The PLUS Network and the Beauty of “Yes”

— Melissa Waggener Zorkin, Global CEO and Founder 

Many moons ago, when WE was just a startup, our clients sometimes asked us to do some normal and not so normal things.  “Can you get us on the Today show next month, or put our company on the cover of three business magazines at once?” Check. “How about printing our logo on every single swizzle stick and pillowcase at Comdex, or installing a 25’ sailboat floating in the hotel pool?” Sure.  

Without blinking, we’d usually say “yes.” And year after year, as WE grew, the list of things we wanted to say “yes” to grew, too. In fact, “say yes, worry later” became one of Pam’s and my many unwritten rules.

There’s a kid-like rush of adrenaline when you know you’re doing the almost-impossible: walking perilously close to the edge of a cliff, in a rainstorm, barefoot. But as you grow up a bit, you learn that maybe it’s best to pause and think before you agree to do something a little bit risky —to pause long enough, at least, to grab a jacket and lace up your hiking boots.  

Older and wiser (in theory, anyway), Pam and I took a step back from the cliff’s edge. We adopted a new unwritten rule: sometimes, we said “no.” After years of trying to be every star in the sky, we became just one bright constellation. Clients could trust in our expertise, and know we wouldn’t agree to something unless we could do it better than anybody.

But still, we missed saying “yes.” That’s why we figured out a better way to do it. 

Over the years, we’ve learned that working side by side and arm and arm with others is often the best way to do the best work for our clients. We knock down silos, build connections, think globally, and celebrate expertise wherever we find it. 

So when a client had a project we couldn’t easily handle on our own, we brought in WE+ colleagues —maybe they needed someone to do public-policy research or provide tech-support or experiential-marketing services, or they wanted to advertise in a market we didn’t currently serve—we didn’t turn them away. Instead, we matched them with one of our partners: companies that are the best in the world at what they do, just like we are.

Now we are launching our new PLUS Network, an amazing web of independent, like-minded partner agencies around the world, all working together to offer our clients world-class solutions to virtually any problem they can dream up. From research to strategy, acting on creative new ideas to measuring results: now we are truly a one-stop shop.

What we are NOT is a holding company. In other words, we are not ‘holding’ anyone. On the contrary, each of our PLUS Network partners is as fiercely, proudly independent as we are. Each has its own way of doing things, just like we do. What we have in common is our commitment to expertise, excellence, and doing what’s best for our clients each and every day.

We started the PLUS Network because, when it comes right down to it, we are “yes” people. We put our clients at the center of everything we do, and we make things work for them no matter what. We walk right up to the edge of the cliff when our clients ask us to, just as we always have. The difference, now, is that we don’t do it without a warm jacket and sturdy boots—and whenever it’s necessary, we do it with our partners by our side. That truly is the beauty of “yes.” 

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Read more posts from WE Global CEO and Founder Melissa Waggener Zorkin here.

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