Why do you do what you do?

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Journal | No Comments

Why do you do what you do?

How great leaders and organizations are able to inspire while others aren’t?

Almost a year ago, a co-worker sent an email out to the rest of the marketing department, at Genworth Financial Wealth Management (GFWM), containing a link to a video on TED, regarding those same questions. It was sent to us to inspire us to think of ideas on what the Why was for GFWM. Great question. GFWM’s tag line was Helping Advisors Build Great Businesses, but that tagline wasn’t really a Why, it was a What. Many people had different ideas on Why, but no one really agreed on one reason.

20110511-045138.jpgAs the exercise progress, I began to really think and analyze what my Why was. Why do I get out of bed in the morning? Why do I care about doing work or designing?

When I came out of college, I wanted to make a big splash in the creative world. I wanted to be the best designer. That drove me to work my butt off, put in long hours doing research, and refining my technical skills and knowledge. I emulated designers I admired. I had to figure out and understand how influential designers did what they did and how they did it. I received my first opportunity when I started working professionally at the National Football League. I worked with the creative department that had one of the most talented groups of people that I’ve been surrounded with.

As careers go and businesses go, things change and the NFL decided to move the creative department to New York. Afterwards, I freelanced for some time. Then I became a father.

Life certainly changes when you become a father. It’s a great joy and a life changing experience. Freelance wasn’t going to cut it anymore, I needed a little more security and insurance. So I got a job in the marketing department at Genworth Financial Asset Management (GFAM), a smaller B2B business unit within Genworth, that specialized in Unified Managed Accounts (UMA). If you don’t know what that is, it’s okay. Having no prior financial industry experience, it took me awhile to understand how it works. This was before Genworth bought AssetMark and became GFWM.

Now this wasn’t exactly my first choice, nor the industry I wanted to be in. “I wanted to be creative!” “I wanted to make a big splash in the creative world!” But how was I going to be able to be creative in the financial industry? Was it possible? This world was drastically different than the sports entertainment world I had just come from. The job paid well, I got the insurance and, sure, taking care of my family is a great Why. But that’s not what drives me.

After a time within the small GFAM marketing team, I found my way. Genworth’s branding standard at the time, being a relatively young company, was strict, but regardless, I learned to thrive in the financial industry and created innovative ways to reach our clients. I helped introduce and integrate newer technology to help promote GFAM and it’s products. I designed rich applications and helped integrate email marketing. I researched and prototyped a functional Podcast, when podcasting first came out. I found different ways to help the business grow. I actively tried to find ways to create a difference there because I care about my work and my legacy. Working within the strict brand standard, I didn’t always get to design a new concept, but I did find ways to be creative.

Time passed. GFAM integrated with AssetMark. We became GFWM. The marketing team grew from four to over twenty. An email was sent out and we were given task to find our Why. I was part of a branding team that researched and interviewed members of our organization to understand what people thought regarding the core values of our products and our organization. I hate to say it, but I’m not sure if an answer was found. My time with GFWM was coming to an end. My position was being moved to northern California. But I still tried to take care of my work and the people I worked with that depended on me.

Over time, I began to understand myself a little better. I began to understand what drove me and what my own core values were.

When people think about me, there are a few things I would want to come to their minds. Chris is someone I can depend on. Chris is someone who cares. Chris has heart. Chris is patient. Chris is different. Chris is creative.

I create a difference.


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