Getting from Good to Great: Circumstances or Choice?

Getting from Good to Great: Circumstances or Choice?

I was lucky enough to attend the Global Leadership Summit this past week. Needless to say, I’m fired up about all the things that I learned. It went just beyond great leadership tips and tricks – it taught me how to observe my own self, organization, or clients in a completely different way. I also learned that greatness isn’t a consequence or result of circumstance. It’s a choice to be better than “good.”

no more good

Jim Collins gave an amazing speech about what makes a company stand apart: a difference between good and great. It’s dedication, time, and effort beyond what everyone else does. It is sticking to your plan when no one else does. It’s not losing your vision when you are only half way through. But mostly, it is about following these three pieces of advice:

1. Fanatical Discipline

Being better than good requires fanatical discipline.  What does that look like? It’s setting a standard and sticking to it, no matter what the circumstances. Maybe it is something as simple as tweeting ten times a day every. single. day. or maybe it is something more lofty. Either way, sticking to your plan regardless of good days, bad days, good markets, bad markets… you get the point… will give you a leg up on our competitors and will allow your consumers to rely on you when they most need you.

2. Empirical Creativity

Sure, we all preach creativity, especially here in the advertising industry. But what makes you go from mediocre to amazing is turning those creative exercises into a discipline. Work to remove anything that hinders creativity. Find what works and what doesn’t, and eliminate the negative. Test your processes, scale them down (or up, if need be), and choose things that you’ve seen work. Be scientific about your creativity, and only then can you go “big.” It’ll make you stand apart from all those other companies who are pursuing creativity just for the sake of creativity.

3. Productive Paranoia

Once things are working well, that isn’t the time to rest. While most of us take a load off after a campaign starts or after our work day is done, we should in fact be questioning everything we’ve just put into motion. Success doesn’t happen by chance. Understand why things work and apply them moving forward. But in the moment, question everything. Be paranoid that it won’t work. Come up with eight back up plans. And if you achieve success, don’t plan that each following achievement can be done the same way in the next round. Be sure to take what has made you successful and evolve that process so that you are always relevant and ahead of the curve.


Success isn’t based on good or bad situations, but rather your reaction to those circumstances. Greatness is not a matter of circumstance, but rather of choice. Each choice greatly affects your team, your company, and your clients. And who doesn’t want to be great? Why would we fall short if we could achieve something better? Get fanatical. Get scientifically creative. Get paranoid. Get great.

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