Roy's Blog: January 2012
January 18, 2012
This is the third “Weekly Message” from Frank Palmer , Chairman and CEO of DDB Canada.
“I’m absolutely sure that the answer to this question is very different for all of you. It’s usually a question that’s asked in a interview with a highly accomplished or talented person. The interviewer I’m guessing is that they believe that these business people or movie stars have all the answers we are all searching for or wanting to know? For me I’m always interested in hearing the answers from both business people and individuals. If I was front of a judge and asked under oath I’d have to be truthful with my personal and business answers. When the judge asked: “What keeps me up at night?” Thinking that I will end up living under a bridge in a cardboard box, broke! I believe that all of us are only two mistakes away from poverty.
In other words, what worries you about your career or your personal life is very different from the next person.
What worries me and keeps me up at night in business is different than it is in my personal life. But somehow they are both connected. In my career at the agency I’ve always worried about a vast number of things. I worry about losing accounts, I worry that we didn’t get our work in front of the right people who make the final decision. I worry about not having enough interesting business or career opportunities for our people for their career growth. I worry about why there isn’t enough brave clients that will take a small risk in going with our strategy and creative recommendations. I worry that I failed to deliver the closing lines in a new business presentation that might have made a difference.
I’m sure that each of your have your own anxieties that cause you loss of sleep. I think that the answer to the advertising agency question of “what keeps you up at night?” for the most of us are: Why didn’t they hire us? Why don’t they like me or us? Why don’t they see our point of view? Or simply, “Why don’t they love us?”
I read in a article a super answer to the question of “What keeps you up at night.” “It was not wanting to die with their music locked up inside them”. Isn’t that a great answer? It was about people who have a tremendous talent or gift yet allowed it to remain locked safely inside them and they remain locked in a miserable job. They are desperate to escape but can’t make the first step.
I believe that the questions above are the ones that we ask ourselves the most! When we win a new account the client sees something in us that they must have. Our excitement, our passion and our commitment to perform for them shows. Isn’t our job is to get our clients more sales results through the best sales and marketing strategy’s and creative execution that excites the consumer to purchase their services or products?
Of course it is. When we win they have seen wonder in our eyes and actions. What keeps me up at night is not seeing us win enough and the potential client missing something that I know that we all have.
January 16, 2012
Your Strategic Plan document is NOT to look pretty. Pristine. Like the pages have been bleached and ironed. Like you haven’t looked at it since it was created. Probably a year ago.
Rather, the document should look like it has been used. Used a lot. To record what you have learned while trying to execute your Strategy.
How to make your Plan an Execution Learning Guide?
1. Record Results Constantly. As you implement your strategy, what worked? What didn’t? Why? Write it down: in RED if the outcome was NOT on Plan; in BLACK if things worked out as planned. Clarify the implications of falling short of your objectives so you can take corrective action. Evaluate what worked well with reasons so it can be repeated.
2. Work in the document Daily. Refer to your Plan everyday. Make a point of commenting on some aspect of it. Study your notes. Call a meeting with colleagues to problem solve an important matter.
3. Shout out the Negatives. Executing any Plan is neither nice nor tidy. It’s a messy business. Progress is extremely Inelegant. People get hurt. They get frustrated. They sometimes get stressed out. That’s the way it is. And it needs to be told that way. People can’t go along that The Plan is going along well and that there are no bumps being encountered. Keep it real and honor those Heroes who been relentless in squeaking out progress in the face of painful odds.
And, after religiously adhering to these 3 tasks you have not messed up the Plan Document - blood stains from paper cuts, coffee stains, dog-eared pages and barely legible notes on every page - THEN it’s clearly of no value to you and you are getting nowhere implementing it.
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January 11, 2012
Thanks to Frank Palmer for this second Blog post from his “Weekly Messages” to his Team at DDB Canada…
“I recently read a interesting article about Professional Hockey Players who just retired. One player said: “I considered myself as well prepared to leave pro hockey as anybody and it was still quite a shock to me. Suddenly you are staring at this blank canvas that is the rest of your life. And it’s time to paint something different.” The lesson learned here is that we all need to be prepared to be thinking about what to do or where to go in life all the time. Hockey for most players can be a blessing and a curse. They get to live their dream and passion, then when it’s over they find it tough to find a second passion.
I have a passion for business. It’s my first and second passion. For the majority of my working life it’s been advertising and communications and it’s been a life-long passion. Finding your passion might mean that you need to let go of your current fears in order to experience more joy, freedom and fun.
My question to you is: What would you do if you weren’t doing what you are currently doing today? What career would you seek out that would ignite you all over again?
There’s many new businesses that excite and ignite me. If you are looking to find your passion you must let your true purpose guide you. I’m not sure that all Hockey Players truly wanted to be Hockey Players. I believe that it was their parents dream for some or most of them. No different than a lawyer or dentist wanting their children to follow in their footsteps.
Author/poet Carl Sandburg said:
“Time is the coin of our life. It is the only coin we have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spent it for you.”
I think that far too often we get stuck in a comfort zone and before to long it gets too late to do anything about it. We become at ease being in a place or zone where we can’t shine.
And in some cases the people or companies they work for won’t let them shine. I have loved what I’ve done, but there’s also many other businesses where I know my passion can shine.
We need to always ask ourselves a few questions:
-What motivates me?- What fulfills me? -What is it that keeps me passionate? -What comes naturally to me?-What can I do that includes having Fun?
Seems to me that in order to fill up that life canvas of yours with happiness and passion you will need to “Do what you Love and be able to have Fun at it.”
Remember you’re your own problem - you’re your own solution. So don’t leave your life canvas blank.
January 9, 2012
If you have the bandwidth to do only a few critical activities in 2012, these three will pay you back in spades:
1. Adopt BE DiFFERENT in your Leadership vocabulary. Start asking “How will this make us DiFFERENT?” when someone presents a proposal to you. Make this the test you apply to all new investments.
If a $10,000 new investment doesn’t make you Stand-out, why are you making it?
In addition, replace Best in Class conversations with “How do we Stand-out?”
Have a Stand-out Workshop every week to continually explore opportunities to breakaway from The Herd.
2. Focus on your Fans. Trust that if you take care of the people who are loyal to you and CARE about what you do, they will return the favor by spreading your word to others.
This is the real source of long term GROWTH.
Resist the temptation to offer special promotions to try and entice people to leave their current suppliers and come to you. “New Customer Acquisition Programs” that reward switchers and not your loyal Fans have no long term value.
In fact they insult the people who have supported you over the years.
3. Create The ONLY Statement for your organization as your competitive claim. “It’s not good enough to be the best of the best. You need to be the ONLY one that does what you do.” said Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. Amazing insight from the world’s most successful touring band. Uniqueness is the name of the game. If you’re not Relevant and Unique you will be common, invisible and ignored. And eventually dead.
Make these 3 strategies your priority for the coming year.
You’ll never look back.