D.R.: Consultants have their way with us
Ah, this rollercoaster, ego. Primped up and it sure helps put that swagger into your walk. Eroded and you feel unworthy of saying hello.
I enjoy observing ego. In others mainly, but also in myself. It makes us. It breaks us.
We’re mainly in the breaking stage right now. We hired a consultant, Bill Ostendorf, and his team Creative Circle. Their main job is to help us redesign the Vail Daily and Vail Trail. But Bill’s doing a lot more.
He’s breaking down everything we do. Not just design, but planning (planning?), approach to journalism, what we cover, how we cover it, and especially the quality of our writing, photography, graphics ” all the bits and pieces of journalism.
I love it. Spank me.
This is something we can’t possibly get right. Not the best of us, and I make no presumptions about that in relation to me or us. There isn’t a lot of 2 plus 2 must equal 4 in journalism. Habits, best practices, conventions, sure. But however well journalists do, they can do better. A lot better. It’s all gray, baby.
This biz takes everything you have and will only humble you if you are paying any attention. Like golf. Just maybe not quite as much fun.
Ego seems to have a little bigger hold on journalists than some other tribes. Maybe it’s that little shine of fame that some achieve, enough to go to their heads and a little left over to seep into the psyches of the others.
So Bill and his team know what to erode to get us fat heads to listen, at least a little. The trick is to knock off the ego and still preserve enough residual confidence to build upon.
It’s an old story, known mainly to athletic coaches. Tame the ego, set good habits, give ’em that sense of something to prove, and all good things are possible.
The crew has resonded well so far. Some like hearing their faults less than others do. That’s human nature. But they all are rethinking things, have their eyes open for better ways, and their hearts set on improving their work.
So the ground is plowed and fertile. We just have to keep the ego cultivated and new crop nourished, and we’ll make that next step up.