Welcome to Episode 40 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the topsy/turvy world of creativity & marketing.

My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, where we’re at the point of the year where we can look back at the things that resonated most with you.

By the way, thanks so much for helping our launch year such a success. Not only were we an iTunes New & Noteworthy selection, you gave us over 100 5-star reviews. And we appreciate it. If you’ve found Navigating the Fustercluck to be helpful, please share it.

OK, let’s get back to the snackable ideas that seemed to strike a chord with yo most. From our very 1st episode:

Gaming the Game Has Become the Game

Remember your first course on office politics? Of course not. No one offers one. Yet, office politics go a long way in determining your career path. Your assignments. Credits. Raises. Promotions. Satisfaction. And quite possibly, your sanity. So, let’s start off with office politics. Just keep in mind that this section is not designed to turn you into some corporate Machiavelli. Instead, you’ll gain some insight on what to look out for, who to look out for and how to lower your odds of taking a dagger in the back.

Ouch! That doesn’t seem fair now does it? Well…

Expecting the World to Treat You Fairly Because You’re a Good Person is a Little Like Expecting the Bull Not to Attack You Because You’re a Vegetarian.

— Dennis Wholey

Nope, life is not always fair.  Just because something should be doesn’t mean that it will be. The good guys don’t always win. The bad guys don’t always get caught. And when they do, they all too often get off easy. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you can do something about office politics. There’s no use in clinging to your anger waiting for leadership to actually lead and make things right. Do that, and you may well find yourself standing there with your arms folded until finally you’re lying horizontal on the wrong side of the grass.

There’s a Special Place in Hell for the Devil’s Advocate

Why offer ideas of your own, when all you have to do is derail everyone else’s? Meet the Devil’s Advocate. He’s more interested in attention than answers. Instead of honest questions, he brings Molotov Cocktails designed to build up nothing but himself. Yes, listen to him. Thoroughly. Then counterchallenge him to offer a better solution. And if that doesn’t work, the next time he proposes Let me play Devil’s Advocate… Say this: Let’s not. Let’s stay positive for now and poke holes later. Blunt? Yep. Oh well, sometimes you have to sacrifice some short-term politeness to create lasting positivity.

Lots of People Want to Be the Noun Without Doing the Verb.                                    — Austin Kleon, Author, Artist, Poet & Designer      

Some people think a title brings semi-retirement. Two-hour lunches. Days full of finger pointing and pontificating. While in reality, leadership comes with much more than a title. It comes with responsibility. And stuff to do. Lots of stuff to do. That doesn’t mean micro-managing. It doesn’t mean trying to do everything yourself. It does, however, mean taking action. Of course, it helps if you actually have a vision and mission to act on. Lacking that, there’s usually an abundance of busy work created to mask a lack of productivity with activity. The exact wrong kind of action.

3 Simple Rules to Grow a Great Team:

1)   Support Your Performers

2)   Deal with the Rest

3)   If You’re Not Dealing with the Rest, You’re Not Supporting Your Performers

Seems simple. Yet so many executives allow underachievers, outdated vets and personal pets to bring down their core team, taking focus off the work and placing it squarely upon their refusal to support their performers.

You can tell your performers to mind their own business, but in the end, it is their business. Their hours and energy covering for others, their trust that’s been eroded and their pride that you’ve now converted into festering frustration and embarrassment. As Gruenter and Whitaker say, The Culture of Any Organization is Shaped by the Worst Behavior the Leader is Willing to Tolerate. 

Be Who You Needed When You Were Younger

Remember when you first started out in the creative world? Wobbly as a newborn giraffe? Yet somehow you got through it. Got on your feet and learned how to walk. To run. Who helped you along the way? Would your climb have gone more quickly if more people had paid attention? Offered advice? Probably. So, when your career advances, think back to what you wish others had said or done, and then do it yourself for others. Show you understand. Show you care. Your people will appreciate it. They’ll grow. As will your business.

Two Pizza Maximum

At the time of this writing, Jeff Bezos of Amazon is the richest person in the world. Part of his success may be attributed to his decision to stop complaining about excessive meetings and actually do something about them. For one thing, at Amazon, there are to be no meetings that require more people than can be fed with two pizzas. Beyond that and all the wasted productivity in the room leads to nothing more than a major fustercluck.

Welcome the Hard Conversations

Paolo Coelho said, The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. Isn’t that the truth when it comes to “showdown” talks? The ones you dread? That come with tension and anxiety. But you just can’t put off any longer. So, prepare yourself the best you can, and rip that Band-aid off. The good thing is that once it’s over, you can get a little relief. And you may just be able to hit the reset button. Clear the air. Come to a better understanding. But you won’t find out or move forward if you keep procrastinating.

Most of Us Think of Ourselves as Thinking Creatures that Feel, But We Are Actually Feeling Creatures that Think. – Jill Bolte Taylor, Brain Scientist

Realizing the preceding quote will go a long way in figuring out life. And why your E.Q. is as important or more important than your I.Q. It’s also why when it comes to presenting that I hope you’ll remember this: Start with the heart and work your way to the brain.

It Takes a Lot of Milk to Make Cream

Quality not quantity. Quality not quantity. You hear it over and over again. What you don’t hear enough though is that it takes quantity to get to quality. Too often, ideation stops at first thoughts. When new ideas should always be flowing. The question is how to use collaboration to get to more territories and ideas faster before crafting the Hell out of them.

