Episode 144:

I’ve always described our work as being called upon to be creative on demand. Whether an agency employee sits in the creative department, codes apps, builds strategy or works on new business – we are all tasked with being fresh thinkers.

Our clients hire us to ask the right questions. We feel the pressure to provide answers or at the very least, to know the next right question.  It’s incredibly satisfying when a prospect or client says, “I’ve never been asked that before.”

My podcast guest Larry Robertson, encourages his clients – and us – to sit with questions – to not look for quick and easy answers. But to recognize that the real insight rarely comes from the first layer of questions. The paradox is that in times of frenetic change, having the right answers are more important than having the quick answers. Organizationally speaking, it’s a matter of life and death.

Larry Robertson is an innovation and strategy advisor. He is the author of two award-winning books: A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress, and The Language of Man: Learning to Speak Creativity, honored with a combined 16 awards.

During our conversation, Larry talked about the research he did as he was prepping to write “The Language of Man.” He interviewed recipients of the McArthur “Genius” award to gather their collective wisdom on creativity and staying power in business and life.

Along with being an author, he’s also a columnist for Inc. Magazine and The Creativity Post, and a regular contributor to Fast Company. He also has been featured guest on or in MSNBC, the Chicago Tribune, AdAge, SmartBrief, and in numerous podcasts.

He is a Graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.



What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How to help clients recognize their value proposition
  • The five layers of “why” and how it can be a powerful tool for agency
  • How to answer the “so what?” question about what you do and why it’s important
  • The importance of staying curious and open-minded no matter how long your agency has been around
  • Cultivating the Five Habits of the Mind in your agency and weaving it throughout your discovery process
  • What prospects are looking for when picking an agency
  • The two things you can’t do as you implement the Five Habits of the Mind
  • Your role as an agency during the discovery session
  • Larry’s perspective on change and how it affects your agency and clients
  • The three key things you need to do to expand your agency’s brand lifespan to last longer than 15 years
  • The benefits of implementing “play“ as a habit and how it can help you become a better on-demand creative
  • How to encourage better micro-habits as a leader within your agency

The Golden Nuggets:

“It’s not enough to understand your own big ideas. You’ve got to know how to articulate those ideas and their value to a broader audience.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “The habit of asking questions, just digging deeper into questions is common to all successful entrepreneurs.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “Figure out whether or not you're living a full and honest story. If not, what are those things you didn't expect to see telling you?” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “Once you recognize what's core and you communicate it to everybody and it’s in front of them every day, you then have something to work with.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “You cannot be creative in a crisis unless you're in the habit of being playful and open and curious. Play is a habit that should not be ignored.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “Encouraging the question, ‘what if,’ gives people in your organization permission to explore what might be possible, and even question original assumptions.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet “We say it all the time to our clients, but we often forget that golden rule ourselves - to look at things from the perspective of our clients and see what that tells us.” – @catalyst4HP Click To Tweet


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