It’s True: I Am Not a Communist

I am not a communistThere, I said it. It feels good to get that off my chest.

When I do presentations, I get all kinds of feedback, from the eye-opening to the mind-bending. But until recently I’d never been accused of being a mindless tool of the capitalist agenda.

Estela and the Candy Factory

It was during a webinar when I was telling a story I like to call “Estela and the Candy Factory.” It’s about how one woman finds the motivation to do her job to the best of her abilities.

I’ve told this story many times, and it never fails to elicit “aws” from the crowd. Most people are genuinely moved.  I like to think if you have a child, a parent, or a loved one of any kind, you can relate.

(If you do the math, that encompasses pretty much everybody.)

Watch the Video and See for Yourself

Perhaps you’ll be similarly moved by Estela’s story. Watch the video and find out:

The lesson in the story is that Estela maintains her commitment to quality by imagining her customers are as important and precious to her as members of her own family.

Now when I’m doing webinars, I don’t monitor audience comments in the chat window until I’m done. I learned that lesson early — it’s better to let the moderator handle that so you don’t get distracted worrying about tech issues and other problems.

Is This a Capitalist Story?

But during the Q&A at the end, as I scrolled through the accumulated questions, I was surprised and amused that one of the audience members said repeatedly that this was “a capitalist story.” The only thing motivating Estela, he said, was the need to get paid.

(By the way, wouldn’t that make Estela a capitalist?)

Anyway, yes, ultimately people work to make a living. You have to make money for food, shelter, security and the rest.

Most People Seek a Higher Purpose

But one thing that’s always amazed me over the decades that I’ve been traveling around to different businesses is that just about everyone, from the executive suites to the front lines, is driven by a higher purpose.

People find meaning even when performing what many would consider the most menial tasks. And even in cultures where employees are alienated from management, they find some reason to believe.

We’re Driven by Pride and Loyalty

This motivation is often driven by pride. Pride in the company’s history, reputation and products. Pride in doing quality work. Pride in being part of a team.

Loyalty is another key driver. Loyalty to co-workers, who are viewed as “family” in a lot of workplaces. And loyalty to customers. In fact I’ve found many people feel closer to their customers than they do to management.

These motivations aren’t imposed by corporate or driven by mission statements. They’re natural and organic and genuine.

Not universal, of course. I’ve come across outliers, from management on down — disaffected employees who find no higher purpose in what they’re doing. But they’re the minority — at least in the workplaces I’ve observed.

I Am Not a Capitalist Tool

It is basic human nature to seek a higher purpose in what we do.

So, no, I have not been hoodwinked by my capitalist overlords. I am not a tool of the establishment.

But I’m no communist, either.

I’m just a guy, standing in front of an audience, asking them to be moved by stories.