Aim for perfection, but never try to be a perfectionist. This was the lesson I learnt early in my profession. “He just not finicky and fastidious but unacceptably uncompromising. Look, he sees only that black speck in an otherwise white board”. These were the words spoken about the boss of my erstwhile company.
He would never accept anything less than 100 percent. In a creative field, perceptions always differ or sometimes even contradictory. Far from encouraging, he would stifle the thought process at its inception. He was carping in his criticism. So much so, ideas and format came only from the top. Originality was often ridiculed. Precisely why, the attrition was its highest. Sensing something amiss, the directors showed him the door and to the surprise of all made me the chief.
On day one I put up a banner greeting the employees “If you have ideas, throw up”. The hierarchical barriers were broken and bridges were built. I was accessible and approachable. We were flooded with ideas both verbal and design from the visual and instructional designers. Creative juice started flowing. We had great difficulty in sifting and discarding a few.
For the first time finalising the story board was a collective decision; discussed and dissected threadbare. The client was given a choice of three alternatives before we went for a shoot. The advertisement was impacting and the product sales went skyrocketing. This done, the sales team had little to do to push the product. Infact, shortly thereafter the company was hard pressed to meet the ever increasing demand!
Little wonder we were delivering one super hit every month. We were the talk of the business and advertising circles. When the directors summoned me for a meeting, they asked me,
”How did you transform?”
“I gave them the space. Engaged and encouraged everyone. I made them think out of the box“, I replied.
“Phenomenal! You have not only turned around but have made us the market leader in such a short span of time”. “I was suggestive but never sermonising; receptive without being overbearing; corrective yet never critical. A nudge here and a prod there and that was it. I never pushed them. After all, you know, freedom and creativity go hand in hand. I was tolerant to little imperfections; over time,
Perfection was a natural corollary.