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Anyone who has read George Parker’s blog will know you never leave feeling the same way again.
Opinionated. Aggressive. Self-promoting. Petchulent. Rude. Loud. Blunt. Smart. Knowledgable. Funny. Challenging.
He is, quite simple, a force of nature.
And I love him.
You see while he might go off at the deep end on seemingly small matters and handles any criticism like some 5 year old kid who has been spoon fed e-numbers and espresso for the past 3 hours … he unashamedly speaks his mind and that is something this industry needs more of.
Now I know some people will say that is easy for someone who has achieved a lot in their career – and without doubt there’s some truth to that – however speaking up about something you don’t agree with should never be regarded as reckless, it should be regarded as mandatory.
Of course the key is ‘how’ you say stuff … I certainly wouldn’t recommend the George Parker method of calling a spade a fucking shovel as everyday behaviour [OK, I’m being a hypocrite, as I have said before, all people are in some way. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it] … however if you don’t let people know what you think or feel, there are massive implications, not just for you but for others.
I was recently invited to a meeting where I heard about an idea that some people had run ahead to try and make happen.
While their intention was right, it was about as mad as mad could be.
When I expressed this to them and explained why, there was a general acceptance that I had a point and they’d consider something else.
After the meeting, a couple of people I didn’t know, came up to me and said they were glad I’d brought it up because they felt the same way as me.
When I asked how long they’d known about it, they said a week.
Now as I wrote here, I appreciate it’s hard for some people to speak up – especially when it’s to their bosses – however had I not been invited to that particular meeting, a pretty horrendous situation could have happened simply because the people in the room who appreciated the implications [who I believe weren’t junior level at all], didn’t speak up.
OK, so I was once like that too.
I remember being asked why I didn’t speak up in meetings when I wouldn’t shut the hell up when I was in the office.
When I said it was because I didn’t want to say something stupid … I was told,
“If it makes sense to you, you should say it and if it’s stupid, the people in the room will quickly tell you and educate you why”.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever had.
And that’s why people like George Parker are so important.
In an industry that has turned into a bunch of sycophantic, back-slapping, follow orders, don’t-upset-the-client/boss, yes-men … people like George show the importance and value of having, inviting and voicing opinions.
Sure it would be wise to express them in less confrontational terms … sure, you should only say something when you genuinely have a point … yes, you should maintain an open mind because you might find your view is wrong … however letting people know what you think, why you think it and what else could be done ensures people will start to view you as someone who can play a critical role in developing stronger ideas, which is a damn sight better than being regarded as an individual whose main role is to be the cheerleader for whoever has the biggest mouth or title in the room.
OK, so tragically a lot of people go a very long way with the ass-kissing, back-slapping strategy … however in my experience, the higher up the industry ladder you go, the more good clients turn to the people they believe give them meaningful viewpoints and advice, not just empty platitudes.
So George, thank you. You’re playing a much more important role than even your ego thought you were. Ha.
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