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One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity to continually do something that can fundamentally – and positively – impact culture and commerce.
Of course, it doesn’t happen every time – or even much of the time – but every time I talk to a client or get a brief from a client, I get excited about what we could end up doing.
What we could end up creating.
What we could end up changing.
In some ways it’s a curse, because I get stupidly excited about stuff only to end up being slightly disappointed when we end up doing something that – while great – is a shadow of what I thought we could have done together.
And it’s all my own fault.
Because somewhere along the line, I’ve failed to explain why the bigger opportunity is better … how it can drive commerce, culture and creativity … how it would be an investment in their future, rather than just their present.
But despite that … despite more failures than successes … despite putting too much of my energy into things that are probably best left alone … I always begin every project as if all the shit of the past never happened and end up getting stupidly excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities and potential of where every single brief could take us.
I should point out, this does not mean I ignore the clients needs and wants, it’s just that I want us to respond in ways that are bigger and better than they ever expected or imagined. Than we ever expected or imagined.
Sure, that sometimes means we will have to go back and ask them to invest huge amounts of time and money into something they originally thought was going to be a ‘quick fix’, but even when we do that, we always  have a business case for it and  offer something that solves their immediate problem … because we know that if you don’t do that, then you’re become a hinderance to their business, not a help.
But as I said, more often than not, I fail to get them to buy the bigger plan – or at least how we hoped they’d embrace it – and as I said, I take responsibility for that, because getting them to dream bigger is part of my job and while I continually try to learn and adapt from the situations I’ve experienced in the past – both good and bad – the reality is my enthusiasm for what ‘could be’ always trumps the reality of what ‘probably will be’ and despite that often ending up being frustrating as hell, I like that I’m like that, I like it a lot.
I know I once started a company called cynic, but I’ve always been of the belief naivety, mischief, optimism and ambition are good traits to have – at least at the beginning of the journey – because they help you get past the past and see way beyond the short-term deliverables and obstacles. Sure, along the way you will have to embrace objectivity, context and countless other issues – and that may require you to rethink or readjust your original plan – but going into everything with the ignorant belief that this could be the project the client buys that ends up changing the rules for everyone and everything forever is hugely important … if only because enthusiasm is infectious and your excitement can influence and encourage colleagues and clients to go on a journey that ends up taking them to a place that’s much bigger and further than they would ever have otherwise achieved.
Yes, it helps if along the way you have the occasional ridiculously amazing ‘win’ – which I am very fortunate to have had, which is probably why I’m so happy to stay stupid – but the reality is, if you don’t aim high, then how the hell do you think you’re ever going to get off the ground?
Of course it’s hugely important to remember no one is going to buy enthusiasm if you don’t do the due-diligence to make it logical, acceptable and buyable – both for their current needs and their future ambitions – however whereas many people start each brief looking for – and at – the realities and mandatories, I believe this is the exact moment where you have to throw off the fear and blindly believe in the improbable, implausible and impossible because as my smart friend George once put it:
“Nothing great happens if you follow the rules”.
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