Monday, 12 July 2010


This idea came from Jayne Haines, a very senior HR lady from GlaxoSmithKline whom I heard talking last week.
She worked in Denmark for a while where the idea of the “red thread” was fixed in the culture (by the way it’s claimed on the web to be untranslatable. The best they can manage is to describe it as the main thread of a plot.)
Elsewhere it is described as the ancient Chinese belief that we all have invisible red threads, around our ankles as it happens, which identify who our true soul mates are.

More prosaically it is said by some to come from the red thread woven by ropes used by the British Navy to make them impossible to steal and sell on.

Jayne’s sense was it defined the essence of who and what you were so when she said “I’d die if I didn’t go running” she was describing something so viscerally central to the core of her being it captured what she stood for.

For some this might be singing, bird watching, mountain-biking, doing mathematical riddles, writing, painting, gardening, chess …. In other words passions which obsess the soul and inform a person’s character and development.

This essential thread – the story of our life, the real brand that we are – gets closer to helping understand what it is that distinguishes people one from the other and what makes each special. It helps give a more tangible meaning to life.

And it could also apply to larger or people created entities like corporations or brands.

So the question is what is your red thread?

What is your brand’s red thread?

And what is your company’s red thread?

What , in short, really makes you tick and ultimately turns you on?

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