“We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

Indira Gandhi

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This may be my favorite quote of all time. I use this to explain great leadership.

I use it in teaching seminars.

 

Heck.

 

I just like using it.

 

 

But.

 

I will get back to that thought.

 

 

One of the neat things about sifting through the job opportunities presented to you as you look around are the sometimes well crafted, but always interesting, ‘here is what we are seeking’ writings. I received one today I loved:

 

“We have people who do good work when it comes their way, but we do not have a person who has the skill and the temperament insight in the data, clarity in the confusion, and courage in the chaos of a very large retail piece of business.”

 

Well.

 

I loved it.

 

I thought it was an incredibly well written interesting way to state what they were seeking AND it also gave some insight into the personality of the company and writer. Plus there is some nice alliteration (or is that assonance … I always get them confused … well … not really).

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I have written about the “mutual chemistry check” which I believe is incredibly important in the interview process (particularly at mid to senior level positions). And when you receive the ‘here is what we are seeking’ statement it is a nice way to judge some aspect of chemistry. They could have sent a laundry list bullet pointed list.

They didn’t.

 

 

My write up for “so what is it you do well” took me a long time to figure out but when I did it now gets used by HR people and search people all the time as an example of how to write one that isn’t just factoids and ‘puffery’ and a laundry list of “I am good with people” and a “problem solver” and stuff like that.

In addition they (HR/search placement people) like it because it reflects some “here is what you are gonna get” from a personality standpoint. Anyway. If you are seeking for an example here you go:

 

 

 

some good things to know about Bruce McTague

 

creative management

 

Let’s call my style ‘restless consistency.’ Restless because I like to build in some constant change but consistent because I dislike straying from vision/strategy core. How do I know it works? I have never lost a piece of business within my account responsibilities while in Account Management. Well. Okay one. One piece of business I was just assigned to resigned within one month. I would like to believe that wasn’t cause & effect. But it does make me think if there was cause & effect on why I don’t lose pieces of business (through reviews, contract renegotiations, senior management changes and staff changes). Another way I know that it works? I bet I have 5 strategies I have worked on since the 1980’s that are still the core strategic platform for that brand.

I believe it’s mainly because I believe in restless consistency. The easiest way to describe this is with a metaphor. I look at business as a 5 lane highway. I keep a business out of the ditches but I am comfortable shifting lanes and passing people as well as slow down on occasion to avoid accidents – all bruce_McTague_ strategizesomewhere on the five lane highway. Yes. Sometimes I forget to use the blinker. And sometimes I will pass when the signs say don’t pass. So I have received some tickets along the way. But my car typically keeps moving and getting ahead.

 

managing transitional moments

 

Let’s stick with the highway metaphor. Changing lanes at any speed on a highway with other vehicles is always tricky. I have always shown the ability to see appropriate times to pass, which lane to use (I am willing to pass on the right) and show an ability to hit the transition moment at the right speed and at the right time. I would imagine it’s partially because I apply past business knowledge to successfully meet Client challenges. I imagine it is partially because I am always thinking and willing to adapt the strategic thinking with new learning. As a driver I have a proven successful track record of assuming responsibilities on businesses with no prior industry experience and transitioning new ideas into the existing programs. So. Put me on a new highway in a different vehicle and I know how to drive. My experience spans across traditional package goods, retail and service businesses and all I have stored away in my memory banks translates into ability to transition businesses through ‘business solving’ moments. This ability works well in new business environment also.

 

People management

 

My people tend to be successful in business and life. Cause & effect? I don’t know for sure. All I know is that I have:

 

–          Created and managed a variety of team formations which have developed successful business results.

 

–          Team members have moved on to successful careers of their own including CMO’s, CEO of agency, Directors of Strategy, executive management with clients and agencies.

 

–          Happy family life (good balanced lives)

I would imagine in some way maybe I teach life lessons at the same time I teach business lessons.

 

 

tactical variety

 

I do think it matters what someone has done from a practical experience. I have either worked in or directly managed Direct Marketing, Media, Account Management, Creative process, grassroots, brand planning, strategic planning (business consulting), social media, organizational behavior, etc and familiar with profitability and effective time utilization (labor) models to build and maintain profitable companies.  Taught strategic planning (the JWT model), Account Management techniques, presentation training among other topics to people.

 

All of this clearly places me into a generalist space. This doesn’t mean I know everything. This also doesn’t mean I can’t hang with the specialists in fact many specialists like having me around because then they don’t have to worry about how to translate what they are doing and thinking to others.

 

 

Anyway.

 

There you go. An example. And an example that a bunch of people seem to like.

 

Back to the quote (and finishing this post).

 

 

 

All the skills sets I suggested I offered earlier seem to be grounded in the quote I used upfront.

 

And actually implementing this quote may be one of the hardest things to do in the world.

Being still while things swirl around you takes strength of character and a belief in yourself. Because being still means you are willing to let others “do” and be recognized. And the possibility you may be overlooked in your stillness. On the other side to infuse action where there is stagnancy or lostness takes such a strength, character and energy, that it can be overwhelming.

 

I certainly aim for this quote at all times. I certainly don’t believe I am a great leader.

 

A leader? Yes. And aspiring great leader? Absolutely.

 

But.

 

Great leaders have the amazing ability to be both active and still at the same time.

 

Great leadership takes such strength of character that if you ever have the opportunity to watch someone who lives this quote watch closely and learn.

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Written by Bruce