Doubt kills more companies than incompetency.

September 24, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director & CEO @ NYCA

I believe this is the first headline I wrote for any client at NYCA, some seven years ago. It was for a company called HNC that four months later got bought by Fair Isaacs. And it is one of my favorite lines because it is true and I’ve used it to help run our company.

guesingDoubt causes second-guessing, fear, discontent and slowness and that is death for a company. We have to be brave to be creative. We have to believe that we are going to make nothing into something and good into great. 

Doubt undermines that boldness. Adversity is often real but it always needs to be turned into opportunity.

The best way to deal with uncertainty, I have found, not being the smartest guy, is a steadfast commitment to values and principles. Knowing what you believe to be true at its core and acting on it with complete discipline stares down creeping doubt. Clinging to those values gets you through the cloudy place that doubt leaves you to muck through. Principles are tools that help you see beyond what appears to be a wall and it opens roads on which to break speed records, as well as do some sightseeing. 

One night I sat down to jot down some thoughts and when I got up I had written 64 expectations for our agency. Each statement is something that I believe in deeply. I give the booklet out to each new NYCAer at our one-on-one orientation. It helps guide us all. Here are a few Seeds: 

 “grow! work is powered by a message that is highly engaging to the target, is true to the core values of the brand/product/service and is exceptionally inspired so it performs dramatically well in the marketplace.” 

This is our purpose. If you are unclear as what to do, do this.  

“We are a team. Wonderful as we are as individual talents, we are more powerful as a team.”  This is about how we do what we do.”

“Take your good ideas and sweat them, prod them, tough-love them, tickle them into grow! ideas.”  This is about work ethic and believing the extra effort is always worth it, so when you think maybe it can be better, it can be. Go at it again.

Our belief system speeds us past doubt right into action.