The mood was set, and the most amazing dinner for 14 people was served. The centrepiece dish being American beef ribs smoked for 8 hours on a low heat, Italian wine – Amorosa red, flanked with its daughter wine Ripasso and great company. I excused myself from the table to go and ‘powder my nose’, when I committed the most taboo dinner party crime. I checked Linkedin on my phone.

Those Three Words

On checking my Linkedin notifications, there were three words that set my mind into a spin. “Well said Jomar.” Three words that teleported me out of my current world. It was not just the three words that hit me like a brick on the side of the head, it was who said it.

Returning to the table, I was not quite the same. Admitting to a crime to the dinner party audience would not only earn the ‘death stare’ from your better half, but also the looks of disapproval from some of the others. So, I had to strategically show one of the other guests that would appreciate the gravity of these words.

“Wow, Richard F#€&/( Branson!”, said my debut audience of one. “that, is amazing”. And here’s the thing… The ‘Who’ that is amazing to some, to me is not as amazing as the ‘why’ that it was said. And the ‘Why’ in this case, was that someone like Branson agrees on an opinion (of mine), that is so aligned with our efforts in the Brand Leadership Community, which is the biggest ‘Why’ in my career.

Simon Says to Start With Why

Amongst the ‘top five inspirational business books’ in my personal library, is Simon Sinek’s ‘Start With Why’. The ‘Why’ being your purpose, your ‘endgame, and closely aligned with one of the 7 habits ‘Begin with the end in mind’. As with any endeavour in life, if you have no purpose or understanding the ‘Why you are working on this endeavour’, the results are less fulfilling, your actions are reduced to checking off items on a to do list and your full potential is not being unleashed.

I was absolutely thrilled to see a video interview where Branson asked Sinek, “If you were starting a business right now, what problem would you be setting out to solve and why?”.

The ‘Why’ Behind the Brand Leadership Community

Branson asks Sinek on behalf of entrepreneurs, what the creative solutions should they should be focusing in the world today and why. Sinek’s opening words hit me like a brick, harder that the three words Branson hit me with.

“The problem that I’d like to solve today, is how we relate to each other… There are a lot of human skills that are missing.”

“We are living in a time where we are more judgemental, we are very bad at listening, we think everything is black and white… There are just a lot of human skills that are missing…”

“We need to learn empathy, we need to learn how to give and receive feedback, we need to learn how to have difficult conversations…”

As the assigned architect of the Brand Leadership Community, Sinek’s comments clarified many of the ‘Why’s’ in the community that I’m designing and engineering, not just for me, but for everyone who is (and will be) a part of this community.

In that busy afternoon of preparing for the dinner party, I found a couple of minutes to punch out a heart felt reply on my iPhone, and share that we are on this road through redefining community by building community. And here’s my comment.

“From one legend to another. Wow.

Yes. We need to redefine community. We need to be curious about each other, learn from each other instead of that smartphone in our hands & those trolls that wind us up. Living through a global pandemic, we are realising how much more we value a face to face coffee and a conversation with someone you admire, or the other way around.

I like what Simon says, and I’ve been doing what Simon says (In my industry).”

This interview is a good reminder of my ‘Why’, in relation to the website you are reading and the community it serves. This community has gotten off the ground in 2020 with the vision and drive of founding members and advisors.

I look even more forward to redefining community and sharing it with the wider world, and if someone like Sir Richard Branson agrees on our thoughts on community, then we’ve got a good chance to start a new movement in community building.

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