Iggy pop

Lessons in humility

You don't have to be a "rockstar" creative to get the best work out there, says the executive creative director of Pablo London

By Dan Watts

As a 16 year old I wanted to be a rockstar.

So I joined a band as the lead singer.

We debuted in the school assembly.

This was my moment to show them all.

I belted out a cover of The Charlatans' Just Lookin’ - it was epic.

We finished to a silent crowd.

You could hear a pin drop….

…Turns out my microphone had been off for the entire 5 minutes.

Not everyone is destined to be a rockstar leader. And that’s ok.

Because it’s the work that really leads. Whatever your title, you’re just there to guide people to it.

Not to be obsessed with control or to get your name in advertising magazine articles (awkward). But to get the best ideas out of the best brains.

You don’t need to be an Iggy Pop on speed to do this.

Like great work, your best bet is to keep it simple.

Hire an interesting mix of people that are hungry to make talked about ideas.

Encourage odd-shaped thinking without fear of ‘getting it wrong’.

Listen, push, pull and debate points of view but don’t shut them down.

Get out of the way unless you’re needed, but always be available.

Be clear where you’re all heading to and do it in your own way.

Keep it fun (you’re not at school).

And listen to your Mum – don’t be a dick.

Hopefully the result is an environment where surprising work pours out and leads everyone forward. Creative work that sings.

And when the work sings everyone listens.

Whether the mic is on or off.

Dan Watts is executive creative director at Pablo


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