You must keep asking why.

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Before I begin, I want to congratulate Kristin and the folks at Pulse for having organized another great event last night. As usual, I ran into some of my favorite people and entrepreneurs in Greenville, including Orange Coat's Mr. T and Fluor's Paivi (above), which is always a treat. (We don't deal in John, Steve and Bob here. No sireeee.)

(Don't let the pretty smiles fool ya. These two will purposely drink you under the table, handcuff you to a radiator, steal your cash, and randomly crank-call total strangers from Istanbul to Kyoto all night with your cell phone if you let them. Oh yeah. Sharks they are. Praying mantises. Tse-Tse flies. The whole works.)

Anyway, some of the things we talked about tonight reminded me of this post on Marc hancock's Holy Cow blog. It's about planning - you know... as in account planning and brand planning... but I find that it applies to a lot of other situations you're likely to run into on a daily basis in your little corporate ecosystem.

More importantly, it makes the argument for keeping the reality check alive and well in everyday situations: "You must keep asking why." Especially when people or companies around you are about to make really bad decisions.

And boy, do they ever - in the name of ego, greed, ambition, and in some cases, just plain cluelessness. Oh yeah.

Here it goes:

You must keep asking why. Why? Because it's just not (planning) when:

1) Everyone is talking and no-one is listening

2) Intellectualism is feted more than simplicity in your dept.

3) Research is used for support not illumination

4) You talk about 'consumers' not people

5) You have information not insights

6) The boss is always right

7) All your powerpoint decks look the same

8) There are rational reasons for why people buy things on your briefs

9) You still believe in purchase funnels

10) Ideas are the job of creatives

11) Data is seen to be more important than behaviour

12) The client is always right

13) You don't know the role of communications for your brief

14) The account team thinks the client isn't 'strategic'

15) Everyone analyses rather than synthesises

16) Dialogue is more important than conversations

17) You judge creative work rather than create it

18) The 'brand' conversation is owned by another agency

19) You think there is one answer

20) People around you believe that efficiency is more important than effectiveness

21) That it is ok to think incremental improvements are a long term solution

If you have absolutely no idea what this list is about... don't worry about it. Consider yourself lucky to be working for a company that is managed by able, well-adjusted, effective people. (Or congratulate yourself for having made the jump to the fun world of entrepreneurship.) If, however the list is a diagnostic of what goes on daily at your company, it's probably time to start looking for greener pastures.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone. :)

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