(By Bob McCurdy) Albert Einstein once remarked, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” An interesting self-observation by a most accomplished individual.
Curiosity and the discipline to follow up on where that curiosity takes us could be the most important ingredient to long-term success in any profession as it serves to drive continuous professional growth. We keep moving forward, learning, opening new doors, and trying new approaches because we are curious. When curious and working to overcome a work-related challenge or opportunity, it is fascinating how it no longer feels like “work.”
We should all make it a habit of cultivating curiosity. With each week comes the opportunity to amp up our personal curiosity and even that of our peers. Challenge each other to discover new ways to position and communicate the impact of our broadcast and digital assets, immerse ourselves more deeply in our customer’s business, and identify new ways of approaching our own. Consider committing to a personal “curiosity commute” to explore and expand upon what currently is, what is possible, and how our current approach to our responsibilities might be further refined. Curiosity is the universe’s antidote to the status quo.
Remaining intellectually curious throughout our career is a key to professional longevity and job security. As we become more tenured and accomplished, the tendency is to become increasingly content-adopting and less curious — a hubristic attitude. Maintaining a self-imposed “no incurious” dictate would be a good thing.
A few things of which we should all be passionately curious:
– Expanding our marketing expertise. Getting a handle on what works and what doesn’t to better guide our clients. Talk to our peers. Our agencies. Our clients. Approach every schedule we sell the same way, with interest, determination, and the curiosity to get under the covers to understand why it performed the way it did — more productive campaigns will be the result.
– Look beyond our cluster/market. Just because we are local salespeople does not preclude us from being abreast of the issues and developments throughout the wider advertising and marketing world. If we want to provide more value to our clients, spend some time focused externally.
– Sales skills, refining them non-stop, requires honest reflection, observation, trial and error, and study as it is a career-long, never-ending journey. The perfect salesperson has yet to set foot on earth. So much to learn and try.
– Artistry, elevating our profession to an art form. Why not?
– Digital. Enough said? Actually no. Enough about the importance of this can’t be said.
– Attribution. Clients expect some proof of performance data. Shun mastering this and be left behind.
– Our client’s business. We can never know too much about them and their business. So many clients. So much to learn.
The ABC of “always be curious” applies to our profession — even beyond business hours and on the weekends. We can run out of energy, we can run out of ideas, we can run out of prospects, but never run out of curiosity. Scott Shannon, the legendary DJ, said it best: “I’m one of the most curious people you’ll ever meet. I read consistently and take notes all day. I never don’t do show prep. Show prep is second nature to me. I do it when I am on vacation. I’m incapable of not doing it.” Become incapable of not being curious, as it is an economic fact-of-life that the “incurious” are left to compete for what the “curious” leave behind.
Incredibly, Einstein might have had it actually wrong. His “special talent” was curiosity. With so much about which to be curious, to learn, to share, and ultimately master, how could we ever become bored with this profession?