HELLO, THANKS FOR VISITING THE MAGICAL CHOICE.
At first the idea of Logic + Magic felt very novel, different, and new to me, but when I began to think about it I realized that I'm already a Logic + Magic devotee. I think the best creatives are a combination of contradictions, with the combined power of both logic and magic — structure and freedom — contributing to strategically imaginative ideas. It's how I've successfully managed my teams for years. I just never named it.
I think this is why it impacted me so deeply, it didn't feel like a platitude or a made up agency mantra. It felt authentic and it felt like home.
Agency history is littered with stories of the magical creative leader who is the singular source of breakthrough ideas for their team. To the contrary, what I’ve learned over the years is how much the magic of creative leadership is about team-building. A fearless creative leader is a team-builder and a morale-builder first and foremost. They have a bold, clear creative vision for their brands, team, and agency. And by clearly articulating this vision they help each team member understand that they are part of something magical, something larger than themselves.
When each team member understands their role in this vision they are able to act on the opportunity and the expectation that they can and should make a dramatic impact on the fortunes of their clients, their teammates, and their organization. This in turn helps them achieve real growth in their careers and drives them to continue adding value to the agency. That's how magic is scaled beyond ourselves and becomes an exponential resource for creating work that matters more.
A creative leader is never satisfied, they learn from past successes, but more importantly from past failures. They enjoy the energy that comes with helping others create their best work, but also enjoy helping them grow into better, more skilled versions of themselves.
They listen twice as much as they talk. This endows them with the magical power of understanding. Understanding their client's motivations, the career goals of their team, and the business realities they face.
I once read a story about Michael Eisner's first project at Disney. Eisner pitched what he thought was a great promotional idea to reenergize the brand: have Mickey and Minnie Mouse get married. Eisner had even secured a Time magazine cover story to generate PR for the event.
But when Eisner gathered his team in a room to discuss the idea, one person pointed out a huge flaw with the idea. As soon as you marry them, you freeze them in time. “Right now if you’re eight and you meet Mickey and Minnie, you think they’re eight. When you’re 58 you think they’re 58,” explained the teammate. "As soon as you define their age, the icons lose a lot of their meaning to a lot of people."
When Eisner heard that explanation, he gave up his passion project, in the process signaling to his new team that everyone's opinion was not only welcome, but imperative to the success of the brand. That was the magic of listening.
Creative leaders understand the magical power of laughter. Laughter makes it safe for teammates to say whatever is on their minds without self-editing. If you don’t have the ability to laugh at yourself then you won’t feel comfortable saying something stupid. When you're worried about sounding stupid you’re not going add to the conversation. Creating a culture that encourages sharing crazy ideas, and laughing at them together, allows for fluid thinking, building on each others ideas, and unlimited creativity.
Finally fearless creative leaders creative leaders understand that it's not all about them. They take the blame when things go wrong, and give away the credit when things go right. They hire really, really good people. Then let them do really, really great work.
That's how we create the ideas that will make a difference in the world around us, and that's the real magic.