Life as a Planner #5: The Skeptic
Do jaded planners make better planners?
The caveman ‘grunt’ that’s hurled at you from the pile of newspapers as you edge into their office. The roll of their eyes — fully-glazed over, of course — as you discreetly place the client brief on their desk, and then nudge it towards them, even more discreetly, as you fill the air with small talk. The awkward pause — sweat rolling down your forehead, throat tense — as you come to the big question: “So… when can I expect the brief?” Then more eye-rolling, perhaps another ‘grunt’, and likely a smirk for good measure, too.
I’ve worked for jaded planners. I’ve worked with jaded planners. Hell, I may very well be a jaded planner myself!
But, that being said, do jaded planners make better planners?
Jaded planners are skeptics. They question you, they question everything — sometimes before you even set foot through their door.
They question briefs: Another brief? What is it this time? Why the hell would they want that? And even if they did, who would buy this? Why on earth would anyone buy it? There’re a million other things in this world, hell, in this store, that they could buy, besides this. Why would they bother?
They question ideas: Another website? Another… micro-site? Who in their right mind would waste any time on this, with us? Oh, but they can tweet with us if they want, tweet at us, instead. Why? There’re a million other things they can tweet about — Kanye, Game of Thrones, tweeting! — why on earth would they tweet something at us?
And of course, they question effectiveness: Will this TV spot actually do anything for us? Oh, I see. Even better. Will this YouTube spot actually do anything for us? How would we know? Should we knock on doors, stalk the aisles, ask people? Why on earth would they talk to us?
And it goes on.
But all this is good. Very good. The jaded planner — the skeptic! — makes us question everything too. They force us to think, to consider it all, a bit more closely. Is there a better way at it? More effective, more insightful, easier to do, easier to track? How can we make sure we’re doing the right thing, and actually changing behaviour, instead of just thinking we are?
And you know what? A few more questions, a bit more thinking, is always good.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to my pile of newspapers…
Read more from John at The Planning Notepad