You need a roadmap the most when you’re in a hurry.


I woke up in a panic a few Sundays ago. My daughter had a travel soccer game and we’d way overslept. The maps app said it would take 50 minutes but we only had 45.

I reassured myself that those estimates only applied to little old ladies and snow plows. If I was driving, it would only take me 40—maybe less if my wife didn’t get mad at me for speeding.

So, I bum-rushed my 12 year-old daughter and sleepy wife out the door, completely focused on obeying the voice of my map app and getting my daughter to her soccer game on time. I did a fast-and-furious reverse down the driveway and whipped onto the street. In a minute, I was on Main Street and before the app could say “interstate” I was pulling onto the 287 and into the fast lane.

60, 70, and then 80 mph. Things were looking good. No cops. No traffic studies.

We pulled up to the edge of the field with minutes to spare. I felt like a definitive dad-hero. I sat back as all the stress rushed over and out of me. Life was good. My daughter opened the door to jump out…and shrieked.

She had forgotten her cleats.

In our rush to make it to the game on time, we had forgotten the most important thing: a basic equipment check. It would have taken a minute. Instead we flew out of the house without a second to spare.

When we’re in a rush, we often forget the basics…like the creative brief.

It’s ironic to me that confirming, at the very least, these essentials of a brief—key message, objective and support points—is often deemed a waste of time under a tight deadline.

The truth is, taking the time to lay down the purpose and important points of a project at the onset can speed the work immeasurably, and help you avoid misdirection that makes you miss your deadline.

On your next hot, or not so hot, project, don’t be afraid to be the bad guy or gal—the momentary momentum killer—who asks:

  1. What are we trying to do here?
  2. Whom are we talking to?
  3. What do we want them to do?
  4. And what is our simple, single-minded key message?

Write the answers down and remind your team of them often—it will surely save you in the long run.

As for my daughter, she ended up borrowing a mom’s sneakers, so everything worked out okay in the end.

Need a driver for your upcoming ad, website refresh or inbound program? I’m here to help. Just email.