It was way back in high school when I read Ogilvy on Advertising. I still remember being awed by the mogul’s trumpeter swan concept.
He wasn’t referring to a brass band of long-necked birds, but to the importance of working with people who are more talented than you—and having the gumption to let them do their stuff.
I’ve always tried to live by that advice. In fact, the Sailshaker team can run circles around me in each of their specialty areas. I wouldn’t have it any other way. This crew raises the bar.
Strategic planning is at our core, so I’d be a fool not to surround myself with collaborators who go deep where I go broad. People who’ve Been There, Done That for mega brands in many industries. Who live and breathe what they do—and can always be trusted to bring important perspectives to bear.
Knowing that I have Team Trumpeter Swan on board, I have all the confidence in the world that we can tackle just about anything:
- Enterprise e-commerce website strategy for an international luxury brand? No sweat.
- Communications audit for a section of the world’s largest museum and research complex? You bet.
- Multi-year B2B campaign for the country’s premier scholastic organization? Up and running, and producing impressive results.
Now. Far be it from me to criticize an industry icon, but I think Mr. Ogilvy’s trumpeter swan description falls a little short.
I look for way more than extraordinary technical skills in the humans who pull the oars around here. They need to be super people, too.
Tall order? Maybe.
The older and wiser I get, the more important it is for me to enjoy, and trust, the people I surround myself with. Let’s face it, a marketing project, not unlike life, is a journey of many moving parts. There will always be some gear failure or a man overboard. How we deal with those situations determines our success.
Which brings me right back around to the individuals that I am proud and grateful to have on the team. You will be, too, if you choose to work with us.
These are folks with well-placed priorities. People who appreciate the Why and How, not just the What’s In It For Me. Whose mission is to cultivate skills in others, not just their own. Who aspire to change lives, not just purchasing behaviors. Who value family over finances.
If Mr. X, a design guru, needs the week to lead a creative workshop in his community, we plan around his schedule. If Ms. Y, a content specialist, is on an important book-writing deadline for a publisher, we all pick up her slack. If Mr. Z, an analytics ace, shuts down his Google dashboard every afternoon to make time for his son, why, we make room.
Together we weave a net of mutual respect and cooperation for each other, and for our clients.
See where I’m headed?
Ogilvy’s trumpeter-swan talent goes a long way. But if you don’t have the right people to take responsibility for all parts of the work, balance the work-life equation, enrich your mind or lift your spirits, you won’t get very far. As we all know, the wind and the waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.
But enough from me; I’d love to hear from you.
In your business, do you place a premium on The Big Idea, or small acts of humanity that make a big difference?
How do you define a trumpeter swan?