Maybe They Know More Than You Think

Ego is a double-edged sword.

On the positive side, if you don’t have an ego, don’t have faith in yourself, then you’re probably not going to have a lot of success in life. But on the other hand, very often our egos make us feel that we’re infallible…incapable of making anything but the correct decision, regardless of what advice we get.

And it’s easy to micro-manage. After all, if you’re the boss, then you must know what you are doing.

Back in college, 30 some years ago, I promoted rock bands. One show I did took place at the White Eagle Ballroom in Ortonville, MN—the middle of nowhere. Even though Ortonville only had some 2,000 people living there, White Eagle was a great venue to have small concerts in. Since there was nothing else to do, kids within a hundred mile radius would flock to an event.

This was my first show in Ortonville. In fact, I’d never even been there before.

My modus operandi was to find a local contact to put up our posters and hopefully start the “idea virus.” I found Gordy—17, still in high school, and a police dispatcher. How bad of an idea can this be? Right out of the gate, I got a discount on security. Since I had set everything else up, all that needed to be done was to put up the posters and get the word out.

Three weeks later, I traveled back to Ortonville to do the show with Dave Theige, my roommate. We got in late the day before and checked into a motel. The next morning, I got up before Dave and went out to get breakfast and survey the town for our show’s exposure.

I went everywhere I could to find at least one poster. I found none! What happened to Gordy? It looked like my police dispatcher dropped the ball.

Clay's recruiting and strategic consulting efforts over the past 20 years have provided firms in the printing and communications industries the talent and perspective that has enabled them to navigate the constant change they’ve faced. His current company, the bleedingEDGE, provides digital printing firms with 1:1 marketing solutions that enable their small- and medium-sized clients to compete with larger competitors using a cooperative strategy and production model. In addition to the normal 1:1 marketing techniques of personalization and customization, the bleedingEDGE incorporates timing strategies, generational analysis and sociological factors in producing results well above the norm.
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