2010 was an exhausting year. A second job change in two years. Gruelling agency workload. Plenty of family commitments. But challenging and rewarding all at the same time.
Over the last few years I’ve seen my approach to blogging change. Initially, way back in 2006 when I started Blogging Me Blogging You, this blog was a sandbox – somewhere for me to try out all the stuff I couldn’t persuade my superiors to sell to our clients. But it was technical – how do you set up a blog, customise it with basic features, add a feedburner feed, moderate comments. Etc etc. I’ve managed to move to a new domain (edlee.ca) but am still using the hosted wordpress.com software – as Parker says, I still have the training wheels on.
As more of you started reading it, it became a place I tried out thoughts on the industry, the space we’re in and where we may be going. Then I got busy at work and I wasn’t able to spend as much time thinking and writing as I would have liked – so the blog changed again. I still try to find time to think about stuff and to articulate it in a blog post but more and more this is where I find cool stuff and post it with a few comments. The most popular posts this year have been the opinion pieces but these days my professional opinion manifests itself in client presentations and strategy decks before making an appearance here. I’m not sure who that benefits more – clients or readers!
The blog is changing and I’ve changed as a consultant as well. My attitude to social media has become less wide-eyed and naïve over the last few years – although I am still a great believer in the medium – and rather than thinking all my clients should “join the conversation”, I’ve been more inclined to think about what the conversation can do for my clients. Rather than advocate total transparency, I talk about the need for selective transparency. Rather than jump in feet first, I now have a better understanding of how and why to take things slow and some (not all) of the internal gates my clients need to pass through for a successful programme with full internal alignment – see my presentation to the AMA Toronto chapter on gaining alignment for more on this. Although as with all things, there is a need for balance – a time to surf and a time to wax your board. Knowing when to push and when to step back is an important part of being an advocate in a relatively unknown and unproven discipline.
I feel much more comfortable with this balanced middle ground – as opposed to holding a fiercely revolutionary view point – and I hope my clients (internal and external) do so too. A balanced, media agnostic viewpoint is certainly what I believe this spaces needs.
From a personal standpoint I’ve also started to let go of certain things. One of the main reasons I joined Radar DDB this year was that the ad agency model allows for focused job roles. There are account folk to manage the accounts, strategic planners to plan the strategy, creatives to create the creative and producers to oversee production. The PR model is very much all about generalism (from what I’ve seen) where the person managing your account is also developing strategy AND creative while overseeing production and execution. My new role is more focused and, while I can still bring the jack-of-all-trades approach to some of our projects, I feel comfortable being part of a larger team.
The last two years, at both com.motion and now Radar DDB, have taught me that I am good in start-up mode. Taking a nascent social practice and growing it quickly. Hopefully 2011 will teach me I am good at the sustain part of the job too. It certainly feels like it is the more important part – the first year you can run on adrenaline; the second you have to consolidate and sustain.
I’m still struggling on how to delegate efficiently, especially to a highly talented team, and on how to achieve more balance in my life – there has to be a happy medium between serving the three masters of my career, my family and me. Mitch may disagree though! I definitely feel of the three masters, “me” has come of worse in 2010 and I hope 2011 can bring me more time on the football field and at industry events like Third Tuesday, which I co-founded, and Thirsty Thursday.
So here’s to a great 2010 and a 2011 full of new challenges, of new opportunity but most of all, of balance.