DDB has a philosophy of hiring people who are "talented and nice."

And I agree with it.

I've worked at agencies in the past where some people weren't nice, and it's a ball-ache.

The theory at these places goes something like: "All we care about is the work, and if a few people have to swim through mud and broken glass to make the work good, then that's cool."

It's not cool.

In fact, creating a stressful work environment may one day be a criminal offence, just as mining companies today face lawsuits if their staff get poisoned or blown up.

And actually, striving for great work at the expense of niceness often makes the work

worse

, since it makes people angry/bitter/afraid, and good work rarely co-exists with those emotions.

On the other hand, excessive niceness is a major problem.

Nice people who fail to kill ideas because they don't want to hurt the Creatives' feelings are a semi-regular hazard in our industry.

If you are someone who has the power to kill an idea - a list that includes (but is not limited to) CD's, Planning Directors, Agency CEO's, and Clients - please be aware that the No.1 thing Creatives most want to know after presenting work is, quite simply, whether their idea is alive or if it's dead.

And if it is dead, we would rather know straight away, since this gives us time to come up with another one. There's nothing worse than someone trying to be nice, telling you that they'll like it if you make 'just a few tweaks', when in reality they'll never like it, and you waste a week making meaningless changes.

So if I believe that niceness carries a risk of not being able to deliver a clear 'no', how come I still believe in "talented and nice?"

Simple. The really talented people

do

know how to say no - and they know how to do it in a nice way.

And the exceptionally talented ones, in an

inspirational

way.

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