Most Marketable Skill

23 05 2014

ownershipI do a lot of interviews, on average at least 2 a week. Sometimes for an open role, but often just looking for talent we may need one day in the future and sometimes to see what exciting things other marketers are doing! I was recently asked what I consider to be the most valuable marketable skill. What is it that I think is essential for success in today’s job market? The skill that I feel is the most important, and why it’s so indispensable for people going into the workforce. To me that skills is:


You have take ownership. I know it may not be perceived as a skill, but basically I think ownership means:

  • You go beyond your job description, shed light on the gray areas, and help the team reach the goal.
  • You go the extra mile for customers and colleagues.
  • You have passion for what you do, and make sure you are always learning and listening for new ways to improve.
  • You always spend money (or allocate budget/expenses) as if the money was yours. If you owned the company would you spend the money on this activity?
  • It’s about taking pride in your work!

If you feel like you can’t own the project or job then find something else, because your lack of interest will show up in the way you walk between meetings, they way you discuss challenges with your colleagues and ultimately in the results!

It’s telling that in a business context you can always tell instantly when the owner is in the conversation. One of my lecturers at University (a long time ago) once told a story that has always stuck with me.  She once ran her own restaurant and she felt none of her staff wiped down a table the same way she did, and that it essentially came down to the fact that she ‘owned’ the table, she viewed it as hers, and as a result, she wiped it cleaner and showed that extra level of care and passion for doing even these simple tasks. It shows!

Choosing one word is always difficult. I could have easily gone with leadership, initiative, grace, passion, sharing, learning, resilience or any other number of skills which I also think are important. But ultimately I think taking ownership of your role, project, team or development embodies all these things. It also makes you more valuable to a team!



31 07 2012

Lot’s of people like to talk about ‘it’, as in she just gets ‘it’, or he doesn’t get ‘it’, but no one knows exactly what ‘it’ is…

I think ‘it’ is many things:

  • Bringing passion to what you do… everyday. (Hint: Turning up isn’t enough)
  • Truly listening to your colleagues and other people’s point of view. You don’t have to agree but you have to listen and understand.
  • Understanding customers experience with your event and your marketing.
  • Not being the expert… always learning… trying new things… challenge all assumptions.

I work with lots of cool people who get ‘it’, understand ‘it’, and try to apply ‘it’ everyday, ‘it’ makes ‘it’ fun!

Generation Flux

15 01 2012

Fast Company Magazine is a great read if you don’t read it you should. I finally got around to reading this article from the last issue called “This is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier of Business” and it struck a chord.

For anyone starting their career out in the event business I think it has a couple of key messages that can help anyone deal with the rapid pace of change associated with event marketing and management.  Change is the only constant in the event business. And for existing managers in the business I think the article points to a number of challenges we face in finding, developing and retaining talent in this new chaotic world.

In the article Robert Safian defines Generation Flux as more an attitude than an age and it’s an important differentiation. As the attitude is key to survival in this era of fast paced changed. The changes are fuelled by technology (the web, mobile, gaming and social etc) and more access to information than ever before forces us to be constantly thinking and adapting to whats next. How do you thrive when disruption is everywhere? I think a couple of things become more critical than ever:

  • Business model innovation – Companies must adopt innovation in all it’s aspects and create ways to test outside the normal controls
  • Adopt a test, fail, test, fail, test, succeed mentality
  • Embrace team work and a matrix org charts that empowers team leaders
  • Become ‘Skill hoarders” and embrace/develop a four year career path. Set up new employees for a powerful 2 -4 year development and management experience
  • Embrace technology in all it’s aspects, do not limit its access
  • As individuals – Seek a variety of experiences, move into different topics, and different roles

There’s no doubt a lot more to this list, and IQPC addresses many of these problems through our Academy and Leadership Development programmes. We could always do more, and should, and will, but I also think individuals have to realise this new reality and embrace it.

Are you committed?

19 05 2010

On my walk to the NY office this morning I stopped off for a coffee and saw this old, but wise quote:

“It’s like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved. But the pig is committed.”

So which are you? Pig or Chicken?

Enthusiasm is contagious

6 04 2010

Just watched this great Tom Peters video on BVO. I’m huge fan of Tom Peters, I haven’t read enough of his stuff, but what I have read is excellent, his blog is great, very insightful on Marketing, leadership and being ‘remarkable’ all done with incredible wisdom.

The video is full of highlights including:

  • When he talks about hanging out with freaks – How we need to challenge ourselves and allow others to challenge us. I love the analogy of going to lunch with the same people all the time…you learn nothing, ask someone in your office you don’t know that well and see what you learn.
  • Leaders are rarely the best performers, but they must be able to support the best and deal with all the personality issues that come with the best.
  • Nothings is as contagious as enthusiasm – It’s the most important trait in leadership.
  • Leaders are responsible for painting portraits of excellence; they are dealers in hope…
  • Experience is the brand… we forget this a lot in events, I often say “we live and die by our last event”, people often take this wrong way, but what I mean is if we have a good event, people will remember it, the experience.  I once put together a year long media partnership with an industry association based solely on the colossal shrimp tower. There was more to it of course but this partner remembered the experience and wanted to be associated with brand.
  • Who’s the most interesting person you have meet in the last 90 days?
  • You must recruit talent and organisations must be cathedrals to talent.
  • Life is a learning experience…

Also this gem, damned if you, damned if you don’t, just plan damned!

Productivity @ IQPC: Why you can’t work at work

30 03 2010

I hear a lot of IQPC Marketing Managers tell me about how busy they are, and I think I might be part of the problem! Maybe you are too?

A friend from SSON sent me a link to this video by Jason Fried,  from 37 signals.  She thought I would love it and she was right. 37 Signals also wrote, what was for me, one of the best web development guides of all time, called Getting Real, but I digress.

In the video Jason talks, passionately, about how work is all about interruptions and he blames managers.  I just spent two weeks travelling through 3 countries, well 4 if you count the unintended stopovers, holding numerous meetings. I should apologise now!

Your best coaching tips…

8 03 2010

On a recent trip to IQPC New York I read a great article in “The Week” about coaching, basically it outlined some entertaining stories about coaching, mainly to do with sport.

One from a football coach who walked up to a player at half time and then punched him the stomach for show boating. Another from a coach who during his half time talk singled out 9 of his players saying “You, you, you, you and you …. are s**t. They (pointing to two other players) are good. You (pointing to the original 9) pass the ball to them!”.

It made me start thinking of some of my best coaching moments:

  • After a couple of weeks of working on a big project my boss told me, “it’s a marathon not a sprint”
  • Once at the start of an under 16 basketball game, one I thought was the most important in my life our coach bought the team together and said, “What ever you do don’t get married!”, I think he had been fighting with his wife!
  • An old boss of mine once said, “You take things too personally”, my response was less diplomatically… “You would to if you work 16 hour days”. I was very young at the time…
  • I really like this quote from Indra Nooyi, CEO, Pepsi co, “Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent…When you assume negative intent, you’re angry”. We should all practice this more…
  • And this one from the wisest women I have ever met, Focus only on what you can control.

For some more serious tips on coaching I highly recommend The Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg, one of the most practical management books ever in my opinion.

Anyone got any other pearls of wisdom?