You Can Have Any Stupid Opinion You Want

That’s what my Dad said to me, not in anger but in exasperation, when my sister and I were arguing about the war in Vietnam.

It holds true for just about any opinion about anything.

What Dad’s statement means to me is, yes I have an opinion, and in the Big Picture, it’s just plain irrelevant to anything or anyone – except me.

And yes, my opinions about Vietnam were really important. My sister had it all wrong.

But opinions can be dangerous – if they spark a riot, sway the public as if it were fact, cause a divorce, or send you to a crappy restaurant.

Think about the origin of your opinions on anything. The type of music you like, what you wear, where you’ll be ‘seen’, how you vote. Are they originated in experience? A convincing argument? Research?

Until there is proof, we just have opinions.

And yes, they are stupid. Except for mine.

Ambassador to the Agency

As a project or traffic manager, you have most likely been placed in the middle of an argument between (usually) creative and account. Or my personal favorite, a writer and a proofreader.

It usually goes like this:

A proof is ready for the client. You check it, it fits the brief, log it in and send it to account for client approval.

Account reviews it, and it doesn't  in their opinion, match the brief... or perhaps their vision. They send it back and tell you it’s not acceptable.

Creative says, no changes, it does follow the brief, it is fantastic and we are not changing anything.

And so it goes, back and forth. You are running interference between the two (or three, or more) because they’re all way too busy to get together – or perhaps they really don’t like confrontation.

Stop where you are. Pull them in one room to debate, argue and blame one another for failing to follow the brief / changing what they meant / being too creative.

Go for speed. As soon as a victor is declared – and they actually articulate exactly what they want – get direction in writing, a date and time you’ll see it, and then hold them to it.

It is not your job to run back and forth to mediate border wars. Your time is too valuable ensuring everything else GETS DONE.

So, next time you get a proof for the gazillionth time, save everyone a lot of time, money and grief. Get your awesome colleagues into a room and do not let them out until they compromise. (They may never agree – so show them the budget and actuals).

Tough love is efficient.