In The Trenches

Let’s stop the distractions.

Published on May 11, 2015 Back to blog
Three Burritos

We’ve all been at that meeting where someone keeps dropping F-bombs and, rather than pay attention to what he/she was saying, you can’t help but keep count. Or, on a slightly smaller scale, when you stop focusing on the content of a document because you’re fixated on the improper use of two spaces after every period. (In my defense, this is how I was taught to type.)

It’s distractions like these that cause us to lose focus and miss the larger message. For the most part, I’ve learned to disregard these annoyances so I can focus on what’s important. But, there are still a few things that get me. Today, I share some of these with you, hoping that it helps me overcome them – and, even better, hoping that you don’t do them.

1.  When it’s a team effort, give the team credit by saying “we” – not “I.”
Especially in the advertising business, most deliverables are a team effort. So, when presenting work, give credit to the team. Stop saying “I did this” and instead recognize that “We did this…”

2.  If you ask a question, let them answer.
Time and time again, I see people ask a question and shortly after the person begins responding, the one who asked the question jumps in and tries answering their own question (as opposed to getting the answer from the person who likely knows better). Why did you ask in the first place?

3.  It’s a slash – not a backslash.
I kind of understand when someone over 40, raised in the age of MS DOS, makes this mistake (although, even that’s a stretch.) But, come on people, “/” is a slash (as in http://) and “\” is a backslash.

4.  Use the damn phone!
Almost nothing bothers me more than when someone tells me “they still haven’t returned my email” and, when I ask “did you try calling?” I get a blank stare, as though the phone was just invented yesterday.

5.  Wrap the burrito vertically not horizontally.
This one has nothing to do with business – but it has to do with my lunch yesterday. Attention burrito maker: please be sure to roll the burrito so that each bite has a mix of all the ingredients – not so that each bite gets a new layer of the filling.

OK, now I’m just starting to complain… So, I’ll stop here and ask you to not only comment on the ones I’ve shared, but continue the list. The more aware we are of what distracts us, the more distractions we can get rid of.  

As always, thanks for listening. And please share away!

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners

PS.  For all those who are looking, I did a search and replace for all double-spaces.