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How Much Runway Do You Need?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

An aircraft must reach sufficient speed to take off. The pilot needs enough runway to achieve that optimum speed. The same is true of our projects and ideas. Velocity alone is not enough to make an idea fly. Ideas also need time.

We often focus our energy on gathering speed and creating momentum, while forgetting the importance of allowing ourselves enough runway. How much runway does your idea need?

Image by Björn

The Immeasurable Benefits Of The Immeasurable

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Success

Joanne has no idea what the return on investment of sweeping her bakery floor is. And yet she does it first thing each morning before the first customer arrives.

Harry has no way of knowing if the three hours he spends cleaning his taxi inside and out at the weekend makes a difference to passengers. But he makes the effort all the same.

Sean will never meet the diners who sit admiring the view from the restaurant windows he cleans. That doesn’t stop him polishing out every single smudge and smear.

We underestimate the value of the things we cannot quantify or track—not only to our customers, colleagues or companies but for the joy and fulfilment they bring us in the doing of them. The way we do the work, not just the work itself, is how we own our story.

Image by Udo Geisler

Meaning At Work

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

There is an element of the mundane in every job. Consider the cabin crew who work on long-haul flights. The majority of their work is the repetitive, and strenuous task of wheeling trolleys full of food and drink down narrow aircraft aisles while repeating the same script, ‘chicken or beef’, to the three hundred passengers on board. Many people who choose these roles do so because they tell themselves a story about travel perks and seeing the world. It’s unlikely that they spend much time thinking about how boring handing out bottled water, blankets and sick bags will become. The day-to-day reality of this work could provide an ideal environment for breeding discontent and misery.

If that’s so, why do some people thrive in these jobs, while others become disillusioned? It’s likely that the difference between the people who find joy in the work and those who don’t, have found a way to feel like they’re making a difference. The joyful cabin crew find ways to bring more of who they are to their role. They look for opportunities to gain fulfilment from what they say and do at times when they can go ‘off script’. Like the cabin crew on a recent BA flight who tried to help me make my tight connection (I didn’t), by moving me to the front of the aircraft to disembark. And the stewardess who found me a pair of airline pyjamas to change into just in case I missed the flight and got stuck in the airport (I did), or the hostess in the airline lounge who made me dinner, even though everything had been cleaned and packed away for the night.

It isn’t only our clients and customers who benefit when we bring more humanity to work. The more meaning we can find in our work by being who we are, the more we stand to gain.

Image by Austrian Airlines

The Seduction Of New Ideas

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

We, humans, are novelty seeking organisms. That’s why we find new ideas seductive. We are hardwired to respond to the novel and the new. Our motivation increases when we have a new project to work on. And yet we also have a strong bent towards mastery. We’re happiest when we feel like we’re making progress and making a difference, that’s why it’s important to keep honouring the ideas we’ve been working on with focus and momentum.

Yes, it’s tempting to seek out new opportunities. But we’re rewarded in more ways than one when we intentionally stick with the old thing.

Image by Hernán Piñera


filed in Brand Strategy, Success

These words spoken by Director of The London School of Economics, Minouche Shafik, in an interview last year ring true: ‘In the past jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in future they’ll be about the heart.’

The truth is our best work always has been about the heart.

And the good news is that we all start with the same advantage.

Image by Creative Arts Workshop

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