Written by: Peter Noble
Advertising is a team sport. And being successful in this arena isn’t just a matter of having ninja-like InDesign skills or being near-clairvoyant in media planning. Success is built on a foundation of basic personal characteristics and abilities.
Having coached 10 Ad Teams that competed in the National Student Advertising Competition (including two National Championship winners), I’ve found three essentials that contribute to personal and professional success — Focus, Accountability, and Communication. Each of these is important on its own, and when combined, they become a powerful base for navigating the world of teamwork.
It’s very easy to get distracted in today’s multi-screen, information/entertainment-rich environment. Multitasking isn’t the answer. It simply doesn’t work. When you divide your attention among several tasks at the same time you can’t effectively focus on the task at hand. Multitask planning is the solution to juggling multiple obligations. Prioritize and plan your work to fully engage in each individual area. Focusing on what’s important at the time allows you to give your work the full attention that’s necessary to do your best work within the required time allotment.
Trust and confidence on teams are the glue that holds everything together. If you accept an assignment, you have to deliver. Your and your team’s success depends on it. Delivery is measured both as a process and a product. It means that you get the work done in an efficient, friction-free manner, you submit high quality work, and you absolutely get it done by or before the agreed deadline. When you own the work and you deliver on quality and timeliness, you earn the team’s trust and confidence.
It’s ironic that despite the fact that we’re in the business of communication many of the common problems in a team environment are rooted in miscommunication. Effective communication starts with a clear understanding of what needs to get done, how it’s to be accomplished, and when it needs to be completed. Once that’s established, communication throughout the process of the work is essential. Simple things like asking for additional resources and providing updates on milestone events can ensure success.
Focus, accountability, and communication aren’t the only elements of success in this business, but mastery in those three basic areas will give you an edge in this fast-paced competitive environment. The same benefits apply to success in life.