April 22, 2014
Guest blogging today is Clara Jacob, creative director.
“Change is your best friend,” said Greg Guse, Paulsen’s president, last week at our company’s annual meeting.
It’s tough to wrap my head around that one. My best friend is Ann. Not Change. We’ve been friends since we were three years old – steady and loyal – despite differences between us, challenges in our lives and all manner of change.
Maybe it’s just me, finally growing up, but lately I’ve noticed a lot of change. Transformations, resurrections, evolutions. It’s that time of year. The soil is coming to life, birds are coming home. I even slapped my first mosquito of the season.
Greg also recounted a quote he heard from speaker Ryan Estis at the national NAMA conference in Jacksonville, Florida, a few weeks ago – that the agency business has changed more in the last five years than during the last 95 years! Here in the creative department, the entire earth shifted when we went from sketches, typewriters and paste-ups to computers. People who couldn’t make the leap didn’t fare too well.
The truth is that survival requires change. In his book Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon quotes renowned jazz musician John Coltrane: “The real risk is in not changing.”
And in business we can create a competitive advantage by changing before others. Jack Welch famously said, “Change before you have to.”
Personally, I find change exciting. For example, I like listening to new music rather than oldies. Studies show that learning new things has a positive chemical effect on our brains.
Back to best friends: If our lives weren’t constantly changing, Ann and I wouldn’t have much to share. In fact, much of our friendship is based on our parallel yet different experiences of growing up as we ourselves change.
And back to business: Whether it’s harnessing digital, embracing big data or capturing mobile, our responses to change must be smart and immediate.