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Successful and Unsuccessful: What’s the Difference in PR?

motivation successI’m a fan of LinkedIn. In fact, “slightly addicted” has been a description hurled in my direction. One day, I was perusing everyone’s fine work when I ran into a nugget from Dave Kerpen, author and chief executive of Likeable Local. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

As with most gold in terms of information, there is nothing original — just recycled at the right time.

Kerpen shared a postcard he received (posted after the jump), which should really make you stop and think, if even to reassess what you are doing right or wrong in your creative career. These dichotomies of what is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people are applicable to any vocation.

However, after filtering through it, there are few that really speak to flacks. Enjoy.

First, here’s the postcard. How it applies to the industry of flackdom follows afterwards:

success vs. unsuccess

And now, for my favorites in this fabled industry:

1. Compliment vs. Criticize

While I admit to many that I am a healthy pragmatist (because it sounds much better than raving sarcasm machine), I believe very much in lifting up your team. Too often in PR circles, there are backstabbers and people who hoard their media lists because if one contact gets in the wrong hands, your entire career is over. That’s bullsh. A compliment and a side of praise goes so much farther than a backbiting comment from that one tool in the agency who shouts down ideas during a brainstorm (hate that person). There are many constructive ways to critique something without saying, “Yeah, next!”

2. Give people all the credit for their victories vs. Take all the credit from others

Remember that tool in the agency? Yeah, this one too. As hokey as it sounds, teamwork really is dreamwork because no one is that smart to work on an island and think of everything. That’s why we have editors in this blog. That’s why you have a director in your agency. Everyone needs a little help. It is a key to success. And following that help, give them credit for doing the job. Sure, your sage advice may have catapulted them to greatness, but you were there. And if that person if half the stellar individual you are, he or she will thank you publicly for it. See? Everyone gets credit that is rightfully theirs. Don’t steal or be petty. That’s not a good look.

3. Embrace change vs. Fear change

This is tantamount to achieving any greatness on the job. How many codgers do you know that still won’t embrace social media. I’m raising both of my hands! True, embracing change can be one of the hardest things to do, but once you let go of pride and foolishness, you become better for it. This industry is fluid, thanks largely to technology. We must move on from the “good ol’ days” and get with the new program. If you see everyone going to play in traffic, look both ways and get busy. If not, you will be left standing on the corner wondering when is it safe to cross. Here’s a hint: It’s like New York. It’s never safe, just walk out in the middle of those fools and represent.

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