“We are very special here”

There’s a sentence the vast majority of companies say at any given moment during my first visit: “We are very special here” or also “this company is totally different”. It doesn’t matter the size of the organisation, its country or industry type. This sentence is always the same and, to my surprise, it is always said in a specific tone that might go from resigned to sarcastic.

I still cannot understand what the negative connotation of being “special” or “different” is (in case the companies really mean it). That is to say: why should it be better to be “mainstream” or “average”? In an era where companies are seeking more than ever their authenticity to create a differentiated value proposition, “being special” should be celebrated with fireworks.

The case is that, so far, I haven’t found two identical organisations. It is true that there could be similar features depending on their size and sector (organisational structures, management styles, roles, daily situations or even personalities). In spite of this, each organisation evolves its own way. This so-called “way” is the company’s purpose, what defines its culture and storytelling. It is precisely the organisation’s storytelling that will attract and keep the people which brings the company to life (either as an internal or external client). These people have a shared vision of the world (their purpose) with the company’s. We could then say that a company is “special” because its people are “special” too.

A company which is true and honest to itself, which respects its DNA, will promote its authenticity. And the fact of being authentic is nowadays a total success.

So, when I hear “we are very special here”, my reptilian brain wakes up and, automatically, I WANT to know this organisation inside out and explore the reach of its purpose and authenticity. Nothing could interest me more than a special company, made of special people.

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