Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to achieve more than over-achievers.

          During my entire career in advertising and marketing, I've been completely turned off by over-achievers.

          You know them. The ones that go to meetings with 30 ideas, not two or three. Those that work all weekend and let you know that they finally got done at three this morning. Those that not only dig into the research but use words like "undercover participant response" and "multivariate analysis" to rationalize their ideas, even though their ideas are totally off-strategy.

           Then one day I realized I'm an over-something, too. I'm an over-committer.

           When I take on an assignment, I over-commit to doing a good job. I make sure I dig deeply enough to come up with something that distinguishes a product from a competitor. I dig even deeper to make sure that difference is meaningful to the customer; that it's important.

           Then I make sure I can support this with a reason why it's believable. A reason that will dissolve the natural cynicism of TV watchers, magazine browsers, and social-media butterflies --- and those that have Pandora on at the same time.

            In other words, when I work on a project, I'm my own best enemy. That's over-commitment.

           Or maybe not. Maybe this is the kind of commitment it takes in these competitive times. In an era when fascination with technology seems to be trumping an interest in substance.

           Of course, I started in this business long before there was Facebook. I never asked anyone to tell the world they "liked" what I was doing. I just wanted to keep my job.


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