Grit to Great by Linda Kaplan Thaler

Grit to Great by Linda Kaplan Thaler

Author:Linda Kaplan Thaler [Thaler, Linda Kaplan]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Published: 2015-09-08T04:00:00+00:00

Celebrate Small Victories

In advertising, our longest, toughest projects are often our assignments for pharmaceutical companies. We would often come on board while a drug was still in Phase 3 clinical trials. Often this means two years of work before the drug has even a hope of getting into the marketplace—assuming that the drug is finally approved. We have worked on any number of new drugs for a year and a half or more, only to learn that the drug did not receive approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Years’ worth of hard work can get shut down in days. Keeping teams motivated during that long ramp-up period requires that people stay focused on the long term—which is especially challenging when their peers within the agency are celebrating shorter-term campaigns, rewards, and recognition. Often, to sustain motivation, this means celebrating smaller victories, such as a good meeting, a favorable advertising test score, or a shout-out from the client in an earnings report.

Robin faces these same long-term challenges working on the truth campaign, today. In 2014, she helped to lead the launch of a major reinvention and reinvestment of truth. Robin knew it would take an enormous amount of grit for those on staff to give 110 percent to a project that wouldn’t be declared a victory until the final research results were delivered in 2017 (when a ten-thousand-person longitudinal survey measuring the long-term impact of the campaign on youth smoking would be complete). Because of that long wait for gratification, it was vital to celebrate smaller victories along the way to keep motivation high. Every week she sends a weekly email to the staff to call out small measurable achievements, such as an increase in the number of views of the campaign’s YouTube videos, Facebook likes, or sign-ups at the website. It’s a practice we made part of the culture at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, and one of the reasons we were always as intent on pursuing smaller pieces of business as well as the trophy fish. Pitching the relatively small NAPA Auto Parts account, for example, not only flexed our creative muscles while we were getting ready to pitch a mega-account like Wendy’s, but also provided a nice dose of job-well-done in the meantime.

“Working on multiple projects simultaneously in a sense staggers gratification,” says architect John Mack, a design partner at the award-winning firm HLW International. Among HLW’s portfolio is the renovation of the prestigious United Nations Secretariat Tower in New York. The renovation took over eight years with multiple consultants, working closely with the UN staff to complete work on the breathtaking 505-foot-high skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of the UN headquarters in New York City.

“It’s difficult to work on a project for that long and maintain the high level of commitment it deserves,” Mack admits. You need to always keep the end product in mind as well as learn to celebrate the small victories. “That may be approval of a design, reaching a construction milestone or most importantly


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