Just go. A Manifesto.
About a year and a half ago, we were given the opportunity to reboot our team, move and add players, and create a Social creative team. We were transforming and repositioning a Copywriter-only team into a scrappy band of Art Directors, Designers, Writers, ACDs and more. It was an exciting development because we were being tasked to help craft a bold new direction for Target in Social. Personally, I was invigorated but also held some questions inside. How might we get everyone to rally around this new mission? What if team members (existing and new ones) didn’t believe that Social is the now and future? How can we clear barriers to let the team Dream Dangerously on a daily basis? And importantly, how will we know if the reboot worked? (More on that later).
So I went with what I know: just write. Say it. Be honest. Be clear. Sit down and tell people where we’re heading. I decided to do this by rattling off an imperfect manifesto one night in an email:
You are now part of a Startup.
You are now one supremely important talent in a band of scrappy makers, artists and conversationalists.
You are an Entrepreneur.
You are on this team for a reason. Many reasons.
Your many talents will be coaxed into the open so that you can rise up within this team.
Your strengths are to be held up on a shiny, gleaming pedestal.
We’re going to blur some lines on this team.
We’re going to break some glass.
We’re going to turn some heads.
We’re going to have some high, high expectations.
And we’re going to look back on this day a year from now and be astounded by how far we’ve grown and what we’ve created together.
We will create whatever we believe needs to be created.
Videos. Imagery. Art. Wonder-filled ideas of all strata and stripes.
The best idea wins, regardless of who authored it.
Hopefully you find that the competition is not with those around you — it’s within you.
We will see a need. And create for it.
We won’t wait for the project pipeline.
We won’t wait for someone else to lead.
We will move. Like, now. Start making.
We will create a tangible hum.
I don’t have all the answers.
(I’ll say that again.) I don’t have all the answers.
But I know together we will teach each other and discover the right path to take every time.
Together, we can do some massively unthinkable things.
Together, we can laugh and be kids again, like Kindergartners drawing with big, new crayons. (That’s why we got into this biz to begin with, right?)
Together, we get to bring it. Every. Single. Day.
Together, we will carve a bold and dynamic Social presence for Target.
This ain’t my first rodeo. And I know it’s not yours either.
Here’s what I can promise you:
I will trust you. And in turn, you will need to trust me.
I will always be fair to everyone on this team.
I will never bullshit you.
I will take your career seriously.
If you show me you care about this team and all of the stuff I’ve said so far, then I will show you I care, too.
I will give you feedback all the time, positive and constructive.
I will tell you everything I know so you never feel surprised.
I will fight for you and your ideas.
I will listen to you.
Our CMO Jeff often talks about “moments” creating momentum. And this was my stab at creating the first (of hopefully many) moments with the 410 words above. So did it work?
I’m obviously biased so take it for what it’s worth. But by many different internal and external measures one might say yes. This year the team created a Fanny Basket, brought a colorful vision to our Instagram feed, took risks on Vine, had our work showcased at SXSW and Cannes by Facebook, and changed the conversation around swimwear for the better, among many other wins. I believe we’re only getting started. And that our biggest, baddest and best work is still ahead of us. There’s always a to-do list longer than our done list. But looking back, I am thankful that we all could share the same expectation of what success looks like. Good reminder that words on a laptop can be a pretty powerful moment maker. Just go.