the importance of importanceEveryone wants to feel important—to friends, family and yes, business colleagues. Feeling important is—well—important.

Like so many leaders in today’s business community, I was raised in a different business culture—a time before email and texting began to control our daily communications.

When a handshake meant more than the Legal Department’s blessing.

When walking down the hall or answering a phone call served as the basis for the majority of professional communication.

Essentially, a time when chatting with someone face-to-face was the single best source for inspiration.

For my part, I was professionally raised to respect the importance of importance.

Though I embrace the obvious benefits of the technology age, I often wonder about the cost associated with these technological advances. Not the actual dollars many of us have handed over for the latest iPhone, but the price each of us has paid in the loss of that feeling of “importance” due to substitution of technology for personality.

Consider this: the feeling of importance comes from positive interactions. Positive interactions stem from professional courtesy. Professional courtesy is learned through role models and mentors.

Mentoring happens when leaders are inspired—when they feel their protégées have the potential to make important contributions to our collective business future.

For those of you trying to get a mental picture of the aforementioned connections, it’s a simple circle of actions and reactions—each vital to the growth and success of each of our businesses.

Because if there’s one thing I know to my core, inspiration and creative thinking happen only when all of the above are in play—when the “thinker” feels important and trusts that his or her ideas will be heard and respected.

As someone who makes his living being “creative” as a speaker, writer, and founder of, I thrive on inspiration—the very gift that drives my creativity.

And isn’t creativity ultimately the cornerstone of any successful business?

Moreover, wasn’t creative thinking responsible for so many of the images, brands, and cultural icons we take for granted today?

The publishing industry gave us Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler; the food & beverage industry gave us Coca Cola; the healthcare industry gave us penicillin; and the entertainment industry gave us Mr. Disney’s ubiquitous Mickey Mouse.

All accomplished because self-confident people of importance were inspired to be creative.

Mentoring + professional courtesy + positive interactions + importance + trust + inspiration + creativity = (drum roll, please) success.

So the question is: have you looked someone in the eye today and made them feel important?

Marketing guru, business humoristprofessional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.