Sunday, August 24, 2008

being known vs just being

Several years ago I was in a company all-hands meeting where one of the speakers posited the idea that it was highly important that our clients felt like we were experts. After the meeting one of my enlightened co-workers opined that it would be better to "be experts" rather than to be "thought of as experts".

I am often faced by this subtle differentiation both in the workplace, in politics and in personal relationships where people focus on being known for something or being perceived as something rather than just plain being what they want to be.

One of the consequences of this differentiation is that the overriding focus on the perception is actually one of the barriers that will prevent the reality from occurring.

Does Apple want to make the best products or be known for making the best products?

Does Adaptive Path want to make the best user experiences or be known for making the best user experiences?

Does Chad Johnson want to be the best wide receiver or be known for being the best wide receiver?

Does Barack Obama want to help the poor or be known as candidate who is out to help the poor?

Does John McCain want to always talk straight or be known as candidate who always talks straight?

Stop worrying about being known and just be!

Managing perception = Garbage.

Managing Reality = Like it.