February 25, 2014

WHY REAL LEADERS SHOULD QUIT (AND ENCOURAGE THEIR TEAMS TO DO THE SAME)

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You’ve heard the old adage that quitters never win. What if we told you that isn’t always the case, especially in the marketing world?

Now, before you draft that resignation letter or send that email you’ve fantasized about sending (you know the one to that client), know that we aren’t talking about that kind of quitting. Nor are we talking about the kind of quitting that lazy cubicle-dwellers do everyday – the kind of quitting found in missing deadlines and disregarding work to play Candy Crush or whatever on Facebook.

Nope. We’re talking about the kind of quitting that helps you work smarter, harder, and more effectively. We’re talking about the kind of quitting that makes you and your team more productive more prestigious. These kinds of quitters are our kind of people because these kinds of quitters always win.

So, stop writing the resignation letter and learn how to quit more productively.

Here are the four things you should convince yourself and your team to quit immediately:

Being a yes man.

You weren’t hired to fall in line – you were hired to achieve the goals your client expects. We get it – saying no, or pushing against an idea, isn’t the most popular thing to do. If your experience and your knowledge tell you that an idea smells sour, you should provide meaningful feedback and present your case. Blindly saying yes might just cost you the business in the long term.

START HERE: Provide insight via a similar case study. Don’t just be a no-guy (no one likes a no-guy), but be a perspective-shifter. Share your concerns about the project or goals and back those concerns up with data from the field. Refuse to simply say no – give your client and your team the bullet point reasons. 

Fizzling out.

We’ve all been there – a project starts off as an inspired idea with everyone in the room excited and on board. The work begins at a furious pace and progress starts moving forward. You start focusing on other tasks and projects, only to come back to find that progress has slowed and the vision has fizzled out. What went wrong?

START HERE: Focus on small tasks to create the big picture. The big picture generates the enthusiasm, but the small tasks move projects forward. If your team is struggling to produce, consider breaking large tasks into a series of small deadlines. Small relay points will keep the team moving while keeping the finish line in sight.

Looking for love. 

You might not be bothered by what people think of you, but we guarantee there are people on your team who live and die by the praises they receive. The need for praise is a cancer – growing steadily and turning deadly over time. Convince your team that the real praise is found in meaningful work rather than a quick compliment.

START HERE: Focus on delivering valuable work. Bring it every day, and energize your team to work with heart rather than obligation.  Call out great work within your team and let them know when you personally missed the mark. Create a culture that hustles, and the accolades will take care of themselves.

Chasing rainbows.

One of the many great things about working in the marketing world is the vibrant creativity found within our teams. While our agencies depend on well-crafted and powerful ideas, the real value of our work is found in execution rather than creative thoughts. Move beyond the constant idea shuffling and do the work, plain and simple.

START HERE: Refine rather than redefine. When your idea meets resistance and struggles to get off the ground, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a totally new idea. Often, however, the answer lies within tweaking the strategy, not changing it completely. Convince your team to make small changes, rather than trashing the strategy and scouring for another viable option.

Sometimes, quitters win.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and find yourself surrounded by an uninspired team, put down the resignation letter and choose to quit in areas that are robbing you of your professional and creative best. Inspire your team, not with accolades, but with the sweat, hustle and beauty of putting in the hard work.

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