top of page

What two things help me with my job? | Gen Kobayashi

THINK: Aim for Zero. World renowned astronaut, Chris Hadfield wrote an incredible book entitled 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth'. If you haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend. One of the many points that he makes is that the best astronauts are the ultimate polymaths. You have to be an elite pilot, a skilled engineer and a competent scientist to name but a few skills needed for the job. This means that astronauts are always learning new skills. It's for that reason that Hadfield makes the point that there are three types of people. Those who are "positives", people always looking to add value wherever possible; those who are "negatives"and people who detract from situations, and "neutrals".

However tempting it is to immediately build and be a "positive", the best astronauts are "neutrals". They listen, watch and learn before giving their opinion on a new situation. He calls this, "Aiming for Zero".

I'd argue as Planners, we have to be polymaths too. We're always learning. And for that reason, in any new situation I stop the urge to be a "Positive" and instead "Aim for Zero". Observe, listen and learn before you dive in.

DO: Keep it simple. I've always believed that a fundamental part of our job as strategists is to help make the complex simple. Clients come to us to help solve complicated problems. Creatives rely on us to strip away the superfluous to find them the sublime insight. But i worry when i see so many strategies that seem to not only reflect the complexities of a problem, but add to them by forcing people to work so hard just to decode the thinking.

This isn't school work, we don't get extra marks for showing our workings out.

Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself". This is far easier said than done (I know from experience, my six year old sees right through bullsh*t), as Planners we have to constantly force ourselves to keep it simple. Nobody said it was easy though.

bottom of page