When I was in school we often talked about what kind of agency is right for you and how do you find out what you're good at and what you love. But we would sometimes forget to talk about the bigger change that happens after school-
Let's face it, when you're in school you get pretty used to running the show and it's easy to be part of the alpha team. The day you graduate, that's the day you stop running the show (that's not a bad thing). When you step out into the real world (no matter what kind of real world experience you have had before), you're no longer the one in control and you become part of a cog. If you get into a good cog then you're considered a teammate, but if you're not so lucky, well... no one knows your name until you've been around for at least 5 or so years. I am really lucky that my cog invites me to be a teammate. And it's not up to one person to make it all work, it's up to everyone to make everyone else better. Yes, yes at the end of the day, it's all about the work, but what is even more important than the work? The process. Today we talked about the process of a strategist with Melissa Day, our head strategist and mentor to the associate brand strategists. I think I landed in a really great place and here is the proof:
What Makes a Good Strategist
By Melissa Day
1. Good strategists are able to discern when subjectivity is necessary, and when objectivity is necessary, and know the difference between them.
- Both divorce themselves and their personal opinions (objective)
- Place themselves in the situation and understand what is relevant, and what isn’t (subjective)
2. Good strategists are able to be macro and micro at the same time.
- Asking questions of what is around them, identifying patterns, and then picking up on subtle nuances
- Able to apply them in different context, understanding how the principles transfer
3. Good strategists are able to live in the past, the present, and the future.
- And relate it together and see patterns.
- Understand how what happened prior influences the present, and hypothesize about how it will determine the future.
4. Good strategists are able to live in ambiguity.
- Strategy is like a creative process. It is the birthing of a thought, a concept, while staring directly at a blank page.
- There are a lot of unknowns. My process is to get exposed to as much stimuli as possible. But like design, there is often that pivotal insight, quote, image that forms the basis for my strategic insight. That is what I’m searching for. And often I go away to formulate it.
- Strategy doesn’t happen at the computer. It happens in the bathroom, the car, on the sidewalk.
5. Good strategists are able to trust their gut.
- Strategy is an art and a science. 30% fact/70% gut
- Establishing a filter that helps you find the key pivotal insight and know that it’s right
6. Good strategists have many different experiences (and often careers), but understand how the principles translate.
- Having very different points of view to bring to the table.
This year, I am going to be dedicated to being a sponge, to being curious, and to asking more questions.