The Sun is a Powerful Source of Energy.  Every Hour the Sun Washes the Earth with Billions of Kilowatts of Energy.  Yet with a Hat & Some Sunscreen You Can Bathe in the Light of the Sun for Hours at a Time with Few Ill Effects.

A Laser is a Weak Source of Energy.  A Laser Takes a Few Watts of Energy and Focuses Them in a Coherent Stream of Light.  But with a Laser You Can Drill a Hole in a Diamond or Wipe out a Cancer.  — Al Ries, Focus

Those who can come together and focus have a great chance of succeeding. But it’s going to take a lot of collaboration.

None of Us is as Smart as All of Us.

The lone wolf may still have its moments, but these days, you have to learn to work together. Collaborate. Co-create. Crowdsource. And whether you’re standing alone or standing together with those who share your particular point of view, knowing how to get people together and ask the right questions is often half the battle in getting to the right answers. Not necessarily your answers. So, when others confront you with proof that doesn’t support your point of view, the real question is: Are you willing to change your mind?

No One Else Knows What They’re Doing Either. – Ricky Gervais

Fake it til you make it. No one is really ready for all they’re being asked to do.

As Carrie Fisher said…

Stay Afraid, But Do It Anyway. What’s Important is the Action. You Don’t Have to Wait to be Confident. Just Do it and Eventually the Confidence Will Follow.    

Become Friends with People Who Aren’t Your Age. Hang Out with People Whose First Language Isn’t the Same as Yours. Get to Know Someone Who Doesn’t Come from Your Social Class. This is How You See the World. This is How You Grow. — Rotary Club

If I’ve got to explain the value of diversity to you at this point, put this down and start punching yourself in the face. Then move on to your midsection and proceed with some organ-crunching body blows.

Bake It In, Don’t Bolt It On

Whether it’s Digital, Social, Experiential, Multicultural or another tool that ends with the letters “a” and “l,” consider them all from the gitgo instead of some sort of aftermarket parts. Only then– when you bake things in, instead of bolting them on afterwards– will you start to create more holistic ideas and see better results, rather than presenting the world with some sort of awkward Frankenstein creatures.

I Have a Device in my Pocket that Gives Me Instant Access to the Entirety of Human Knowledge.  I Use it to Look at Funny Pictures of Cats and Share Pictures of my Breakfast. 

Picasso could have used his palette of paints to fill in coloring books, but that seems far too silly a waste to even think about. Yet far too often we take the hyper-intelligence and near superhuman skills the Internet promises and use it to do little more than kill time.

Unfortunately, when it comes to focus, life isn’t that much different than when Henry David Thoreau proclaimed that…

Men Have Become the Tool of Their Tools. 

And that was way back in the 1800’s!

Bells and whistles give us an excuse not to focus on the issues that Humankind has struggled with since our minds developed enough to realize the potential and burdens of our existence.

Let’s lighten things up a bit with a thought from maverick architect and social critic Frank Llloyd Wright…

If It Keeps Up. Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger.

Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger. I love it. I fear it. But I love it.

Tampon Man

What’s the first rule of marketing? Know your consumer. Rule #2? You are not your consumer. Once I was asked in an inappropriate, less-than-roundabout way how a middle-aged white guy could lead multicultural efforts. My response? One of the most successful projects I ever worked on was for a tampon company. Amazingly, neither my gender nor my lack of intimate knowledge with the product prevented our team from scoring a win. In fact, call me Tampon Man, if you’d like. (Nah, don’t do that.) The moral of the story? Hire the best person for the job. Period. And yes, that means hiring people of color on accounts targeted to primarily Anglo audiences as well. OK? This shouldn’t be so hard. But we’ve got to deal with it.

Don’t Wait Until You Have Enough Facts to Be 100% Sure, Because by Then it is Almost Always Too Late. — General Colin Powell

The military is willing to place lives at risk when they are 70% percent sure of a mission’s success. Only 70%! Not because our military leaders don’t value the life of the enlisted, but because the battlefield conditions will have changed by the time they hoped to have absolute certainty.

Comfort has its place and time. We could all probably go a little easier on ourselves. Yet too much comfort can be unproductive. Because there’s no comfort in growth and no growth in comfort. It takes a little tension to bring about change and progress.

What Screws Us Up Most in Life is the Picture in Our Head of How It Is Supposed to Be. — Jennifer Nguyen

Many gurus speak of the power of visualization, picturing in your mind ahead of time how things will successfully play out. Yet fixing your mind’s eye on one outcome out can be pretty jarring when things don’t exactly work out that way. It’s good to have a plan, but have a Plan B, too. Even then you have to stay flexible and be ready to improvise.

You Are the Hero of Your Own Story

You may not slay a dragon or save the galaxy, but you are the main character of your life.  So, when it’s all said and done, will your memoirs be worth reading?  If they do turn out to be noteworthy, there will have to be some reason why.  Something you felt strongly about.  Something you were willing to fight for, no matter how many obstacles got in your way.

Organizations that can’t- or won’t- customize training, career paths, incentives and work responsibilities need a wake-up call.

Time to Take a Short Breather… (EXHALE.)

…We’re here at Deaf Mule Studios to remind everyone that this is Navigating the Fustercluck. And I’m your host, Wegs. And this is a review of some of our greatest hits.

Well, that about wraps up our 40th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck.

Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, and thanks again for listening in and supporting us. Until next time, please feel free to reach out to me personally at wegs24x7@gmail.com or NavigatingTheFustercluck.com, where you can find transcripts to this episode and every other of our 39 efforts. Finally, remember, we’re all in this together. So thanks for your support. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.