By Peter Springett | @PeterSpringett
A long time ago, at a university far, far away, I used to do a lot of running. I never quite made the national finals at my fastest distance (800m). But I could hold my own in a field of county or regional athletes.
On the verge of breaking into the university team, I was invited to train with the star athletes, including a European distance champion and a marathon runner who went on to represent the UK at the Olympics.
It was a daunting prospect. I was a good athlete but not brilliant. What I lacked in natural ability I made up for by training hard and sticking to the schedule. But these guys were something else.
Even so, I was now within touching distance of the very best. Literally when I managed to stay close to the group as we ran intervals around a college cricket pitch on a sunny evening one May.
Acquire good habits, ditch the bad ones
So why (another) running anecdote on the DLA blog? Well, this athletics memory surfaced when I tried to describe what it’s like working alongside the DLA team, especially the co-founders Tim Hughes and Adam Gray.
These guys are the best at what they do. Social media might look simple to some, daunting to others. But to succeed, as I’ve learned, you need to work hard, stick to your plan, acquire good habits and ditch the bad ones.
Another area where Tim and Adam excel is navigating the ambiguity that goes with social strategy. That’s a fancy way of saying that they steer well clear of the BS that goes with some self-styled social gurus.
Having a strong background in sales also helps. When you’re driven by results, the direct approach works best. And I’ve seen that first-hand in their coaching style and business habits.
At the beginning of 2018, this matters more than ever. Tim and Adam have written frequently on the impact of GDPR on marketing and social media. But this is just the start of a wave of change that will lift those businesses that are ready and consign the unprepared to the private equity sector. To quote the end of Terminator, ‘There’s a storm coming in”. And you’d better be ready.
It’s aurevoir, not adieu
Back to those heady university days. A few weeks after I started training with the running stars, I made it on to the university team, competed in the top fixture of the season and broke my personal best in the process. The training helped of course. But I like to think that I also inherited ‘softer’ skills: the mindset of a high-performer or what someone once called the ‘psychological body-language’ for success.
In the same way, I’d like to thank Tim and Adam for inviting me to work alongside them at DLA. The skills I’ve acquired directly (and indirectly) have been invaluable and I’m fortunate enough to be taking them into a new role in Berlin.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to post on content marketing and strategy, especially where they intersect with social. So, this won’t be my last article, but it’s as good an opportunity as any to say thanks to the DLA team and recommend them as the smartest, most hardworking social athletes I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
If you liked Peter’s writing style you might want to read this too Super Heroes.
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