The Importance of Importance

Everyone wants to feel important—to friends, family and yes, business colleagues. Feeling important is—well— important.

Like so many leaders in today’s business community, I was raised in a different business culture—a time before email began to control our daily communications.  A time when a walk down the hall or a phone call (that was actually answered by a person) served as the basis for the majority of professional communication. A time when a handshake meant more than the Legal department’s most friendly contract. An era when I was able to be inspired by one-to-one communication.

Though I embrace the obvious benefits of the technology age, I often wonder about the cost associated with these technological advances. Not the actual dollars many of us have handed over for the latest iPhone, but the price each of us has paid in the loss of that feeling of “importance” due to substitution of technology for personality.

Consider this: the feeling of importance comes from positive interactions.  Positive interactions stem from professional courtesy. Professional courtesy is learned through role models and mentors. People are inspired to mentor because they understand their protégées share an importance as they influence the future of the business world.

importanceFor those of you trying to get a mental picture of the aforementioned connections, and I hope you are, it’s a simple circle of actions and reactions—each vital to the growth and success of each of our businesses. Because if there’s one thing I know to my core, inspiration and creative thinking result from all of the above.

As someone who makes his living being “creative,” I thrive on inspiration—the very gift that drives my creative thinking. You see, creativity manifests itself only when inspiration is present—and we are able to be inspired only when we feel a sense of importance.

And isn’t creativity the cornerstone of any successful business?

After all, wasn’t it “inspiration” that led to the creative thinking responsible for so many of the images, brands, and cultural icons we take for granted today? The publishing industry gave us Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler; the food & beverage industry gave us Coca Cola; the healthcare industry gave us penicillin; and the entertainment industry gave us Mr. Disney’s ubiquitous Mickey Mouse.

All because self-confident people of importance were inspired to be creative.

What’s more, we are able to be inspired only when we feel important—when we definitively trust our ideas will be heard and respected.

Yes, each of us is important but the only way to maintain our important status is to recognize the importance of those around us.

I freely admit I do not have all the answers, but at a minimum, it’s important to continue this inspired discussion.

Recommended Reading:

“It’s time to bring back professional courtesy” by Randall Kenneth Jones (As broadcast on Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal)

“Office Etiquette: Mind Your Manners” by Randall Kenneth Jones (CNBC.com)

Humorist, Editorial Writer, Speaker, and Entrepreneur Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of professional-courtesy initiative, RediscoverCourtesy.org, and the “confessional development” chronicle, AttackBunnies.com. His creative communications agency, MindZoo, is dedicated to the development of highly targeted and innovative written and visual communications for use across today’s wide spectrum of online and offline media.

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Marketing-company entrepreneur, humorist, editorial writer and speaker,  
Randall Kenneth Jones
, is on a mission—to restore professional courtesy to today’s somewhat thank-you-repressed workplace.

A project of Jones’s Naples, Florida-based agency, MindZooRediscoverCourtesy.org hopes to shed a positive light on the benefitsof professional courtesy relating to business relationships, written and verbal communication, profitability, proactive thinking, ethics, loyalty and business operations.

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