building businesses

The Great Work Challenge

great work  

Here’s a news flash:  It’s really pretty easy to do good work.  And therein lies the problem.

We develop a great deal of “creative work product” here at The Wisdom Link, like copy writing and design.  And it’s surprisingly easy to do a good job of it.  With several years behind us, we have all kinds of examples to borrow from, proven designs to use as a starting place when we meet with the creative team and the experience of working with many of the same industries over and over.  It’s a lay-up to do good work and because of it we have the opportunity to create far more good work, far faster.

What’s a challenge is to create great work.  If good work is easy, you’d expect making great work would be only fractionally more difficult.  Much to my own amusement, I’ve learned that maintaining the standards for great work is a fairly tough challenge.  And we've taken that challenge on.

Instead of borrowing ideas from other people, being great means we have to do all that intellectual work of really thinking things through every single time from scratch.  Instead of taking designs from one client and re-purposing elements and ideas for another client, we have to start with a blank slate.  We have to understand what our clients want when they don't.  We have to understand the way they think.  It’s time consuming.  Sometimes it’s costly.  And instead of leaping ahead of the client when I know where they’re headed, I have to bite my tongue, listen up and force my mind into the present moment to really hear them.  It requires a surprising amount of discipline.

And since almost none of our clients would notice, it’d actually be quite easy to cheat.  The difference between great work and good work isn’t always the quality of the design or writing itself.  You can’t look at a piece and always see the distinction between good and great.  Not enough people have the skills to tell the difference.  The way we measure success is in the way our client relates to the work.  They may not know a darned thing about design or copy writing but they can tell when their wisdom is in the thing more than ours.  They can smell the subtle difference that makes the work unique, tailored and useful to them and that makes all the difference in the world.  If we define great work as being useful, efficient, affirming, beautiful and finally an effective extension of our client, then we have to recognize that benchmark is a moving target.

Achieving that goal is incredibly rewarding.  Being great is part of The Wisdom Link brand and frankly, where I find the personal value in the work that I do.  Being good at the level where we play is pretty much the same thing as dialing it in and treating our clients like widgets.  The difference is subtle but it's certainly significant.

Being great means we don't cut corners.  It means we don't take it for granted.  It means we pour our hearts into the work and the world of the client.  It means the work we do matters and the results reflect it.  There is no replacement for being great and there is no more rewarding lifestyle than building a business that has made it the priority.