What’s the big idea?

I am here to tell you that the secret to success in your career comes down to three things: take risks, work hard, and get lucky.

Fred Wilson

Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything

Neurologist Daniel Levitin (as mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers)

If you improve by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put it all together.

Dave Brailsford, Great Britain cycling coach (as retold in James Clear’s Atomic Habits)

There’s a theme that runs through all of the above advice: Effort.

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Trying vs. winning

From the box of unanswered (unanswerable?) questions:

Is it enough to try?

I’ve been taught that yes, yes, absolutely YES it is enough to try. Failing is fine. Just do your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you. I’ve heard this philosophy, I’ve preached this philosophy, I’ve lived it. As a parent, it is baked into my core. As a people manager, it is indispensable to motivating my team. We can control our effort, we can’t control results. All you need to do is try. Trying is enough.

I am Team Try through-and-through.

But lately, I’ve been tempted by Team Win.

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The danger and ease of comparing yourself to others

It’s foolish, comparing apples to oranges.

But the funny thing about the comparison is that it does work on a few levels. Apples and oranges are both fruits, after all. They both have vitamins and minerals. They both grow on trees. They are both breakfast juices.

So you can see why it’s not completely wrong — in fact it’s downright excusable — to be a person who compares apples to oranges, which is exactly the type of person I become whenever my peers do great things.

Take Buffer (an apple) and Slack (an orange), for instance. Whenever I see Slack’s unicorn growth, I immediately wonder, “Why aren’t we growing like they are?”

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A One-Page Plan for Your Marketing Strategy

featured image for marketing strategy blog post

One of the lessons it’s taken the longest for me to learn as a marketing leader is perhaps the most obvious lesson of all: Marketing leaders are expected to lead.

What does this leadership look like? I’ve never really been sure. As a marketing teammate, I used to recognize leadership in the same way that editors recognize good writing. As William E. Rae said: 

An editor is a man who doesn’t know what he wants but recognizes it instantly.

– William E. Rae

Thankfully, I came across a strategy template that I recognized immediately as leadership. And I wasted no time to adopt it for my team.

I’d love for you to have it, too.

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Reinventing Organizations: A Radically Inspiring Way to Work Together

I am beyond blessed to work at a place that thinks deeply about not only the type of business that we do but also the way that we go about it. We move and adapt and experiment with new ideas all the time. And I think we’re on to something pretty special.

Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux might fundamentally change the way we do things. It tells the story of how companies have evolved along a spectrum of paradigms and ideas to the point where we’re capable of a pretty rad new way of working together.

The spectrum looks a bit like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.31.36 PM

The final step, the Teal step, is where we’re headed.

I’ve been involved with Amber and Orange organizations, and I’ve admired Green organizations from afar. Reading about Teal organizations has blown away my expectations and ideas about how to work, and I couldn’t be happier.

From the book:

Extraordinary things begin to happen when we dare to bring all of who we are to work.

Reinventing Organizations summarizes the main characteristics of Teal organizations into three parts:

  • Self-management. Everyone follows their interests and passions.
  • Wholeness. Everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole self to work.
  • Evolutionary purpose. The organization grows organically in the direction that it’s meant to.

This means no hierarchy or org chart for the company; we’re all a hybrid version of self-employed, in a certain sense. We’re trusted and valued and free. We share deeply and engage fully with every part of our being—hopes, fears, strengths, weaknesses, gratitude, humility, love, and whatever else you care to share. And when it comes to setting the vision for the future, we let the vision set itself.

It’s radical and beautiful and edifying and perfect. I want to hand a copy of the book to everyone I know and place it on the syllabus for every business class there is. I want everyone to be able to work this way. I’m beyond grateful that I get the chance to do so.

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