'The Song of Signficance'—Singing the praises of Seth Godin's tireless wisdom
Companies want customers to be passionate about their products and services. And they want employees to give everything to their daily labor. Companies want everyone else around them to be inspired, yet so many companies follow the industrial model in a race to the bottom, doing as little as possible to actually inspire. But inspiration doesn’t just happen. It’s hard to come by. It often takes work.
Seth Godin has long been the voice against corporate conformity. And Godin continues his crusade in The Song of Significance, in which he reminds us that business doesn’t need to be only transactional. Good business goes beyond the simple exchange of cash for goods and services. Good business is an exchange you wouldn’t mind doing again—one you might even look forward to.
Good business inspires, much like art. For many of us, our day jobs—where we spend a great deal of our waking hours—is the best chance we have to be artists.
These points have long been part of Godin’s message. In many ways, the contents of The Song of Significance are nothing new. The book’s central message will be familiar to any fans of Godin’s previous work:
The race to the bottom is hard to win. And winning it rarely leads to positive outcomes.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of our values—that we’re not alone—especially when the rest of the business world seems to go in the other direction.
Throughout the book, Godin reminds us that humans are the entire focus of business:
Humans are not a resource. We are not a tool. Humans are the point.
Godin acknowledges that industrialism isn’t going away. But industrialism isn’t the only option. Workers and customers alike want something different. Something more. Something of significance. Businesses win big when they stop holding workers and customers hostage and instead create something both parties want to be part of:
In a field where skills are valuable and switching jobs is possible, the employees you need the most have options. That’s why creating a culture of fear and compliance is a dead end. Great work creates more value than compliant work.
. . .
A significant organization can please its customers and make a profit as well. But it begins by earning enrollment and then doing the work to make change happen.
Like Godin’s other books (and his blog posts1), The Song of Significance is not a how-to guide. It is instead a call to action. A call to action for us to pick ourselves and do work that matters.
Jake LaCaze is sad to know there are still marketers out there who don’t know about Seth Godin.