Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Be the stupidest person in the room...

I have listened to several podcasts in the past months and (strangely enough) the one that I find most inspiring is Sally Hogshead's Radio Talent Zoo. This is aimed at the advertising world, where I understand that Sally is something of a household name (what would I know?). I wouldn't have expected to find much of relevance in that cut-throat world to a learning professional on the lee-side. However, these interviews with successful advertising people regularly reveal some generic wisdom.

One line that has come up more than once is: be the stupidest person in the room. This runs contrary to the commercial world, where everyone is under pressure to impress everyone else. If you are the smartest person in the room, you can learn little or nothing from everyone else present. If, however, you are the stupidest, or the least well informed person present...

Just in case there is any doubt, you can't actually make yourself stupider - what you have to do is start hanging out with really smart people.

And never stop learning. Never overlook an opportunity to learn something new in even the most unlikely situations. Be a student of your business. It makes sense that, as learning professionals, we should model this.

Another gem I heard recently (sadly, I can't remember which advertising guru said it) was this: remember what made your best work your best work. With the passage of time, your best work may begin to look dated, but why was it your best work? What made it so good at the time?

No comments: