We had our company picnic last weekend and virtually all of our staff showed up with their families. It was a super afternoon. The kids were aged from 7 to 15 and played together wonderfully. So did the adults. As I watched them all of them I realized how much each of them mean to our company. Each one has something to give, each one brings a bit of themselves to what we do, each one “matters”.
The term “matters” as a verb is being bandied about ruthlessly by the politically correct. “Black Lives Matter”, “All Lives Matter”, “Media Matters”, “Learning Matters”, and even “Cooking Matters” – after a while you get rather tired of being beat over the head with it. However, at the risk of certain criticism I would like to add another to the list, “People Matter”.
The dictionary says “matters” has synonyms that include ” importance, consequence, significance, note, import, weight.
I guess I get a little frosted when the ‘matter’ term gets hijacked by this movement or that, and it begins to infer that we didn’t think that ‘learning’ ‘matters’ until someone pointed it out. And if we dare to say “of course we know that” we may be accused of being self serving and minimizing the topic.
The racially infused “Black Lives Matter” is taken by some to mean that other lives don’t. And if someone says, “of course, black lives matter, but then all lives matter” they are accused of hatred. Huh? What it in the world is that all about?
Whether its Lives, Media, Learning, Cooking, or even Parking, when ‘matters’ is attached it seems to become exclusionary. If “learning” matters, then does that mean that if one elects to not take a certain course of study, that they matter “less”. If “parking” matters, does driving matter less.
The term “people matter” seems so all inclusive I fail to see how it could antagonize, but then I’m sure someone will take offense.
In our high tech age, we forget that people do matter. The technology exists to serve people. People created it, gave it meaning, and made it work for us. I only fear that we forget that people, individuals, do matter in that machines don’t understand the nuances of a certain word, nod, or handshake. A person could be troubled, sad, happy, or simply overworked and tired and what machine is going to pick up on that and react positively to it.
I have said may times that we take all the people out of our garages and off our streets at our peril. We may not need as many, and we may need to retrain them to provide service rather than simply do tasks better and more efficiently done by a machine but if parking is to ‘matter’ then we as an industry must understand that in the end, its people that matter. The rest is clever PR.