The dirty secret of bullshit is that it can be a lot of fun. A vast number of games have been devised around the idea of bullshitting, from games like poker where you can cheerfully bluff your way to victory with a weak hand to modern games based on faking your way through tasks without giving yourself away. Successfully bullshitting is a skill worth developing.
Unfortunately for the best bullshitters, there has to be a time to put it aside and actually deliver on tasks. Even in creative, fun industries like marketing, you can only bullshit your way so far before the consequences come home to roost. As a result, for those in leadership positions especially, being able to cut through the flimflam and be straight with people is a vital responsibility.
That’s particularly true at a time in which many of the core tenets of marketing are being called into question. The trust of clients is being tested by issues around working culture, the ability to deliver on briefs in an ever more complex market, and new intermediaries between brands and audience. There are plenty of opportunities for mistrust in the industry, and those underlying issues won’t be solved unless leaders cut through the bullshit that obfuscates them.
Chris Hirst, global CEO of Havas Creative Network, is the author of ‘No Bullshit Leadership: Why the World Needs More Everyday Leaders and Why That Leader is You’, which features five techniques designed to do just that. This Cannes, an event at which the bullshit runs thick, Hirst will be presenting those techniques to an audience at The Drum Arms, as well as testing the ability of the audience to spot bullshit.
Hirst says: “There is an apocryphal tale of a renaissance sculptor who when asked how it was he managed to turn huge pieces of raw marble into objects of such beauty replied, ‘I simply chip away everything that I do not want’. The No Bullshit Leader also must chip away at everything she does not want in order to be able to maximise her and her team’s efforts where they will get the most return.”
Our ‘No Bullshit Leadership’ event, in partnership with Havas, is set to take place on Wednesday 19th June 3pm at The Drum Arms, Morrison’s Lounge, 8 Rue Teisseire, 06400 Cannes, France. Register here so you don't miss out.