Play Makers

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated  

It's a rare day when a campaign plays out exactly as we wrote it in a plan.  Life just has too many variables. Social context or a natural event or something else distracts the attention of our audiences.  The channel we developed—the reason to care—becomes muddy, too loud, or it's blocked altogether.  And, I believe, it's in that moment that the program fails or succeeds. It may not be immediate — but the ripple effect of either overcoming or not overcoming the situation means everything in the ultimate success of the campaign.

Every year in January I share with our team members a vision document. Our overarching vision for Curator never changes, but each year, based on market and internal conditions, the paths we need to take to get there are different.  We identify areas where we are going to place significant focus and then bring the team together to develop a plan for each initiative. This year, one of the three areas of focus I identified was a theme called Play Makers vs. Game Managers.  Perhaps I was inspired by the run our Seahawks were on and all the talk analysts use to describe quarterbacks. They always break them down into two areas: play makers and game managers. There is nothing wrong with game managers. In the right organization they can be fine.  But you're likely not going to win a championship with game managers.

Play makers are the thing. When Russell Wilson calls a play in the huddle, every member of the team knows what to do — they have a plan. As they're walking to the line they are envisioning the play resulting in a touchdown. But then the play starts and blocks are missed or holes are clogged and Wilson needs to find a way — to make something from nothing.  Play makers keep plays alive.  They win championships.

It takes us a long time to hire at Curator. We look for very specific things in our team members. Are they a cultural fit?  Is there a work ethic and drive there?  Is it layered with talent, curiosity, and a clean POV? And lastly, we're looking for an X factor.  Do they find a way?  When the play breaks down — and at some level it always will — do they find a way?

I love play makers. Are you one?