What’s In A Number?
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What’s In A Number?

What’s In A Number?

What’s In A Number?

Let’s start small by talking about a billion.  My wife Bonnie, who recently took early retirement from The Coca-Cola Company, has been a prolific speaker on the subject of meaningful work.  In her keynotes, while describing the reach of brand Coke, she would pause to ask her audience to contemplate the meaning of a billion.  Drawing from a past Annual Report, here’s how she would frame it:

  • A Billion Hours Ago:  Some scientists tell us that human life first appeared on Earth.
  • A Billion Minutes Ago: Jesus Christ began his ministry in the hills of Galilee and set in motion a movement that continues to change the world and still attracts more than 80,000 new followers every single day.
  • A Billion Seconds Ago: A small band from Liverpool, The Beatles, appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and changed music forever (although, despite his prediction, John Lennon never did become quite as popular as the aforementioned Rabbi).
  • And – A Billion Coca-Colas Ago? – Well, that was yesterday morning.  (That’s right, Coca-Cola refreshes people in every country of the world (except two), with more than 1 and ½ billion servings each day!)

To bring this numbers game back home, we’re proud that Tenacity’s Clients for Life® client retention process is at work today protecting $20 billion in management services contracts around the world.  We take that stewardship very seriously and are humbled by its size.  We never want to lose sight of the reality that this can only happen one meeting at a time, one relationship at a time and one innovation at a time.  We’re grateful for every single manager who goes to work each day and puts his or her trust in our process.

As for Bonnie, she didn’t stay retired for long.  While I’ve been helping to save clients, she’s been helping to save the world.  Along with an incredible group of colleagues, she’s out there full-time making a difference for impoverished children and their communities in some of the world’s most difficult places.  One at a time – the people of World Vision are working to “place the hand of the at-risk poor into the hand of the at-risk rich, so that both will be blessed”.  It’s truly great work, if you can get it — and, by the way, you can.  We all can. 

Both at Tenacity and in real life, we’re learning that the really big things actually do happen in ones (except for Noah, I suppose).  One is definitely not a small number after all. In fact, it’s the only number that ever really changes the things that truly matter.