Two young fish swimming along happened to pass an older fish swimming the other way.  He nodded at them and yelled out, “Morning boys.  How’s the water?”

The two young fish swam on for a bit, and then one of them looked over at the other and said, “What the fuck is water?”

The moral of the fish story: Fish are the last one’s to recognise water.

In other words, the most obvious, important realities in our lives are the hardest to see, and the most difficult to talk about. Knowledge is nothing, awareness is everything. Awareness of what is real and essential, yet so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over that’s it’s there.

That is the true value I bring to organisations when they engage me to work on their brand. I don’t actually change what the business fundamentally is or does. I change the way they see what their business is and does. And the most obvious realities of what their business is and does are right there, in front of their eyes, and yet they cannot or do not see them.

My job is to get them to relax, to open up, and to talk about their business in a real way. I call this “the red wine midnight conversation”. That’s when CEOs and Directors drop their corporate demeanour, and talk to me like real people. In this way I discover the truth about their business and their brand — who they are; what it is that they [actually and fundamentally] do; how they do it; and why they do it. And once discovered, it’s pure gold.

How’s the water at your place?


Richard Sauerman
Richard Sauerman
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