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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

nice diners, inflated balloons and self knowledge

Yesterday I had the 'thank you' dinner from the VEA with all my Re:set partners. I started this innovation group after leaving the VEA board. Being a board member was an estranging experience for me. Felt I was talking from another universe most of the time, being the only strategist on the board. Found out in the end the other members thought I was from another planet too. They were always discussing items I found irrelevant or not important enough to discuss in detail. And they thought I was not specific enough. Well, the Re:set group was specific enough. Up till now we organized fourteen sessions (in about two and a half years), some big, some smaller, some very practical and some rather spiritual. We have had chakra-therapists, trendspecialists and John de Mol (TV-entrepeneur and owner of the 'Big Brother' concept), to name a few. Of course, Marinus Knoope was my favorite, with his creation circle.
Talked about writing a book. Most thought I needed a plan, a schedule, a story-lead to help me write the book. I said that I work differently: I am not much into scheduling things. I just start and work my way through what happens during writing. Got talking how that reflects your character. That's also why some business directors and VEA board members found me hard to deal with. I always start with the heart of the story and work from there untill I reach feet and hand. They start exactly opposite. So they keep asking for practicalities (the hand and feet) while I get restless: I told you the heart of it, why bother about details..??
Basically this also reflects my relationship with people in power. Do not mind others having power, until they try to limit my independence or freedom. And that's exactly what the old fashioned advertising CEO's want to do: they reign by fear. Always putting others down (it seems it's also what the new directors of JWT in Amsterdam are doing: installing fear to make themselves more powerful). And I cannot help myself: I react. It can be very ineffective, I can tell you, but I have to deflate their balloon. I just have to.. And they know it. They feel it. I don't get scared, I get cynical and sharp. So they just inflate more. And I react more. There we have an interdependent relationship.. Have had almost 8 years of it with HK of PPGH, until I found out why. Then I just laughed, decided he had more problems with me than I with him and let it (and him) rest. Feels better, I can tell you. And left the agency a year later without any remorse.
That's the real freedom! And funny enough: no such inflated ego's at FHV BBDO, where I'm now. Life's good.

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