[Marketing Memo] When I Grow Up
By Cary Weston
When I was little, I wanted to be one of three things:
1. Shortstop for the Sox
2. Luke Skywalker
3. A UPS driver
My baseball career was short lived because I refused to wear my glasses. Somehow I figured that squinting my way through high school was MUCH more attractive than a pair of glasses. You try hitting a curve ball when your eyesight is borderline blindness.
Luke Skywalker was an option, right up until the point where I found out the plane wouldn't fit in the garage. Who knew? My mom asked me where I was going to park my X-wing fighter. There wasn't going to be any room in the back yard, she explained, because every fall that's where the 5 cord of wood got dumped. Plus - how was I going to pay for the gas? Good practical points all around.
The UPS driver? Honestly I really don't know how that made the list. But I just remember that when it was drawing time in kindergarten, I would draw the UPS truck over and over again. That and boxing kangaroos.
My oldest daughter is 8 now and she has a list of her own. Sure it's changed over the years, but at one point it included the following five:
In recent years, the mermaid has fallen off the list as she can't see how to monetize that profession (my analysis, not hers) and it's been replaced with author/illustrator.
As a parent, it's fun to see her go through the same mental process as I did. Seeing things for their true enjoyment and not exactly the practicality of it all. I think it's healthy. The world needs optimism. And we definitely need an escape as reality has a way of taking over on it's own terms.
When I see opportunity, I encourage her to see more and learn more about what she cares about to help foster and support her excitement. You know why? Because it makes her smile.
As a manager, you can do the same.
Within your organization there are folks who have desires, hobbies, visions, and passions. Some of those may be directly related to your organization but some may not. And you know what? Fostering them will make them happy. And happy is always a better state of mind.
So my challenge to you today is this:
Find out what your employees are dreaming of. What they enjoy. What are they looking for. And consider a way in which you could help.
These interests may be professional or they may be hobby or personal.
You may find that there are tools and support that will help employees make the most of their talents.
At the very least, you'll learn more and connect better to those that work hard for you every day.
I can do better at this as well but I find that when I do engage, there's always benefit and enlightenment that follows.
And as a follow-up, I shared with UPS that I'd be happy to apply if I could wear the Luke Skywalker orange flight suit on the job.
They have yet to respond.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, Maine
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/caryweston
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