It must be the onset of a new year.  Or, simply, musings before making resolutions. 


We’re ruminating on what makes us stellar communicators, designers, marketers, branding gurus.  All prompted by a recent AdAge interview with Sir John Hegarty (yes, the founder of agency Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty) who said, right in front of us, in print:  “I think what our industry has lost is courage.”

Immediately enter the Cowardly Lion, in our favorite Wizard of Oz.  He’s eminently qualified, by his species, to be courageous.  Yet somehow he seems to have lost the nerve, until, of course, he’s awarded the Medal of Courage from the Wizard.

Courageousness isn’t specified in most job qualifications we see today.  But, at times, our mettles are tested.  How willing are we to confront, to right what we consider as wrong?  Regardless of our position in the company.  And regardless of the outcomes. 

What are our triggers for being brave … illegal practices, long-standing workplace institutions, authenticity, or just plain hard decisions?    Are we being seduced by dollars and complacency?  Do we understand what it takes to face real risk, and the sacrifices we might have to make?

Yeah, you could say courage is situational.   Heavily reliant on the who, what, when, where, and why.    A client who demands a certain campaign be killed (when you know it’s still got legs).  A leader who avoids telling it straight.  Groups spending money on initiatives that won’t net enough benefits.  Metrics that, somehow, don’t add up.

And so on.  Do any of us have the nerve to say no?