Be Everything to Everyone!

04th May, 2021
Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson, CEO of Emergent Software, spoke with Varun Bihani and Jessie Coan on the Agencies That Build podcast about what he’s learned regarding definite truths we’ve been told surrounding talent, processes, and company culture.

Be bigger - it’s better! Keep expanding and growing to reach a large number of clients. Growth = increased revenue = increased happiness. But how do you do that? Be everything to everyone!

Don’t fall for this myth

According to Jamie Anderson, CEO at Emergent Software, these are all myths that he has to bust. From what he’s learned through personal and professional growth, the realities of expansion and always working to get to the next level isn’t fulfilling. He believes that we’re chasing after these lies throughout our entire life, but there’s a completely different way to view life and career.

Have you ever gotten to your goal and realized it wasn’t what you expected? We have these ideas of what it would be like to make it our goal and yet can be highly disappointed when the time arrives, or worse yet, immediately jump to the next level without enough time to enjoy your success or appreciate your accomplishments. We keep climbing a ladder to get to the top and the top always seems to get pushed higher and higher out of our reach.

It’s a constant race to be the best and push ourselves to be everything to everyone in order to grow. We’ve been indoctrinated since we were young to meet standards for advancement and it continues throughout our lives - get good grades to move up, go to college to get a good job, increase revenue to grow your business, etc.

Does growth = happiness?

When we think of expanding our business and the growth that has happened, does the increase in employees, workload and clients make us happy? Of course it does! But, to an extent. We don’t enter into this industry to not make money and satisfy a customer’s needs. However, the feeling of having a handful of employees is different from having double and triple digit numbers. Increasing revenue is crucial, but is the workload manageable or overwhelming.

Think about the last time you went to a concert and you were so close to the stage that you experienced a level of intimacy with the music and artist; that’s a personal experience that you relish. When was the last time you went to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant - not knowing what to expect, but were so satisfied with the food you're willing to make that extra trip back.

Now compare those experiences to when you went to a packed arena and you’re mid-level or nosebleed and when you dine at a high-end restaurant you’ve been told is the best. The music is still loud and you still enjoy the performance. The food is still good, but it doesn’t have that special touch.

That’s how Anderson equated growth in a company; there is a difference in the atmosphere and mentality when the personal touch is removed. The client and business growth didn’t add the substance he was expecting and kept compounding responsibilities for him and his team to where they weren’t able to enjoy the work the same way they used to.

How to Make That Change?

When he noticed the decline in happiness, from himself and his team, Anderson knew he could no longer be everything to everyone. An insightful read during these times came from Simon Sinek’s Infinite Game where it opened his mind to understanding that “there was an infinite amount of business out there….you just need to figure out how to go out and find that and not just look through the world in a finite mindset”.

He has since realigned the business structure to focus on the few things they’re very good at, which ultimately serves the customer better. Anderson has stepped away from the disillusionment of seeking out and working for large corporations where there’s more red tape, longer sales cycles, and it’s “...not always fun and work is not appreciated as much”.

Decline & Redirect

Anderson’s personal view is that he doesn’t get the level of satisfaction from “...having that logo on a line card” because he gets “...more out of the personal relationships” that are had with the customer. He’s placed his mental well-being and the contentment of his team as a priority to where he has even declined projects with long-time clients!

When these situations arose and the judgement call was made to decline, Anderson did not leave his client or potential customer without resources. He still wanted them to know he cared by re-directing them to his trusted network of resources and maintained a positive relationship with them knowing his company would be available to assist for projects that they were specifically specialized to deliver.

… in smaller agencies and smaller companies, there’s more opportunity to impact culture, to lead, to make customer impact than sometimes there is in a bigger machine


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