I’m not subtle. Caveat over.

And I don’t want you to think I dish the dirt on my employers. Far from it. He deserved to have intimate relations with that woman and yes, the dry cleaners didn’t do their job.

The problem in this sorry anthem is passion. For years I worked with every ounce of devotion to a single cause. I could see the opportunities, conveyed them at every opportunity. Yet at every junction the signposts were turned the wrong way.

That was then. I’m now happily rooted in a new role, a permanent one, and I have been able to put into practice learnings from those darker times.

And I hope you can, too. Because here they are.

I’ve finally bolted the door and drawn the curtain on a long-standing working relationship with a big brand. Said alliance has consisted of a loving, hating series of episodes that has helped me grow in ways I don’t yet understand.

I’m not a muckspreader. I did all my death knocks as a journalist. I’ll leave the bitterness to Nasty Nick.

But I can be wholly constructive to help you avoid the mistakes made in the world of BIG BUSINESS.

  1. Don’t fear the shareholder when it comes to social. Man alive, did we have a tug-of-war getting the authority to even autopost new articles to Twitter. Don’t even think about peppering the odd update with a splash of personality. No way, Jose/Joseph.
  2. Get your staff involved. I was working with a beast consisting of many, many thousands of employees. All completely talented, all ridiculously experienced. All with some knowledge of what the customer wants, how they want it, and how to blow their minds with something beyond what’s expected. Yet tapping into that resource was harder than finding oil on Mars. Not a Mars bar, smarty pants – the goddamn planet!
  3. The big guy didn’t get it. Noone in power really understood what we were doing. And believe me – we communicated the heck out of ourselves and the schizzle we sweated over so hard and dearly.
  4. We were in competition with ourselves. When I was employed at this place in the publications team, we were considered the red-headed stepchild of the overarching marketing unit. When I returned as a consultant there were different magazines and different publications teams in different geographical regions of the same company. All producing magazines in isolation. With very little synergy in terms of which features went were. All that disconnect, all that shortage of communication in a communications-focused but fragmented global team. And social media efforts were the responsibility of a small and siloed team who considered themselved demigods. Everyone was singing a different hymn, working to a different agenda. In short, a f–king nightmare.

I don’t want this to come across as a godforsaken rant (apart from that very last sentence).

There were times when things were beautifully orchestrated; a podcast series we created was killer, generating leads and strengthening relationships with existing clients, but I simply couldn’t get access to the right people inside the organisation to tap the internal expertise (which was voluminous) and ultimately the incredible networking potential of a radio series.

That was a majorly crushing blow: if you know me even a small amount, you’ll know I’m a pretty inspirational guy (who writes nice books like Sharing Superheroes about doing better business). I want to do the best for any employer. They have faith in me and by return, I find it necessary to give them my all.

I’m sure there are things here that resonate with you. I know nothing is perfect. But I know we can be more so and that’s why I wanted to share this stuff with you today.

What have you learned you think we should know?

Enjoyed this lesson for content strategy success? Get in touch on Twitter @davethackeray and let me know your thoughts.