”

K:        Again silence. And then: “You’re right. Changing the heart and soul of business is my vison. That is a much better way of saying it.”

Unfortunately, since I had merged Jett Excellence into RedKnight 3 years earlier, this insight came 3 years too late.

But it wasn’t really too late. As a result of this conversation I learned two lessons and my perspective was changed.

Lesson 1: A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.

It took me around 7 years to finally land on my vision of Changing the face of business. I loved this vision. It was authentic to me. It was short and memorable. It had real meaning. Now, around 7 years later, here is Gummi telling me something so true that I never saw it on my own.  Had I worked with a consultant or mentor it’s quite possible I would have discovered this truth much sooner.

Lesson 2: Sometimes when you think you’ve jumped in the fire, you really only have your toes in.

Often when I work with small business owners on their vision they find it challenging to share with me the deep reason that they are in the business that they are in. I call the dialogue where they give me a bunch of marketing hype or similar responses dancing around the fire. My job is to get them to jump into the fire and share with me the real reason they started their business as this is at the heart of the vision for what they do.

When I came up with the vision of change the face of business, I thought that I had jumped into the center of the fire. In reality, faced with the revised vision of changing the heart and soul of business, I realize that while I had placed my toes in the fire, I never did really jump right in.

Perspective change:

The fact that I never jumped into the middle of the fire is profound, because changing face to heart and soul shifted my perspective. And it changed it in a way that directly impacts how I approach working with clients and how I now talk about what I do. It made me truly realize that what I do is not superficial. Instead, I am making changes that impact people. By assisting clients to identify their internal brand and build it into the culture of their company, I am not only making the owner’s life more meaningful, I am also positively impacting the lives of their employees.

So no, Gummi’s observation was not 3 years too late. While I would have loved to have had this insight years ago, it is still useful. And I thank Gummi for sharing it with me.