There’s a war for talent being fought out there right now. Brands are battling to bag the best of the best, especially in the digital space. Many companies are recruiting diverse teams, employing people from all walks of life in an attempt to create the perfect creative cocktail. And I think that’s the way forward.
If you recruit people that studied business in school, college and Uni, you’ll end up with a group as nimble as a koala bear on smack. Fill a room full of privately educated Oxford boys and you’ll end up with a project as innovative as plagiarism. It would never top the results of throwing together a bunch of misfits from across the globe with varying backgrounds, cultures, personalities and ways of thinking. That’s how you inspire unique ideas.
If I was to knock up a team like this, I’d throw a soldier into the equation. Soldiers, by the time they leave the army, have loads of transferable skills that would benefit any marketing team in the world. Here’s 8 of them and why they’re important for marketers:
1. Leadership. Every person that joins the army isn’t just encouraged, they’re forced to get to grips with, and practice, leadership.
Leaders change the world. Nobody’s born a leader either, it takes practice. We all can be, and we should all aspire to be, leaders. Not mini, tash-sporting Nazis, but people that can prepare for, adapt to and inspire their team to strive toward change.
2. Responsibility and Accountability. Because they’re all aspirant leaders, soldiers take ownership of tasks and ensure their completion. If things go tits-up, they’re held accountable and must learn from their mistakes.
Responsibility and accountability are like conjoined twins, separate them and risk a career crippling cock up. If marketers don’t take responsibility, things don’t get done, and if we’re unwilling to be accountable, we’ll never learn. It’s hard to learn from mistakes if you’re not willing to admit making them.
3. Procrastination. This responsibility creates an urge to get things done. So if something needs doing, a soldier just does it. No moaning, no pissing about, they do it without even thinking.
It’s far easier not to do something than it is to do something. It’s far easier to toss it off on Facebook than it is to stay focused. If something needs doing, do it. Don’t spend time crying about it or finding something, anything, else to do instead. Take responsibility and do it.
4. Drive & Determination. With an eagerness to get stuff done, soldiers become relentless. If they hit an obstacle, they hurdle it, manoeuvre around it or… Shoot it.
It’s far too easy to shy away from complex and demanding tasks. It’s easy to give up when you’re knocked back or when the client says no. The people that make a difference want to tackle these challenges, they find ways around road blocks and they won’t take no for an answer. If you haven’t seen the Bank of Dave, watch it. This guy’s offit. He has more drive than Jeremy Clarkson’s house and he’s a proper inspiration.
5. Team Work. No amount of personality-clashing will stop soldiers from uniting and fighting together for their common cause. They might have to take a bullet for each other one day, so holding grudges doesn’t help anyone.
The whole point in teams is that a group working together can produce far better work than any individual can alone, so there’s no room for being up your own arse when working in a team. Bitterness, selfishness and over-inflated egos soon get sussed, so either play for the team or sit in the corner and play with yourself.
6. Belief. Soldiers believe in their team, they believe in what they do and they believe in themselves. Their country believes in them too, but this isn’t half as important as the belief of the individual actually doing the job.
What’s the point in going to work just to get paid? You can get paid on the dole. You spend half of your life at work, so why waste it doing something you don’t believe in? Find something you believe in and the energy, attitude, motivation, work ethic, enjoyment and fulfilment will take care of itself.
7. Fear. Belief is increased through facing and overcoming fears. If you think a soldier is born brave, you’re wrong. If you think that soldiers don’t shit in their pants when they’re staring down the barrel of an enemies gun, you’re wrong. You become brave by facing your fears.
Fear of failure or criticism puts a lot of people off even trying a lot of things. It stops people chasing dreams and implementing ideas. The thing is, if you do try and you do fail, then that’s it. You fail. You get criticised (by the bitter minority). Big deal. You’re far better off trying and failing than not bothering at all. Providing you learn from your mistakes, you can’t actually get much better than failure.
8. Passion. Soldiers have a huge passion. Why else would they risk their lives every day? Whether their passion is for their job, for their comrades or for their country doesn’t matter. What matters is that they have a burning desire to achieve, accomplish and do good.
There’s a difference between passion and belief. Your beliefs are thoughts, but your passions are feelings. A passion can lead to a desire that anchors to your heart and docks in your subconscious. If you build a big enough desire, you won’t be able to stop yourself from working towards achieving your goals. Napoleon Hill explores the power of desire in his book Think and Grow Rich – check it out if you haven’t already.
There’s probably many more transferable skills that a soldier could bring to the party, so if you can think of any more, let me know in the comments.
Furthermore, does your company take this approach to recruitment? Do you believe that the best results come from mashing together a bunch of weirdos? Do you have experience of working in an unorthodox team? Do you think this post is bullshit? Feel free to share your stories below.