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A memorable year for reasons other than a global pandemic

BRAVE SPARK

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March 26, 2021 | 4 min read

The past year has been a baptism of working from home

Getting to know colleagues and clients from my living room. Running virtual pitching and welcoming new team members from a distance. The global pandemic has pushed people to work differently. To be more curious, more adaptable, more resilient. As I start to look and plan forward, here is what I will remember for a long time to come. A memorable year for reasons other than a global pandemic.

Find a bottom drawer for the best projects you never launched

Agencies regularly pitch killer ideas to clients that are right but not right, for right now. Ideas that have excited and inspired internal teams to think beyond business as usual, invited them to find a fresh perspective, or sparked a discussion. These ideas deserve a home, even if it is in a bottom drawer somewhere. Like one full of odd socks, until one day one is able to find its match.

Share half-finished thoughts for others to help finish

Creativity can come from anyone in a business. Independent of job title, hierarchy or experience. Diverse thinking doesn’t jeopardise performance, it fuels it. It gets you to a better place together than apart. Sharing ‘this isn’t right but…’ ideas, even when they aren’t fully formed, can provide a stepping stone to something bigger. A half-finished thought shared is a whole one in the making.

Pitch ideas to solve, not to sell

In every client pitch lies a unique problem to solve. One that requires fresh, innovative thinking instead of pre-packaged solutions or service offerings. Successful pitching results in sales but winning often depends on an ability to solve. Agencies driven by solving over selling are not afraid to pitch ideas that feel uncomfortable, challenging how something is done in order to do it differently.

Treat every project as an opportunity to win your next

Continuously take pride in the quality of the work you deliver for your clients. When you measure yourself by your last project and not just past successes, you treat every project as an opportunity to win your next. Consistently delivering and always striving to provide more value to your clients.

Rate revenue as highly as cashflow

Consistent cash flow is critical for business survival but invoicing and revenue should be rated as highly as each other. Invoicing ensures money continues to flow into a business whereas revenue acknowledges when and how much money is earned every month. By solely focusing on invoicing, agencies can run the risk of becoming more like a bank or a charity.

Recognise curiosity requires you not to always know what to do next

Not knowing what to do or say next can feel deflating. In those moments you can feel like a fraud but in reality, your mind has to be more open and more curious than ever to find a way forward. Curiosity is a desire to question, to challenge, to learn. It requires us not to always know what to do next and sometimes to run on instinct, focusing on what feels right.

Find energy in not taking yourself too seriously

Sometimes you have to simply grin and bear difficult times at work and in life as they pass. No matter how hard it gets, having a sense of humour can provide the energy to keep pushing forward. Breaking the monotony and seriousness of work routines. If you can work hard without taking yourself too seriously, you will meet triumph and disaster just the same (thanks Rudyard Kipling!).

Accept that trying your best will always be good enough

Mental health requires flexibility, not perfection. To worry less about what you can’t control to reserve energy for what you can. To set clear boundaries for yourself and realistic expectations with others. To be kind to yourself and others if they lose their way. Whether you feel like you are winning, losing or drawing, if you can honestly say you tried your best that will always be good enough.

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