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Today's Marketing Cookie - Ability To Forget
"A good memory is fine but the ability to forget is the one true test of greatness."
Today's fortune came from Stephanie Mansour of Chicago, IL. Stephanie is the CEO of Step It Up with Steph, and a nationally known Health & Fitness Expert. She is the author of the best selling workbook, "30 Days to Love Your Body & Your Life" and has been featured on CNN, AOL, Yahoo!, WGN TV, Crain’s Business, and various TV stations across the country. Stephanie has been named a top 50 inspiring trainer on Twitter by "Masters in Health Care", and you should follow her on Twitter: @StepItUpwSteph
Today's Marketing Cookie is an important truth for everyone to heed, especially business people.
I want to point out that the fortune says, "ability to forget", not "tendency to forget". One of the biggest problems I see in marketing, is how many marketers forget the basics. Marketers must be constantly reminded to know their audience, understand their needs and be relevant. Marketers can become mesmerized by the hottest new media or new fancy marketing technologies and they lose sight of marketing basics. So, while the ability to forget is the one true test of greatness, I must stress that marketers never lose their memory, otherwise you'll repeat mistakes that took you a lifetime to learn.
What does it mean to forget? Why would forgetting make one great?
Sometimes in business, people will make poor, and even criminal decisions in the name of profit, advancement or self-preservation. The most talented business people are able to take advantage of an opportunity and pull their company in front of the competition. They have a knack for fixing inefficiencies, finding ways to save money or even increase profit margins. They are truly talented business people and can save a company from closing. Unfortunately, a person's strengths are also often their greatest weakness. Being really good at capitalizing on opportunities, does not mean one always should - especially when it crosses a gray line of ethics, or when it breaks the law.
When someone crosses the line, there is almost always a victim. Sometimes the victim is the government, or a company, but too often the victims are people. Employees are sometimes managed out of a company to boost margins and maximize value before a company is put up for sale. You sometimes hear about people who were laid off just before the end of the year in order to increase net profits - so bonuses can be given to the top executives. These situations are ugly, and they can tarnish one's trust in people. The good news is that not everyone in business is untrustworthy. The bad news is that bad experiences with bad people often gets in the way of trusting good people.
I've experienced my fair share of cut-throats, cheaters and swindlers over the years, and didn't even realize that I had developed a general mistrust of people. I had been burnt, robbed, pushed, and bullied enough times that I had lost my smile. It was tragic. When I first came on board at CommCreative, I had so many protective walls built up around me, that I struggled to truly give the company my best effort. CommCreative is a highly collaborative environment and requires an enormous amount of teamwork... and trust. My bad experiences in the past were stopping me in the present and could've ruined my future. Although I was working hard, I wasn't fully engaged and everyone could see it, except me.
After the first year at CommCreative, my boss pulled me aside and asked me to put both feet in the boat. Getting in the boat meant that I would have to trust him. It also meant that I would have to trust the wonderful team he had built around me. Getting in the boat meant that I would have to trust our customers too and learn to forget whatever had happened in the past. I learned that forgetting the past also meant forgiving people, and I believe that forgiveness is really the true test of greatness.