Alistair Campbell says: stop celebrating (if you want to win)

Alison WilliamsLast time you won a pitch or smashed a campaign, did you celebrate? Of course you did. But if you ask Alistair Campbell, you shouldn’t have.

I saw Campbell recently at my alma mater, giving a talk about the world’s most successful individuals – more specifically, people he interviewed for his book: Winners: And How They Succeed.

Campbell took us through what he believed to be the characteristics of people who accomplish incredible things – whether in politics, business, academia, etc. Indeed, the wide range of interviewees from Bill Clinton to Anna Wintour actually had a few things in common.

One of these commonalities was particularly interesting from a PR perspective – from the perspective of a viciously competitive industry where professionals have to prove their worth with every pitch, every meeting and every new idea. Campbell pointed out that most of his ‘winners’ never celebrated their successes. For them, it was more rewarding to readjust their goalposts than to pop a cork.

That said, I’m not suggesting we cut budgets for team nights out and work anniversary dinners. If you did that, well, good luck with that staff turnover. But Campbell makes a slightly jarring point – winners don’t rest on their laurels – they simply set their sights higher.

It’s worth keeping in mind when we look at where we’re putting our energies as competitors in such a fierce market. We relish the clinking and the bubbles and the promotions – but do we relish a new challenge in quite the same way? If not, the agency who wins at your next pitch probably does.

By Alison Williams, Associate Account Director, Gorkana


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