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One of the first things we do with a new or potential client is sit down and discuss their business. What they do, who they do it for and what makes them better than their competitors. And more than any other response, I’m told it’s “our people” that makes us different. Yawn…

Have you heard the Chris Rock comedy routine where he talks about people bragging that they’re good to their kids? You’re SUPPOSED to be good to your kids. Or that they haven’t been to jail? You’re SUPPOSED to stay out of jail. Nobody should be patting you on the back for that. Well, a business is SUPPOSED to have good people. It’s a reasonable expectation we all have of every company out there.

Nobody interacts with a business (short of the soup Nazi) expecting to be treated like dirt. Sure, we all have experiences where we’ve been treated poorly. It happens. But to hang your hat on “your people” is like bragging that you pay your electric bill on time. You’re SUPPOSED to do that.

Now I’m not claiming your people don’t make a difference at your company. Of course they do, and despite the title of this post, they absolutely do matter. But when it comes to defining your unique selling proposition? They don’t. It’s not something that’s ever going to make you stand out. Because that guy down the street that’s in the exact same line of work as you? He says the same thing, word for word. It’s our people that make the difference. I hear it from every type of company in every type of industry. And as a potential customer, when you hear the same thing over and over again, no matter how true (or false) it is, it falls on deaf ears.