Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ranting Does Not Teach

When I started the Catalyst blog in 2002 I figured this whole blogging thing was going to be a slam dunk. My task, as I saw it at the time, would be to visit law firm web sites, read legal news, and then write bitter diatribes about all of the bad marketing wandering about the industry.

For the most part, that never happened; and I’m glad. It’s way too easy to take pot-shots at the efforts of others and hide behind a veil of ‘expertise’. Do I think some things might be done better or differently? Yes. Am I always right? Yah, in my mind! But that don’t make me the bomb.

I worked for a really good coach and mentor at Brobeck, David Geyer. Now I’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people in my career, but David was a true teacher. When he arrived on the scene I was predisposed to not like him because I thought I was doing pretty good by myself. For a time I would talk with other marketers at the firm and point out all of the things that David was, “definitely doing wrong”. I was an instigator though consensus-building.

Through it all David remained steady and neutral. When I screwed up, instead of telling me all of the things I should’ve done differently, he only focused on what I did that was right, and then offered suggestions for how I could get it even more right. He was steady, mature, and a good marketer to learn from.

So what does that story have to do with blogging? Everything! What I’ve noticed in too many blogs is the sort of shaming and blaming that I had initially thought would be fun and instructive. Well, it’s not. It’s actually rather irritating to have so many people charging about finding ways to point their finger at everyone else. I’ve discovered that I don’t want to be a part of that. I’d like to more like David Geyer.

People and industries grow because there is learning going on. Learning never happens when the lessons we’re given only tell us what’s wrong. We learn because we’re shown new ways of seeing things.

This rant was born of a weekend reading news feeds full of criticism and finger-pointing. I hope that when my posts take on that aura, my readers will quickly put me back on course.