PR agency life is extremely fast-paced. Reporters are on deadline. Crises require urgent attention.
Even routine announcements are designed for “immediate release.”
In this always-urgent environment, it’s easy to forget that most truly great client work comes from moments of semi-slowness – e.g., careful research, clear thinking and careful follow-through.
The trick, of course, is to work intensely without losing too much speed. That’s what collaboration and brainstorming are designed to accomplish. But in our fast-paced, meeting-enriched lives, it’s all too easy to confuse frenetic action with great results.
Two weeks ago, Seth Godin wrote a blog post that caught my eye titled, It’s a long story. In this post, Godin writes: “It’s a long story. Isn’t it always? …The very act of seeking out the shortcut and the quick win might very well be the reason you don’t have enough successful long stories to share.”
Part of what Godin is talking about, here, is tenacity. It takes a long time to create real, substantive value. But part of what he’s talking about is that hard, intense work (which can be very time-consuming) is the only consistent path to success.
When I was in college, I took a speed reading test. Based on the test, I learned that I was one of the slowest readers at Williams College. Because my major was English – which requires lots of reading – my inability to scan meant that every assignment took me longer than my peers. It also meant that I could focus on (and absorb) every word I read. Two years later, I graduated valedictorian of my class.
The older I get, the more I realize that hard work and care-factor are the greatest predictors of success. Sometimes people get lucky. Sometimes short-cuts pan out. But, more often than not, success comes to those who work hard and who (without slowing down too much) are willing to travel an extra mile.
Do you spend enough time thinking slowly and deeply?