Talent plus Intention turns Doubt into Action

From Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO at NYCA

I am a mad crazy lover of talent. I twitch when the gifted are in the vicinity. And truly, if we broke down the job – because who knows what CEOs do anyway? – I am really the chief talent officer and promise maker at NYCA. So here’s what it takes to get and keep a job at NYCA.

And if you’ve got the stuff, come and share it, please.nyca-awning

Everyone who comes for an interview, at our Encinitas world headquarters, gets soulfully x-rayed by at least seven people. Some get radiation-blasted by as many as 12 NYCAers! A gauntlet of sharing and truth-seeking, laughter, green tea, power-points, theory proving, seed planting – and then they get me. Oh, I am a Pooh Bear in the sight of true talent. I will do stupid human tricks for the insatiably curious, mind-wanderers, the way-past-passionate craftspeople who do it better and do it fast and do it on budget, and the open-hearted, future-seeing, daring-to-be-mocked visionaries (they have the best jokes, too!).

Because these people make it happen every day and night.

Because they are the ones who will leap the walls of convention and breathlessly deliver the goods. Again and again.


They keep us honest on the promises we make to all: NYCA will grow our clients’ businesses in the marketplace. We will help make their companies better companies.

It’s darn near impossible. That’s all we do.

Gimme those wonderful rich of soul, thick-skinned, collaborative, technically excellent people and we will beat down the recession and overcome fear, work tirelessly to win over the competition, and create love, respect and action between the consumer and our clients’ brands.

I look for three beacons that show me the path that will take these strangers to the Grove in back where we anoint them NYCAers with watering cans and welcoming love letters and interpretative dancing and myths. (Yes, we really do that!)

BEACON 1: Technical mastery. They’ve got to have the chops. Doesn’t mean they need deep experience but they need excellent control over what they do know. And they need to use it in a collaborative way to grow! the clients’ businesses. Not for any other reason. It is grow! or nothing around here. You only want to make art? I like art too. I’ll walk you over to the galleries and maybe buy your work but you are not an NYCAer. We create artful working tools of communication.

BEACON 2: NYCAers have to have what we call the grow! gene. They must ask “why?” and “how come?” and my second favorite, “Ok, then, let’s try?” and my all time best: “Now this may never work but what if…?” – all the time. Even in their sleep (we let them sleep sometimes, but we do peek into their dreams). If not, then their immense talents won’t get us to the place that has no address, that cannot be mapped: grow work! Their work isn’t for the boardroom – it must push consumer behavior. That is our grail at our beachside idea hive. Up to them if it is theirs.

BEACON 3: Cultural fit. Because of the eclectic backgrounds and varying points of view around here, it’s like 10,000,000 nerve endings zipping notions, intonations, observations, Cheetos, insights, hopes, tweets, one to another. The pace is hot, the intensity is at 11. These people are more than their craft. They do so well, they are experienced sharers who bring so much to each other. They each have outside interests that keep their flames dancing, that feed their work fires, that grow each other.

That’s about it.

Now there may be other ways to get her done. This is our way.

It’s how we create grow! work and how we grow! our culture so it thrives so we can be strong in the face of whatever comes our way.

So bring on doubt and fear and big challenges. Talent and a culture will embrace them and change them into action and growth.

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