We’re the Leading (Insert Description Here)…

Whats the difference between #1 and #2? (answer just one number)

What is interesting is everyone works for a “leader” or so it seems as if I received a dollar (or better yet a euro) for every time I’ve heard this, I would be giving Carlos Slim a run for his money shooting for the spot of the wealthiest person in the world.  So why do I write this you ask, well I’m sitting in the KLM lounge at Schiphol airport here in Amsterdam waiting for my flight home and out of the corner of my ear I catch this conversation of two other travelers making small talk and as one introduces himself (as in person) he’s then announces his company affiliation by saying “We’re the leading XXXXX company”.

Alright no big deal right, you (we) hear this all the time as for me in the lounge this was most likely the third occurrence this morning. Also not sure  why it struck me, however it did that we always want to be part of a “leader” and we are happy to distill it down to a denominator where are.  An example is a colleague upon changing jobs shared that his firm was the largest supplier of IT services to “organic farmers”.  To myself it was “wow, he had to really distill this one down, as it wasn’t agriculture, nor farming, however “organic farming”.  Yet they where the leader and he was at least anthropologically speaking part of the top quartile.

The urge to be part of something is interesting in itself as we are social animals seeking others of like and kind.  However we now seek to also be at the top, and how many people can be at the top?  Good question right, as there can only be one “number one”, so now we must start to “classify” to open up more number “one” slots, then when those run out of those we move on to “stratification” as in having “differing levels” of number one.

Ironically, this is where I found the old Avis commercials of interest as they use to say “we’re number two trying hard to be number one”.  As here is another anthropological axiom in that “everyone loves an underdog”, so why do we “brag” or “boast” (depending on the fact or fiction of the reality) being number one if our goal is to be “loved” (a rhetoric phrase to seek acceptance)?  As wouldn’t it make more sense to be more like Avis if we truly want to seek the love?

As on the other side of the coin, isn’t there always a level of animosity toward those folks we perceive to be higher in “classification” and “Stratification”?  Aren’t we always shooting for (i.e. at number one), so why then place ourselves there?  From here on out, for me it’s going to be the Avis model as I’m happy to be number two, just trying a bit harder…

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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