Jan7

How Saying Thank You Can Transform Your Career

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How did you feel the last time someone truly thanked you?
Not just the mumbled thanks for holding the door or handing you a tissue: a true, heartfelt expression of gratitude.

Being thankful can help others and it can help us. Grateful people reported fewer aches and pains and were more likely to engage in healthy activities, according to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences.1 A separate study found that gratitude can lead to increased self-esteem and better relationships with team members and supervisors.2

In addition to the happiness boost that comes from focusing on the good things in your life, saying a simple “thank you” can also bring a huge boost to your career. Recognizing the contributions of your colleagues helps to build stronger, more dedicated teams, and leads your peers to look to you as a leader. Gratitude, like praise, can help to reinforce positive behaviors, leading to a culture of success within your team and organization. Gratitude is also a great way to “pay it forward,” building good will for those moments when you need others to help you achieve your goals or take a risk for you.

Expressing gratitude can also help you to build a professional network. Recent research has confirmed what we have all known for years—that saying “thank you” to a new acquaintance increases the likelihood that he or she will share contact information with you, helping you build your professional network (and make a new friend!).3

So how you can implement gratitude in your career? The first step is simply recognizing that business is a team sport. Has a supervisor taken time out of their day to answer your questions or train you for your next big move? Did a colleague stay late to help you meet a deadline? A sincere, heart-felt thanks can make someone’s day.

Ogilvy CommonHealth also offers a great way to say thank you through the You Earned It! program. This program was created to allow team members to reflect on the contributions necessary to achieve a great outcome and publicly recognize colleagues. According to Darlene Dobry, managing partner, the program has been tremendously successful across all units and skill centers. “It is great to see how infectious the program is. People reach out to thank others and the feeling spreads. It is particularly nice to see people reaching out across departments to thank people they don’t always have a chance to work with and building lasting collaborations.” So the next time a colleague does something great, send them some YEI points and your heartfelt thanks.

“Thank you” may be two simple words, but the recognition and appreciation encapsulated in that short phrase has the power to transform you, your colleagues, and your organization.

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References
1. Hill PL, Allemand M, Roberts BW. Examining the pathways between gratitude and self-rated physical health across adulthood. Pers Individ Dif. 2013;54(1):92-96.
2. Chen LH, Wu CH. Gratitude enhances change in athletes’ self-esteem: the moderating role of trust in coaches. J Appl Sport Psychol. 2014;26(3):349-362.
3. Williams LA, Bartlett MY. Warm thanks: gratitude expression facilitates social affiliation in new relationships via perceived warmth. Emotion. 2015;15(1):1-5.

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Dec17

Woo Hoo!

Throughout our careers we all may come up with great ideas, but they don’t get too far if they don’t come across to our clients.

The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas, is a great read! Written by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, the book offers a new approach to idea selling. The word “woo” in the book is defined as the ability to “win others over” to your ideas without coercion, using relationship-based and emotionally intelligent persuasion.

The Art of Woo has a four-step approach to their idea-selling process. 1) Persuaders need to polish their ideas for the social networks that will lead them to decision makers. 2) Confront the most common obstacles that can sink ideas before they get started. 3) Pitch your idea in a compelling way. 4) Secure both individual and organizational commitments. Throughout the book the author reference historical business cases that helps bring this approach to life.

As you can imagine, individual personality plays a key role in how you influence others. The book includes two personalized “diagnostic” tests that readers can take to discover their persuasion strengths and weaknesses (I won’t share my results!) One of the diagnostics is the “Six Channels Survey,” designed to help people learn which of the key channels of influence they feel compelled to use most often at work, and which they would prefer to use if given a choice. These channels include Authority, Rationality, Vision, Relationships, Interests, and Politics. Throughout the book you learn how to better understand these six channels.

The Persuasion Styles Assessment is in the book, and helps readers determine the degrees of assertiveness and natural social intelligence they bring to the idea-selling process.

The Art of Woo goes on to describe five distinctive styles:

The Driver—a highly assertive person who gives only limited attention to the social environment

The Commander—a grove-like person who has a quieter demeanor

The Chess Player—a quieter person who attends strategically to the social environment

The Promoter—a gregarious type who uses high levels of social intelligence

The Advocate—who strikes the balance among all the others

Definitely an entertaining read, and certainly relevant to what we all do every day.

