Tag Archives: inspiration

People, Organization, Work – Pick 2?

One of the first anecdotes my mentor told me when I started my career was, “Time, Money, Quality – pick 2.” For those of you in the business, I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before. And probably made jokes about it. Because, while the point is – you can’t have it all, more often than not, the push for delivery is to bring it all. It’s a never-ending challenge in the business of making and delivering stuff. But in the end, really, there is always a sacrifice.

I’m leading a huge transition at work right now and I’m finding the same sort of challenge. But it’s a different set of 3. I’m finding that the pillars of any group/organization/team are:

“People, Organization, Work”

People being the actual talent that makes up the team. There is an inherent dynamic that you must be aware of because it directly affects – positively or negatively – the culture of your team/organization.

Organization is actually the workflow, the process, the how things get done.

And the work is the work. It’s the stuff that you make.

In huge periods of transition, I feel like the struggle is the same as it is in delivery. Maybe even moreso. You know you have to reasonably focus on all of the 3, but at the end of the day, at any given time, something is sacrificed. Might just be for a day, might be for a week, might even be for a month. But which is it?

I’ll tell you which one I always try for it NOT to be.

Always, always – people. People are the key. If we get that right, everything else will be right. Just takes longer to do it, which is really where the challenge comes in. And, of course, you don’t want to overburden your existing people, because presumably, they are the right people.

So, the pick 2 thing – I’m still figuring it out. It’s a dance that changes on a daily basis. But the 1 I’m grounded in and try to always pick and not sacrifice is the people.

Do you find the same challenge out there? Would love to hear your stories, if so.

Quiet Giants

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

As I watched my daughter ‘graduate’ from first grade last week, I was amazed by a number of things –

1) despite trying to ignore the cliché, time really does fly and just like that, my daughter is going to be in the 2nd grade

2) the genuine love that the teachers and the students have for each other was palpable

3) each of the children is so different, and while all there for the same thing, the teacher had to find how each student learns and adapt accordingly

4) a simple mantra that might have been over some of the students’ heads, but it wasn’t over mine – “Quite Giants”

The teacher talked about “Quite Giants” – those who can do anything they put their mind to, but don’t beat their chest and brag and boast and say look at me. They quietly go about their business and accomplish deeds of giant proportion.

Quiet Giants. I love it.

I don’t know about you, but I have met my fair share of people who yearn for the spotlight, who want everyone to know that they’re the smartest person in the room, that they deserve all the credit, etc, etc. Regardless of the work they do. That is way overshadowed by the need to say, ‘look at me’ in all situations.

Then, there are those who plug away each day, focus on the challenge that is right in front of them, get resourceful, make things happen, and could ultimately care less about whether or not everyone knows or sees what they did.

I am not talking about wallflowers. You have to be active, you have to be communicative, you have to make an active contribution to the team. I’m talking about people focused on the right things – giving it their all, addressing what they’re dealt, and coming out with the best work product. Not with the best me product.

When building or leading or working on a team, my experience has been that these Quiet Giants are the X factor. They need to be active participants and need to compliment each other so that when the spotlight is shining, someone (or ones) can step in. Or speak up. Or lead.

In the end though, it’s the giant work and giant contribution that speaks louder than any words can.

Ten Minute Trials

I just read a post by one of my favorites, Seth Godin. In it, he talks about leaving behind artifacts. Most of the time, when we’re busy meeting, tweeting, emailing, there is hardly anything tangible to show for it. Certainly not something that can be looked back upon to record how you were, what you said, what you thought, what you actually made. But what if, just in 10 minutes, you had a place to record what you found, what you thought, what was on your mind?

This is one of the powers of a blog. Thoughts. Words. Opinions. Rants. Joys. Artifacts. A record.

The only problem is time. Darn time. It takes time to formulate thoughts into coherent sentences that someone can actually take something from. Not to mention the time it takes to decipher whether or not it is worth writing about in the first place.

But I love the idea of 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes to leave behind an artifact. And just 1 thought. That’s all it really needs.

So, I’m going to try it out. I don’t know how frequently I’ll actually be able to keep it up, but looking at it in this way enables me to feel a little less pressure. It’s almost freeing in these terms. We’ll see.


What’s really “King”?

Some say big ideas are king.

Others say content is king. This is a popular one.

Know what I really believe is king?


It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are over and over again. And/or how good your content, and even more, how good your work is over and over again. And/or how good you do a particular thing.

If your relationship is not strong and you do not nurture it and grow it, all of the work and all of the big ideas and all of the content can go away in an instant. Literally.

It’s just so important to take the time to create important relationships and then to cultivate them and grow them. It takes time. It’s not a flash in the pan. This is what makes it hard.

But this is what also makes it sustainable.

This is what makes it king.

Keep the Flame Burning

Passion is like a flame that burns inside you.

That flame is the thing that can keep you going, despite whatever else is going on. Too much this or that.

As long as the flame is still going, you can rely on it to rejuvenate you.

Recognize what this flame is inside you, what keeps you going.

And whatever you do, never let it get extinguished. If it does, it will be incredibly hard – maybe even impossible – to re-ignite.

Flames allow us to do what we do and more than that, to be our best selves.

Do whatever you can do to always keep your flame burning.

