Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where Do You Draw the Line?

Admirable work only results when creatives draw the line, Seth Godin says in his recent post, "Milton Glaser's Rule:"

"There are few illustrators who have a more recognizable look (and a longer productive career) than Milton Glaser," Godin says. 

"Here's the thing: When he started out, he wasn't THE Milton Glaser. He was some guy hoping for work.

"The rule, then, is that you can't give the client what he wants. You have to give the client work that you want your name on. Work that's part of the arc. Work that reflects your vision, your contribution and your hand.

"That makes it really difficult at first. Almost impossible. But if you ignore this rule because the pressure is on, it will never get easier."

Agency exec Bill Kircher (my former boss) used to spout similar adages when the pressure was on. I'll sum them up in a rule I'll call "Kircher's Law:"

Whenever an agency bows to a client's creative direction, the probability of later incrimination approaches 100%.

Although creatives are quick to cite their duty to themselves, the truth is, every professional shares the right to draw the line.

Remember the film The King's Speech

Early in the story, the therapist draws the line with a haughty Queen Elizabeth: "Sorry, this is my game, played on my turf, by my rules."

But with prerogative comes accountability. You can't have your kingly cake and eat it, too. 

Do you:
  • Respect everyone, coworkers and clients alike?
  • Arrive on site ready to work?
  • Tackle chores that need to be done to stay in business?
  • Avoid short cuts and excuses?
  • Learn from mistakes?
  • Consider how your decisions affect the company, not just your department or career?
  • Speak truthfully and with the passion of an owner?
Do you—where do you—draw the line?
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