Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone
“Help” is one of my favorite songs from that lovable British boy band, The Beatles. As you start reading this you will more than likely be thinking “what do these lyrics have to do with these ramblings?”, but stick with me.
I had to attend a company conference this week in Orlando, Florida. And quite frankly in the days leading up to the conference, I was less than 100% enthused to be attending. I was going to miss several of my kid’s activities during the week; my wife was going to have to play single parent for most of the week; I was on the agenda to present; and overall I thought “been there, done that. I’ve seen this show before.”
There is still one day left in the conference, but my attitude has changed. The feel of the conference; the content of the conference; and what I am getting out of it is much more than I ever imagined. But that doesn’t make a great story, nor is it what spurred me to write about it.
As part of the conference agenda, we had a social responsibility event. But unlike some other charitable exercises at these types of events, this was not just going out and picking up trash, or working on a house, or beautifying a park. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all fine things to do. However, the event at this conference was geared around leveraging the collective marketing expertise that the employees of our company possess. The event was to create marketing plans for 8 Orlando-area charities, and to then compete in a marketing strategy throw-down in an effort to win $10,000 in marketing services for one of the organizations.
I had the good fortune to be on a team working with Shepherds Hope, a faith-based organization running 5 medical clinics providing free medical services to the uninsured – and yes despite ObamaCare and all it’s promises there is still and will continue to be a large population of people without medical insurance – in the Orlando area. The story of the inspirational start of Shepherds Hope, the heart-wrenching stories of patients saved by the services provided, and the thousands of hours of service donated by area medical professionals were awe inspiring. I think each of my colleagues on the team were brought to tears as we learned about what this organization does in the community.
What changed my attitude was the passion that was exhibited by my fellow co-workers as we in 2 short hours put together a marketing plan for this great organization. Most of us on the team were not from Orlando, and several were not even from the United States, yet we all felt an immediate connection to this organization. I was inspired by the collective talent of the group; each of bringing unique skills to the table in an effort to make a difference in the lives of people we will never even know. To the last person on the team, we all wanted to help Shepherds Hope by providing them the seeds for a marketing plan to attract more medical professionals, attract more and larger monetary donations, and in the end to help them improve the lives of so many people. This wasn’t about closing a sale for our company, or hitting some financial performance target; it was about using our special talents to help others.
Well it turns out that our team did not win the marketing pitch show-down, but our company graciously donated $7,000 in services to each of the 7 “losing” organizations and the members of my team (without provocation or threat from anyone) all committed to donate personal hours to supplement the $7,000 so that we can help make Shepherds Hope’s dreams for more medical professionals and more donors a reality.
What I thought was going to be just another charitable event where I and others without much effort, thought or connection to help a community, turned out to be so much more. It turns out, I was the one helped. I was helped by the dedicated staff of Shepherds Hope and the other charities that reminded me that there are measures of operational success much more important than revenue and OI. I was helped by my fellow co-workers that reminded me of the passion that we all have within us and the immense amount of marketing talent we possess within our company. This helped me realize, that while things may not be perfect in our company, we have the passion and the expertise to make it so much better. I didn’t fly to Orlando thinking I needed help, but I did, and fortunately I found it.
If you would like additional information on Shepherds Hope, you can visit their website (hopefully soon it will be a better site) at www.shepherdshope.org and you can follow them on Twitter @shepherdshope