Wednesday, September 04, 2013
My learnings from not posting for a while

Yeah, so I failed the challenge to ban a different marketing cliche every day through August.

Don't care, been busy.

Anyway, I'm going to carry on regardless. And today's term is... 'Learnings'. You know, like when you're in a review meeting and you've screwed something up. You know you've screwed something up, and you know you're going to have to tell the client. Or even worse, the client has screwed something up, and you're going to have to tell them.

So you title the PowerPoint slide: 'Key Learnings'. You coward, you.

'Learnings' completely removes the fact that someone in the room has ballsed something up. The word you really want is 'lessons', but you're too scared that this will take you back to school, when learning your lesson meant getting told off for doing something wrong. Calling it 'learnings' and it's much less impactful, creating a cushioning bubble of comfort far removed from the harsh reality of the screwup itself.

No more of this, please.

One of the great pieces of advice I took from my Waggener Edstrom days (from either Waggener or Edstrom - I can't remember) was the phrase 'fail forward'. If you screw something up, it means you're moving quickly and trying new things. If everything always goes well for you, then you're doing it wrong.

When you do screw up (and you will), you take it on the chin and learn your lesson. You admit your mistake, and use the information to do something bigger and faster. And next time you'll shoot higher and make an even bigger mistake. Which propels you on again.

'Learnings' is a wimpy word, and totally undermines the awesomeness of fucking stuff up. Next time you write your slide and are about to type 'Key Learnings', call it 'Gigantic ballsups' instead. At least it'll force you to spend time actually learning from them.