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Dec3

The Difference Between a Job and the Work

How many times have you been asked by family and friends “what type of work do you do?” And, how many times have you struggled with how to answer the question? How exactly do you respond in a way that they understand? Do you share the details of your daily job, the challenges you may encounter? Do you focus on the trials and tribulations of the daily routine? Or, do you express a sense of the work you are involved in-the mission you dedicate your life to each and every day?

The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness - courtesy of instagram.com/ogilvymather

If you’ve read The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness published by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in 2009, you know that it speaks to the 8 habits of creative communities. They include courage, idealism, curiosity, playfulness, candour, intuition, free-spiritedness, and persistence. The overall messages are geared toward how to turn bad habits, discontent, and sour attitudes into good. And while the book generally speaks to the corporate culture, the work, it also serves up lessons for how we can improve as human beings on a personal level, how to create better life experiences, the work.

Recent television news reports smack of intolerance, bully behavior, lack of teamwork, and lack of respect. If commentators, other “leaders”, and global influencers worked a bit harder at the 8 habits, wouldn’t we be in a better state of mind and actually do a better job at motivating and helping people instead of shutting them down and making them feel disillusioned, in a state of hopelessness, despair, and unhappiness? The “work”, in my mind, is the inner sense of positivity, of paying forward, of keeping true to yourself in an environment of negativity; of lending a hand, of championing an idea when it’s not popular, of having the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of who is advocating, and for defending the character of the effort, having someone’s back, especially when you know that they have given their time and made every effort to move the needle forward. Whether you are in the workplace or at “your home base,” being principled-at all times-is the work.

So perhaps when someone asks you again what you do, think a bit about describing the work you do versus the job you do. What is your contribution to improving healthcare in a positive way for our clients and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole? What eventually benefits the consumers? For example, helping patients who need financial assistance to gain access to the therapies they need to improve their well-being. The more we focus on the ideas and campaigns we create, the honesty and spirit we bring to work each and every day, the teamwork we encourage, the wisdom and passion we pass on to the junior staff, the energy we exhibit and the expressions of thanks we send out, the more grace we practice, the more we instill energy and pride in the organization, we create the place of happiness the book speaks about. In addition, there are many wonderful, positive, and impressive statements of work and demonstrations of community support (whether it be local, state, or global) that Ogilvy employees contribute to on a regular basis. To name a few, there are the personal mentoring efforts, the Chrysalis Initiative, YouEarnedIt, Community Service Day, AHA Heartwalk, Tunnel to Towers Run and Walk, Jersey Cares Coat Drive, and the Community Foodbank of NJ, and Dress for Success. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar organizations Ogilvy employees touch in hopes to create a better world.

So ask yourself ….. What line of work are you in???

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Oct15

Pitch Perfect?

Pitching Blog Image 170x127“Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about. They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.”

-Vince Lombardi

 

Well, it’s football season, so what better way to start things off than with a coach who understood the roots of winning.

While football season is only with us when the air cools and the kids put on their backpacks to return to school, pitch season is always upon us.

For those of us who are pitch junkies, it is an amazing blend of S&M-brink-of-pleasure-and-pain that makes the experience so fulfilling. There is a magnificent energy that, if harvested correctly, can have your team humming along towards a victory at the finish line.

Recently, I was part of a winning team that came together perfectly, so I thought it would be interesting to showcase what went right and provide a few guideposts to follow on your next pitch adventure.

1. Don’t Check Your Ego at the Door

We always hear that to work as a team, you need to tone the ego down a bit. I’m not so sure this is true. Keeping your ego in place can elevate the work and push others on your team to do the same. Challenging each other while still respecting team members can make all the horrible ideas fall by the wayside. Remember, ego doesn’t mean you’re always right. It just means you are confident in yourself. If everyone’s feeling the confidence and not being threatened by it, victory shall be had.

2. Account People Are Creative

Creative doesn’t just mean fancy words and amazing visuals. In our industry, it calls for a deep understanding of what the client is looking to do with their product: Do they want to create a new category or separate it from their competitors? What impact can they make and what space do they want to play in? This is creative thinking, so if you see it this way, if you make the Account lead’s brain part of this process, your creative will be elevated with a strong reasoning behind it. Remember, our Account friends don’t live to fill in boxes of spreadsheets. They’re here to be part of the fun. Let them play!

