Bucket List Interview question

I recently heard the tail-end of an interview on Sirius Radio (no idea who it was) about candidate application questionnaires when interviewing for jobs. One of the questions asked was so telling on what really motivates a potential employee. That question was simply, “what’s on your bucket list?”.

If you are unfamiliar with bucket lists, here is a quick google definition:- “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime”.

So what does this question have to do with hiring employees? Take the marketing agency I’m currently with (50 person agency in Atlanta). If someone answers the bucket list question with: Own a super yacht, own a gulf stream to travel the world, have a mansion in each continent….Bucket list items like these are most likely not going to be attainable working for an agency, and as a result, we’d never be able to make someone like this happy during their career with us. What’s more likely is that they’d work for us for a few years (or less), then move in search of fulfillment of their dreams (successfully or unsuccessfully), but in that time as an employee we would have done little to effect the experiences and achievements they desire. In other words, at some point they won’t value or feel enriched with the employment experience with us.

On the other hand, if the candidate answers the bucket list question with: I’d like to go sky diving, fly first class one day, learn how to speak Spanish, drive a race car, live in a new city, give back to the elderly….These bucket list items are items our company can work to full-fill. If someone is performing like a rock star and we have the means to give them a certificate to go sky diving as an example, or perhaps live in a new city when the company expands into new markets, etc.; the net effect is that we are helping them enrich actual experiences they hoped to accomplish in their lifetime. Items like these (not all) are within our means and as a result you’d have an employee that’s happier and loyal. As a company, I’d rather we have an ability to positively effect an employees happiness and dreams than disappoint them during there career life journey. I’d rather give them something from there bucket list than a random bonus that has no meaning.

So next time you are interviewing someone, ask the question and see if your in a company that could actually help that person achieve some of the bucket list items. The theory I heard on the radio interview was that, if you can, hire the candidates with attainable bucket list items (not all the items, but some), then you’ll have a solid hiring experience and equally the employee will as well. I like the theory, what do you think?

BrightWave, A New Journey Begins

Last week I started a new and exciting chapter in my career by joining BrightWave as President. I’ve known Simms Jenkins (Founder) for many years and have watched his agency grow over the years. BrightWave has one of the best reputations in the industry, specifically known for ground breaking work within Email and CRM marketing, which is no small feat in the ever-evolving agency environment and the marketing technology ecosystem. I’ve been lucky enough to consult with the agency over the last 5 months, providing advice where I could, but more importantly getting to know the DNA of the agency and the wonderful people that make BrightWave a special place.

The foundation, culture and reputation that BrightWave has been able to create provides an exceptional springboard for the agency to scale and become a dominating powerhouse in the space; the future potential is one of the key reasons that attracted me to join the agency as I can clearly see a path forward. It’s common for someone in my position to enter an organization that has a weak culture or a horrible reputation and have to spend a considerable amount of time and effort defining/executing in order to build a foundation to scale. In the case of BrightWave, we know exactly who we are, we have a strong culture, we have passionate and talented people (the most important element in any agency), we have pride in the work, and we are recognized as leaders in the space.

So, why did Simms and the BrightWave team want to bring in a President like me you ask? Its really quite simple:-

  1. Divide and Conquer – Simms and I have complimentary skills and we see this relationship as a partnership. This feels much like my first business, Spunlogic, where I had fantastic partners who all focused on different things and we shared the burden and adventure of growing a company. Running any company, small or large, is no easy job; you learn quickly that you can’t do everything, at least to the level of depth the business needs when growing. Therefore, having someone in the trenches with you, especially someone who’s gone through growth (good and bad) can help validate and keep the organization focused. In the case of Simms and me, I’ve got a heavy operational, creative and technology background, while Simms has a heavy sales & marketing background. We can easily carve out areas of focus that don’t conflict, while sharing a common vision and mission for the agency. This allows us to focus our attention on the front of the house (Simms) and the back of the house (me) in an effective way that can activate growth and scale while maintaining and building upon the culture, people, and reputation of the agency.
  2. Playing to win – You could say that I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to agencies, having founded one and merged/operated two larger agencies. I don’t have a secret recipe for success; however, I “get agency people”, the work we do, what it takes to operate an agency at different sizes and at different maturity levels, different types of work and clients, etc. This experience has exposed me to different challenges in scaling a business, mentoring and coaching our people, identifying new talent needs during growth, maintaining a strong culture, activating tools/process in order to deliver quality and ground breaking work, and finally, pitching creative ideas to clients utilizing complex technology products. In short, I hope to provide value to BrightWave and our clients, helping build an unmatched agency that’s sought after by the best brands and the best agency talent.

I look forward to a successful partnership with Simms and the team, and I’m thankful for the people at BrightWave I’ve already had the pleasure of working with. I’m truly excited to grow with them over the coming years.

Here is a link to the official PR: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/04/prweb13360213.htm