As a guy who can get to the third hole an early morning round without realizing he has his golf shirt on backwards, I don’t normally give much thought to dress, not even on a beautiful woman.
But whether it was the bluish grey trim, the vibrant pink or Michelle’s gorgeously toned jeez-how-often-does-she-work-out deltoids, the visual effect of her dress accompanied by her well-delivered speech last night was a big plus for the Obama campaign. In sales we say 90% of communication isn’t verbal, and she nailed that 90% part.
Unfortunately, the 10% verbal part can come back to haunt you if it’s riddled in fallacy or undeliverables, and you get problems which is what 23 million unemployed Americans have right now. You also get problems like employers that are so fearful of what the government is going to do they don’t hire people despite of the amount of work they need done.
Let’s take up for a moment what NBC, ABC, and even Fox are quoting as her mots-clés of the evening: “For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” I want to take it up because it’s very hard aphorism to argue against, yet it contains the seeds of our malaise. Indeed, we are called to serve others and make a difference in their lives.
But why the contrast with making money? Do people who make more money really not make more of a difference in the lives of others? Are we not making a difference in the lives of others when we work and make money?
Adam Smith’s answer comes to mind: “By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” (The Wealth of Nations 1776. Book IV, Chapter II, p. 488-489)
If you’re a recruiter, you can measure the societal benefit of your work best by how much you make. If you’re not making any placements, you’re not helping out. If you build a business and place 10, 100 or 1000 people a day, at good margins, you are doing a great service to society.