“The year I turned 26, as the head of my own brokerage firm, I made $49 million, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week.” – Jordan Belfort (as played by Leonardo DiCaprio), The Wolf of Wall Street
We would all like to think that the real life character of Jordan Belfort depicted in the film The Wolf of Wall Street has nothing in common with us. Selfish and greedy, he rose to affluence by selling what he knew was worthless, without regard for the effects his actions were having on his clients. His top priority was amassing wealth and attaining the power that came with it.
Most of us are not so self-centered that we’re willing to commit crimes. What is more common in business is a misalignment between stated and practiced values. An organization may have a “client first” message while hiking rates without regard for the relationship they have formed with their clients; a mission statement may include language about making a positive impact on lives while its authors are denying service to individuals most in need, citing profitability concerns.
Perhaps the most common value misalignment of all is a published expression of gratitude without any evidence of it. It’s easy for a view of customers (and in other cases, donors) as sources of cash to exploit to sneak into organizational culture. It happens unintentionally as a result of innocent business procedures: when we deliver reports of quarterly growth or decline to management, and especially when we’re under pressure to increase revenues. It all devalues people. Business tends to reduce customers to a dollar amount, which never seems to be quite good enough.
So how do we combat this? The Thanksgiving season is a good reminder of the solution. It is simple in theory, challenging in execution: we practice gratitude. As a marketing/PR professional you have the huge and hugely important task of being a constant beacon of thanks and acknowledgment both internally and externally, to stimulate and maintain a culture of gratitude that upholds the dignity of people as human beings.
On that note, thank you, every MCBC client who has given me the opportunity to be your voice and helped to grow this business to where it is today. Thank you, every future client who will help MCBC to get even closer to its potential. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what I love.