Great Words About Innovation

I read a great interview today with Ad Age’s Agency Executive of the Year, Bill Koenigsberg, CEO of Horizon Media. It was a glimpse into how he views innovation. It’s a short interview, so I’d encourage you to read it. There were a couple of points that stuck out at me:

1.” The entire media ecosystem has upped its game in innovation, but there is a yellow flashing light and those who innovate are going to win the land grab as we move into the future. And those who don’t will be left behind.”

2. “A lot of people think of innovation as a tactic, but it is a culture, and you need a recipe for it. You need the right people to drive innovation, the right tools and technology derived from insights on where innovation is born, you need the right environment.”

Make no mistake, if you want to succeed, much less thrive as a brand steward, you must always push – push to do something better, bigger, or new from yesterday. Gone are the days of setting and forgetting. It takes a purposeful approach in every aspect of your business. It is risky. It is uncomfortable. It might not always be successful. But these are the requirements now.

Be on time, be prepared, and be sober

Some of the best advice I ever received. Freshman year in college from one of my acting coaches, Larry Hovis. He was a simple man and this is simple advice.

Be on time, be prepared, and be sober.

It’s stuck with me ever since. Regardless of what I do (no longer acting), I think about this often.

If you show up day in and day out, do your homework before you show up, and have a clear mind, more good things will happen than not.


11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

What. A. Week.

In fact, what a year. But we won’t focus on that right now.?!?!

This was a quintessential agency week. One filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. One where you have moments that you know, without a doubt, this is why you do this, and you have moments that you question with every ounce of your being, is it worth it.  One that in the end, reminds you, through magic moments, that you were born to do something.

Through a couple of extraordinary circumstances this week, I found myself locked in a room with my college filmmaking buddy (who actually runs our production studio at the agency) ideating and writing scripts for one of our largest clients. It was a high pressure situation, timing was tight, and in a matter of 3 hours, we had concepted and written multiple scripts, were coordinating with the clients and legal and making arrangements to shoot one (or more) of the chosen concepts. Laughing, cursing, thinking, riffing. We were totally and completely in the mix, doing what we do. None of it felt like work.

In the end, we made a video. It’s a really good video. But that’s not my takeaway for the week. That’s not the magical part.

The magical part was actually the doing. Everything that went into making that video. It began with the belief that, against numerous odds, we could do this within the parameters we were given. It included taking a few risks through some of the concepts that we presented. And, most of all, it was about operating in our sweet spots – those zones where there’s 0 thinking about how to do it, you just do what you do, and something comes out as a result.

Work, no matter what business your in, is a grind at some point or another. It’s easy to grow complacent and go through the motions. For creators, this is death. Whether it’s you or one of your staff, recognize those things that enable you to operate in your sweet spot. It can be concepting and creating something or it could be organizing an event or it could be figuring out an enterprise-level network installation. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and above all, don’t be afraid to take on a challenge.

Magic just might happen.


This Year’s Desiderata

One of my favorite written pieces is Desiderata. It is a manifesto, of sorts, of how to live, and I’ve always found it to be aligned with my personal beliefs and thoughts. It’s just a really good, inspirational guide for me.

Last year, I wrote my own Desiderata, my own manifesto, for the year. My intention was for it to be the guide for me every day throughout the year. Looking back, I think I followed it pretty well. But I’ve got another year of life experiences and learnings in me, so I’ve written another one. This one building on top of the last one, which really builds on top of the original one. I’m going to try to let all of these words and principles be a foundation for me and my team as we embark on another year of great possibilities.


Be prepared for change. It will, no doubt, fill a period of time this year. While sometimes painful, it always marks opportunity. With opportunity comes decision. Your decision. Even if it is merely how you respond. These are the moments that strengthen your character.

Be led by what’s right. Right is not always easy. But if you know, in your heart, that you are making choices based on what is right, you can get through the hardest situations.

Know, too, that there are no small choices. Each choice matters and more often than not, all of the choices you make are connected in one way or another. This is hard. It requires awareness and discipline, two things that you must embrace. Few things are forever, but the choices we make are one of those things.

Play no games, be straight, and be at peace with the way people respond. You can’t control what they feel or think. You can only play your part and if you lay it out there the right way, you have done your job.

Keep plugging along. In good times and bad, do what you do. Keep your head down and Keep. Plugging. Along.

Do not be ignorant to life moments. You must recognize these moments, especially those that will happen only once. And do whatever you can to play a vital part in them. Don’t let them leave you behind.

You have a commitment to yourself to be great in all circumstances. If greatness is your expectation and driving force, you will be just fine.

Trust your gut. Regardless of how desperate or hopeless the situation might seem to be, your gut speaks more truth than you might give it credit for. Listen to this. Listen hard.

Stand in your power and do not give that power up. But always be kind. It’s simple, really. A kind heart is infectious and it makes things so much more pleasant.

More than anything, don’t lose your flame. There is a flame that burns inside you from your passion. Do whatever you can to fuel it every single day because once it goes out, it might not ever light again. Life without passion is hardly life.

And finally, try to find joy at all times. When there is no joy, stop and ask yourself what you’re doing. It might very well be the wrong thing. And if it is, the best thing you can do is to stop. And move on.





New means limitless opportunity.

New means the possibility of magic in everything you do.

New means starting something you’ve never done before.

New does not mean starting over from scratch.

New does not mean ignoring learnings you’ve picked up from a lifetime of experience.

We embark on something new every day and that’s an awesome gift.

May your new year be made up of unbounding opportunity and magical work.