Tom Brady is the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time.  That’s what the guy sitting at the end of the bar said prior to the first game of the 2017 regular season.   By the end of the game, he was saying, ‘Wow, that Alex Smith is a great quarterback!’   Beer goggles.  It affects assessments of football players, too.


We have such a warped sense of greatness.  Hit a three-pointer at the buzzer – greatness.  Hobble into the batter’s box and hit a homerun on one leg in the World Series – greatness.  Engineer the largest come from behind victory in Super Bowl history – greatness.  One of the most famous quotes surrounding the concept of greatness comes from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, ‘Some are born great. Some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.’  It makes it seem like the ability to become great is either hereditary or circumstantial.

How should greatness be defined?

Jim Collins, author of the best-selling book Good to Great says, ‘Greatness is not a function of circumstance.  Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.’  Does that mean I can plan to have a great company?  Yes.  But that destination lies at the end of the road where vision and discipline intersect. Collins makes the observation that in business you can buy your way to growth, but you can’t buy your way to greatness. 

A key component in Collin’s philosophy is the Stockdale paradox which is grounded in an absolute faith that you can and will prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties, and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. You will have difficulties.  You will have challenges.  But those are not necessarily impediments to greatness. 

Your current predicament can’t just be the competition driving down the market with their lowball tactics. What are the brutal facts about your organization that need to be addressed to set you free to pursue the path toward greatness?  Could it be as simple as how you treat customers when they contact you?  Are they greeted with silence, repetitive messages or bad music when you place them on hold? 

At WMG we believe everything we do will help your business grow by harnessing the power of your captive audience.  Our professionally produced, creative on hold advertising programs will engage and educate your callers, reinforce your image, and help move you along the path from good to great.

One more thing.  I have an associate who includes a quote as part of his signature line that brings the concept of greatness into perspective; not only in the professional arena but also on a personal level.  May it inspire you and your business as it inspires me each time I ponder these words.

‘Everyone has the power for greatness. Not for fame, but for greatness.

Because greatness is determined by service.’

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee