What matters most: you or the thing you represent?

In heaven, an angel is nobody in particular George Bernard Shaw

I've met some amazing people in my time, and been privileged to talk to them at length. I've looked into their eyes, and they've looked into mine – and that's quite a thing.

But I know that many of them will not recall me afterwards because as far as they were concerned they weren't talking to John-Paul Flintoff. They were talking to “a man from The Sunday Times” – or The Financial Times, or The Guardian or – you get the idea.

I mentioned this to a friend, recently. A school friend, who has grown up to be a very successful banker (amazingly, considering the school we went to).

My friend has some clients who have been with him for years and years. Long ago, they worked with him only because of the organisation he represented. “If I had wanted to leave, and take them with me, I would only have kept about 30 per cent,” he told me.

But then one day the organisation closed down his division, and he took many of his clients with him when he joined another bank. “Today, their loyalty is to me. Today, if I left, 90 per cent of them would follow me.”

They trust him more than they trust his bank.

If you look at the people you deal with at work, can you identify the ones who care about you in your own right – and not just because you are part of something bigger?

How many are there? Are you happy about that?