3. Digital Is Not Separate From Creative

We have a strong tendency on pitches to not bring Digital in until the last minute. At this point, they are usually asked to produce a few “tactics” to help elevate the overall big idea. This is like constructing a building and then asking someone to come in and give their advice on how to decorate the lobby. They won’t have a vested interest in the finished product. Digital folks are up on the latest technology trends, so there their tactics greatly help to push the creative to a higher level. If they understand the science and are part of the medical download, their chops will be even more valuable. Bring them in early.

4. Your Medical Director Should Be Along for the Whole Ride

The science leads on your project are not just people clicking through PowerPoint slides, explaining disease-state information. Understand that they are an integral part of this industry because they bring what they’ve learned in the lab to the people. We, the pitch team, are their first point of contact, so embrace their information. Ask questions. Probe. It will come through to the client. Medical Directors have tremendous minds to explore, so if you make them your partner instead of just your teacher, you’ll find the relationship to be a boost to all. When it comes to pitch time, they are going to be the ones answering the client’s most challenging questions, so it’s best they feel like they have contributed to all aspects of what’s being presented.

5. Your Creative Team Is Always Listening

This is where all of the science, strategy and direction comes together as an idea. Good creative is the combination of thoughts into a beautiful idea that has a life of its own. While embracing an idea is important, it’s essential that the ownership of the idea go to the pitch, not the creative team. Beautiful creative is an offering to the greater good of the team. It’s a manifestation of everyone’s hard work. To perform at a heightened level, the creative team needs to have all the possible information available to them. Invite them to meetings and let them hear your internal debates. You never know where a creative idea is going to come from.

There you have it. The quote at the top by Lombardi is the overarching theme that can guide your pitch. There is that intangible bond that all pitch team members feel with each other that comes through to the client. Remember, they want to have confidence in the team that will be carrying out their vision for their products.

Nothing is more potent than the fuel of love. And perhaps a drink or two along the way to help get you across the goal line.

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Sep11

Wait Up!

Karen Rose Redworks Blog Image_EDCycling down the Greenway in NYC, I became separated from my friends and lost sight of them. I stopped and called my boyfriend from my cell phone but wasn’t entirely certain he had brought his phone with him on his bike. I figured, nothing to do but keep cycling and hopefully catch up with them.

Then my chain broke. Geez! I made another call, then sat down and thought, “Now what?”

Three options came to mind: 1) Find a bicycle store and get the chain repaired; 2) Walk my bike to the Port Authority and take a train home; or 3) Stay on the Greenway and wait in the hopes that my cycling friends would come back and find me.

I dismissed Option 1 quickly: If I left the Greenway, I wouldn’t know if they came by while I was gone. I wasn’t keen on Option 3: Wait?! For how long? No guarantee they’re coming back the same way. My impulse reaction was Option 2: Take a train home and catch up with my friends later.

And I almost went with Option 2. But then I forced myself to slow down, resist a gut response for immediate action, and think it through. What if I walked all the way to the PA and found that I couldn’t take my bike on the train? Then I’d need to return to the Greenway and, well…same concerns as Option 1.

I reluctantly gave in and decided to wait. Not thirty minutes later, I saw my friends cycling toward me. My knights in shining Under Armour! They rigged my chain and got me back in the saddle in record time. And off we went. Problem solved! And all it took was the presence of mind to take a deep breath…and…wait.

On the ride back to the George Washington Bridge, I pondered how often at work we are presented with similar decision-making each and every day. We may not have all the information we need, yet we often need to “keep the job moving.”

But how often do we end up with redos? Or missing something? Or wasting precious time and resources moving something to the next step that would have been better to wait for clearer direction?

Sometimes pausing is the best action you can take.

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Jun5

A Case Study: Unlearning

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“Fail, fail again, fail better.” Samuel Beckett

I have this fear of making mistakes.

I find that I’m always second-guessing and triple-checking myself in most things I do because of that fear. When I do end up making a mistake, I find that I spend about 5 minutes scolding myself and wondering how it could have all been avoided. Let me just say that I find about 10 different ways to answer that question.

But isn’t making mistakes a part of life?

Yes. Everyone makes mistakes in life but it is how you bounce back from those mistakes that defines you. I recently listened to a podcast where the focus was on learning and unlearning. To “unlearn” means to let go of what you have already learned or acquired. To unlearn, you have to be open to letting go of what has been pushed on you for so long, pressing the pause button, and relearning all over again—but this time, the right way for you.

