1. Be a clock-changer.
This came from our opening keynote, Jeffrey Hayzlett. Hayzlett is a “global business celebrity” and self-proclaimed cowboy. He spoke loudly and enthusiastically about leadership and change, encouraging all of us to “change the clocks.” Hayzlett told a story about meeting with his new marketing team at Kodak and changing the clock in the room so it was off by 20 minutes before they arrived. When his team came in, they anxiously compared the times on their watches only to find that the clock on the wall was wrong. This continued frantically for meeting after meeting with everyone saying, “we should fix that clock!” but nobody actually taking action. Finally someone got on a chair and changed it back to the correct time…she received a promotion the next day.
It’s becoming increasingly necessary to be a “clock-changer,” or change-maker, especially in the field of social good. Seeing a problem and taking the steps to solve it is what gets you noticed. That is what I hope to bring to any organization I join in the future.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail.
This is another important bit from Jeffrey Hayzlett. His reason for not being afraid to fail was that (the majority of the time) nobody would die if you do! I think that as students and student leaders, we are sometimes worried about trying something new and not being successful. I know that it’s something I’ve struggled with over the past 4 years as I’ve been given new responsibilities and in fact, I have failed multiple times just this year. What we often hear is that “nothing is a failure, it’s a learning experience,” which I can agree with to a certain degree, but I think I subscribe more to Hayzlett’s philosophy on the subject. I know that as I enter the “real world” after graduation I will be faced with many new opportunities and every time I try something different, I will remember that if I don’t get it quite right…nobody will die.
3. Embrace disruption.
The keynote for our Friday Awards ceremony was Nate Riggs of the Karcher Group. AMA ICC 2013’s theme was “Living The Marketing Life,” so it was fitting that Nate’s presentation focused on the constantly changing environment of marketing and how we can thrive in a space that evolves every day. Nate’s advice, delivered in the fast pace and interactive manner he is known for: embrace the disruption that is new technology and stay knowledgeable on these changes. We’re living in an “adapt or die” time; this is true for organizations as well as individuals. As a complete social media geek, I most enjoyed Nate’s points on memes and viral content, and his idea that viral content cannot be created, but that content must be “relevant and interesting,” in keeping with the theme of staying up to date on popular culture and emerging trends. While I may not be entering the marketing field specifically, I know that it will be essential for me to stay aware of all the technology surrounding me and the effects it will have on my work.
4. Differentiate yourself.
The last lesson that I want to touch on comes from Kevin Hungate’s Experience Speaks session on what it takes to stand out to hiring managers. As a senior in college less than 2 months away from graduation, I’ll take any advice I can get from anyone who is even remotely qualified and as soon as this session began, I could tell that Kevin is beyond qualified. This wasn’t the typical “how to write a resume, craft a cover letter, nail an interview” presentation that I’ve seen so many times; Kevin talked about actionable strategies for really setting oneself apart from the competition before, during, and after the interview. I don’t want to reveal all his secrets, but I can say that I learned so much from his presentation and I have already begun thinking of ways I can incorporate his ideas into my job search.
I really have to thank the amazing American Marketing Association Conference Co-Chairs, Collegiate Chapter Council and everyone else who was involved in pulling the AMA ICC together. I hope to attend next year as a young professional member and continue learning and growing with AMA!
Are you an AMA member who attended the conference? What were your favorite lessons? Leave a comment and let me know!