The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

People Better Than You Bring Out The Best In You …
February 16, 2011, 9:27 am
Filed under: Comment

So as you know, I’m in Rio.

Apart from the fact the weather is stunning – as is the view [both landscape and eye candy] – one of the things I’m enjoying most, is sitting in a room with a bunch of my colleagues and trying to contribute to the conversation.

I know … I know … a bunch of planners in a room sounds like most peoples idea of hell, but we’re not going on endlessly about the optimum powerpoint template for a planning presentation, we’re being quite focused and disciplined on some key issues we want to get a better grip on, which are much more about what we don’t want planning to become rather than the other way round.

Anyway the reason I am enjoying the challenge of trying to contribute to the conversation is because my colleagues are good – like proper good – and the way they think/talk/act naturally makes me lift my game … both in terms of questioning what I believe and thinking about things I might otherwise not have considered.

To be honest, constantly questioning myself is one of my most common – and annoying – traits, however the challenges I’m facing aren’t because of a bunch of my self confidence issues, they’re because a bunch of clever folk have raised interesting thoughts and opinions that have resulted in me having to consider – and re-consider – a bunch of stuff I may otherwise have not thought of.

It’s for this reason I always believe you should work with people who are better than you.

Now lots of people say that because it’s the right thing to say, but the fact is, it’s true.

People who are better than you make you think and do in new, fresh and interesting ways … ways that more often than not, you’d of not even come up with, let alone consider … and that’s why collaboration is so bloody important, because someone who has to judge their own ideas will never be able to be truly objective.

And this leads back to a post I wrote recently about letting your fears drive you, rather than your ego.

Adlands ‘Ocean 11’ … except there’s only 6 of them [Dave Terry is off to the side, scaring locals] and only 2 are gorgeous.

Because as much as ‘better’ is open to interpretation [except in my case obviously] the thing is, I don’t believe anyone really wants to feel they’re adding nothing to the debate and so what they tend to do is try really hard to raise their game if only so they can feel they have earnt some respect from the people they respect so highly.

Of course this can be a dangerous game if it becomes about diminishing another persons ideas for your own personal gain, but as I wrote here, if done properly, fear can create creative tension that lets your brain/actions go to places you never thought they could go … and as a byproduct of that … the baseline of ideas gets raised and raised again and suddenly everyone starts getting to better places than they ever dreamed of achiving.

All of this is fairly obvious – and the theory fucks up because I doubt my colleagues would say my contributions have raised their game – however this is a pivotal reason why I believe planners should never work in isolation because at the end of the day, it is almost impossible to be truly objective and challenged when you are judging your own actions which is why regardless of whether you work in a big agency or on your own, you must find someone or someway to bounce things off because working with people better than yourself will improve you more than writing 10,000 briefs.

[PS: Has this post justified having this meeting in Rio yet?]

17 Comments so far
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This post is fantastic but needs more hot Brazilian babes in bikini’s.
I’m just sayin… Andy?

Comment by Age

Joking aside I agree with you. Some of the best pieces of work I’ve done only emerged after many hours of closed door conversation, arguing, yelling, cursing, and debating. Often the perspective of another person is like a boulder sitting in the middle of the railway tracks your brain has been fixed to.

Comment by Age

Were your ears burning today by the way?

Comment by Rob

🙂 !!!!

Comment by Age

You jetlagged Rob? I’m not guessing that because you’re posting at odd times, but because it’s even shitter than you usually are.

I’ll bet you $100 I haven’t got you’re doing no work and just taking the piss in Rio. I’m not angry, I’m jealous. If that’s what planners at W+K do sign me up. Holidays, cash and no work, that’s fucking my kind of job.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Didn’t read any of the post except the last line. The answer is “no”.

PS) Is Andy there yet?

Comment by DH

I already learned

Comment by Jim

Which two are gorgeous?
I presume you don’t mean Colman, he just looks hard

Comment by northern

You are all certainly dressed for an important global meeting.

Comment by Lee Hill

1) If your headline were correct, we’d all be brilliant.

2) Chivalrous male planners leaving women to fend for themselve

Comment by john

Absolutely right. The minute you think you’re the smartest guy in the room, you will be doomed to mediocrity. Synergy can’t be accomplished by yourself. (Is there any eye candy I might enjoy?)

Comment by adchick

Absolutely right. The minute you think you’re the smartest guy in the room, you will be doomed to mediocrity. Synergy can’t be accomplished by yourself. (Is there any eye candy I might enjoy? HA!)

Comment by adchick

That’s right, c’mon Campbell, share some shots of hot Brazilian totty (and I don’t mean Boucher)

Comment by northern

what the fuck is this shit? just admit youre on a fucking jolly and be fucking done with it. even if youre not, who the fuck is going to feel sorry for you having a fucking conference in rio. if planners are so fucking smart about knowing what people are thinking, you and your merry band of fuckwits should know the only thing people will be thinking of you is that youre all a bunch of jammy fuckwits.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with the sentiment exactly. I’m just wondering whether you’ll be so happy when you have to go to a group planning meeting in Iran…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Funny you should write that when I’ve just written a post just on that very point. Actually, I’d find a meeting in Iran fascinating – as long as I have a bullet proof vest. Ha.

Comment by Rob

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