After some research, I decided that the time was right for me to start unlearning a few things—therein began my month of renewing my mind. Here is one thing I’ve “unlearned” thus far:

1. All mistakes are bad.

I recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review about “The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes.” Paul J.H. Schoemaker and Robert E. Gunther, the authors of the article, state that “the resistance to making mistakes runs deep, creating traps in thinking and decision making”—a statement that I wholeheartedly agree with. I believe the No. 1 thing that gets in the way of us being our best creatively is fear. I am learning to call my mistakes “experiments.” We live in a world of trial and error, and sometimes the greatest things can come out of simple experiments. As a wise person once told me, “It’s all about where the creative work is taking you and not where you are trying to take it.”

I have come to believe that in our line of work, especially in the creative department, we shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes. Embrace it because some of the greatest innovations have come from just the simplest mistakes. Don’t believe me? Take some time and research how one of the antibiotics widely used today—penicillin—was created.

I’m still on my journey of unlearning, and if you would like to learn a little bit more, feel free to reach out!

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May23

The Art of Self-Reflection

reflectionsOne of the many benefits of having my great-grandmother well into my adulthood was the opportunity to learn many tidbits about what was important in life and how to assess and improve character. Of all the gifts she imparted, one in particular really stuck with me, and I have tried to apply her advice daily in both my professional and personal life.

Whenever hearing her great-grandchildren complain about something or someone, she’d say (as she danced at age 96 with an imaginary partner after having a brandy or two), “When you point those fingers, take a good, hard look at them. You have three fingers pointing back at you!

I’m sure it’s a phrase that many of us have heard through the years. The lesson, of course, is to own it, whatever it may be. To grow and learn from our mistakes means investing time to look within, objectively assess situations, and determine “How did I contribute to that?” and “What can I do to make sure it does not happen again?” It’s easier said than done, of course, and it’s always easier to point a finger in another direction. Admitting to one’s mistakes takes quite a bit of courage. But while difficult, self-reflection leads to a very satisfying place, a peaceful place. It assures growth in only the best and most productive way.

So why not apply the same principle in the workplace. If our goal is to find the balance between being client-centric and company-centric, it means not only delivering quality work in a timely fashion and being efficient, but also holding our company principles to heart and ensuring our staff does not burn out in the process. To achieve this in our fast-paced agency world, self-reflection must be an ongoing and open process. It requires each of us to have the hard conversations with ourselves and our colleagues and commit to being part of the solution. It means letting our teammates know that “I know I could have done some things better and this is what I promise to do in the future to ensure success”; or “…this is what I will change in my behavior to help us get to a better place.”

Some things are in our control, others are not. But for those that are, the art of self-reflection and recommitment to change will land us in a good and positive place. If you don’t already do it, give it a try. My guess is it will be infectious and feel good, not to mention result in a truly collaborative, collective effort in the workplace.

So then, what’s your promise?

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Nov26

Taking Leadership Lessons From the Queen

queen elizabeth 1I’ve always been intrigued with historical perspective and, in particular, the long-established monarchy that is still firmly entrenched throughout much of Europe. So it was no surprise that I found myself unable to put down the book Elizabeth I CEO: Strategic Lessons From the Leader Who Built an Empire, which chronicles Elizabeth’s long reign and leadership lessons that helped her to win intense loyalty and lead her country to greatness.

Despite being proclaimed the “bastard child” of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn,  she assumed  the throne of England at the age of 25 and reigned for 45 years. As a female leader, I found her approach fascinating, and while the book highlights 136 guiding principles and some great historical examples, here are just a few that stood out:

  • She was confident in herself and not afraid to surround herself with extraordinary advisors—seeking the wisdom and perspective of others.
  • She was of strong intellect, worked tirelessly to build her knowledge, and always armed herself with insights and facts to make clear, unwavering decisions.
  • She had the courage to make decisions and take aggressive actions, accepting full responsibility for them, even when they were unpopular.
  • In order to win over her subjects and the hearts of her people, she leveraged her personal dynamism, and was not afraid to project her humanity.
  • She found that mentoring and effective coaching helped her to accomplish much more than by simply doing it all herself—she was not afraid of empowering her team.
  • She communicated directly and often.
  • She had no issue with being present at the front lines and putting her life at risk with those she led.
  • She acknowledged people, thanking and rewarding those who had done or offered her service.

It’s a fascinating and inspiring look at leadership which is as applicable today as it was in 1558.

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