We are a small creative department inside a large company. Too often we feel powerless against any number threats or “GIANTS.” It’s at those times we are reminded of the story of David and Goliath. It’s a good read, offering much to learn.
We see ourselves as little young David, and the perceived threats are the big old Giant named Goliath. Those Giants could be big projects, executive dictates, corporate restructuring, outside agencies, etc. Whether real or perceived, a Giant is still a threat. Failure at the hand of one of these Giants is not an option for a little department. We simply cannot afford a loss.
So, what do we do? Get all the data. Invest time in making sure the Giant is real, and that he is a threat. Make calls, talk with old friends, introduce yourself to the new folks, send open-ended emails, read articles and do some internet searches. You may find that the Giant is just a straw man or shadow of something that is not real at all. If it’s a good day, it’s a real Giant that is on your side and may benefit you! If it’s a bad day…it’s a real Giant, and you have work to do!
The story says David “slew” the Giant. So how did he bring the big guy down? I imagine it might have been a few things like these:
- Knowledge: he listened, asked, and learned. Make sure you get all the data. Do the research. Be the expert you are.
- Experience: he was a shepherd…it wasn’t the first danger he’d encountered. Calm down. You’ve been here before. You’ve been around the block. Show it.
- Skill: he was an expert with the sling. You are an expert on things, especially in the minds of those that may be making the decision. Use those skills as only you can.
- Attitude: he was not intimidated. Know who’s supporting you and who you represent. Remember what’s at stake. Stay focused, keep your head up.
- Speed: the little guy was fast. The ability to get things out the door quickly is always an advantage. Get in there and get it done!
- Agility: he didn’t get encumbered by some over-sized armor. Keep it simple. Be glad you don’t have all those complicated layers in your little department. Think on your feet. Make your move!
- Influence: he won over the king and all the soldiers. Bring on the happy customers. Parade recent successes. Lean on those that rely on you. It’s your fight.
- Faith: against all odds, he single-handedly took on the Giant. Sometimes you just have to step out and have faith in what your and your employees can do.
David succeeded. He deftly brought down the Giant while everyone else was cowering. He took advantage of what little he had. It wasn’t much, but it was all he needed.
It’s your turn. Show ’em what you’ve got!
This article is contributed by Roger Hansen, CMMA Board of Directors
Dick Van Deusen said:
In my 30 years at Prudential I found that the best approach was to become a giant yourself. Remember that control of media is the first priority of every dictator, as proven when a new president came on board. He wanted to control our media department which I was happy to let him think he did. However, if you can’t become a giant yourself, ally your function with another giant. Too often I found corporate media departments failing to fill essential roles for the CEO, IT, Marketing or whatever organization drove success in that company.
Ultimate advice is to read and follow the advice of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. Business is war, though we hope less sanguine.