Okay, so you work long hours, but does that mean you're working hard? Because, "long" and "hard" are now two different things. In the old days, we could measure how much grain someone harvested or how many pieces of steel he made. Hard work meant more work. But the past doesn't lead to the future. The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that's really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It's about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.
It's hard work to make difficult emotional decisions, such as quitting a job and setting out on your own. It's hard work to invent a new system, service, or process that's remarkable. It's hard work to tell your boss that he's being intellectually and emotionally lazy. It's easier to stand by and watch the company fade into oblivion. It's hard work to tell senior management to abandon something that it has been doing for a long time in favor of a new and apparently risky alternative. It's hard work to make good decisions with less than all of the data.
Today, working hard is about taking apparent risk. Not a crazy risk like betting the entire company on an untested product. No, an apparent risk: something that the competition (and your coworkers) believe is unsafe but that you realize is far more conservative than sticking with the status quo.
Richard Branson doesn't work more hours than you do. Neither does Steve Jobs or Alan Sugar or Julian Richer.
None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you are. And I hate to say it, but they're not smarter than you either. They're succeeding by doing hard work.
As the economy plods along, many of us are choosing to take the easy way out. We're going to work for a big company, letting him do the hard work while we work the long hours. We're going back to the future, to a definition of work that embraces the grindstone.
Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you'd rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you've done that, to do it again the next day.
The big insight: The riskier your (smart) coworker's hard work appears to be, the safer it really is. It's the people having difficult conversations, inventing remarkable products, and pushing the envelope (and, perhaps, still going home at 5 PM) who are building a recession-proof future for themselves.
Author Seth Godin.
I share it because it sums up perfectly what we're forever banging on about alot at Here Be Monsters, the constant need to be smart in what we do.
“There are three things I think about the most when it comes to making it as a marketer these days.
The first one is there's no amount of money I can pay to get my commercial in front of you, because you can powerfully edit what you spend time with. So my job as a marketer is no longer to interrupt, but to produce content that is so relevant, interesting, entertaining and involving that my best consumers won't want to live without it.
The second thing is understanding that instead of brochures and trade shows, marketing now really begins with the product. Great companies are investing a lot of time and attention into trying to make products that market themselves.
The last piece is that user-generated content has made it possible for consumers to own your brand, and if they don't, you're not doing your job. The brands that are adopted, blogged about and parodied the most are the ones that are going to win because they're involved in the evolution of pop culture. If you're scared to have your brand played with, you're going to be left behind.”
How I wish they were my words, but unfortunately all I can do is claim to whole-heartedly second them. They belong to Jeff Hicks of Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Saw this quote over at Ben's blog
this morning and have decided we should stick it on our powerpoint
presentations from now on. Apparently, it came from those
smart guys at base camp
Maybe it's because I'm a copywriter, but I love quotes. If for no other reason than, they are a fantastic reminder that even in today's 'visual world' well-crafted words still have the power to resonate in a profound way.
So it used to concern me that when I met today's student teams and asked them what they were you got the same reply from both, we're creatives. Ask them how that works and who's going to write any words that are needed and you usually get something along the lines of; both of us, whoever's less busy, or the all encompassing, dunno haven't thought about it.
Digging a little deeper I discovered that all the major ad courses; St.Martins, Bucks etc. don't teach writing or art direction as a skill. They teach the creation of ideas.
All of which used to deeply trouble me. A lot.
But it doesn't anymore, because I was wrong and they are right (well, up to a point, it's the industry that's creative, not a person nor a department, but that's for another time.)
I was being lazy in my thinking. Why are we asking people to articulate an idea in a particular medium and then once they have, expect those very same people to craft it all the way through? The answer is, for no other reason than because that's how it's always been done. And that's no answer at all.
At Here Be Monsters, we're experimenting with a whole new structure, one that plays to individuals strengths and is loosely based on my experience of writing for Hollywood, where someone has an idea, another person writes it, another rewrites the funny bits, yet another rewrites the female voice etc. and it's all done under the watchful eye of someone (usually a producer) who has a very clear vision of what they want to achieve at the end of it.
And so if the solution to our client's problem requires written words we employ dedicated writers, people who feel the need to write; TV writers, comedy writers, script writers, copywriters, novelist and journalists to write them for us.
As I'm forever saying, now is the time for us to experiment.