I keep coming back to this Scott Galloway quote lately: “Success and greatness is accomplished in the agency of others.” He’s using the quote to beat up on wayward tech CEOs, but professionally, we can use it to think about the ways we create and communicate our value to clients.
There are at least two interpretations to think about.
The first is to acknowledge that continued success and greatness flow from preserving the free choices of others. Freedom is power. The second is to consider how the options we choose to present can help us stay aligned with success and greatness. We don’t just want options, we want good options. Both interpretations matter.
We’re hired to provide a service that protects the ability to make additional choices in the future.
Make a product or service that respects and protects agency.
We can’t honestly say if they’ll be easy, hard, confusing, or simple choices, but we are offering the option to leverage our expertise to preserve future flexibility. There’s tremendous value in that belief, and having it requires we’ve built a foundation of trust. The service is a relationship, and the emphasis belongs on the making of future choices together.
We’re also hired to provide a service that offers “good” choices.
This is pure libertarian paternalism at its finest. We’re offering our kids ham and cheese or PB&J, not “any sandwich you want” only to have them pick ice cream sandwiches (because they’re smart MFing kids). There’s value in our professional curation of “good” options, and keeping the “bad” and non-applicable ones off of the table saves time and money.
Expertise has a role here too. We’re not just winging it. Our knowledge and experience is part of the product or service existing (!).
Make a product or service, founded in your knowledge and experience, that respects and protects agency.
Freedom is power and properly curated choices maintain that power. Our value is in the journey, not the expectation. Success and greatness really are accomplished in the agency of others – keep the focus on it.