Deciding for a living

By Ernest Falkner III

Zillion Dollar Thinking


Back in 1998, Joey Reiman wrote the book Thinking for a Living. It’s all about how he transitioned from getting paid as an advertising agency to getting paid simply for thinking. Remarkable.

He goes further to state that he generates ideas as a product of thought, and gets paid a million dollars and more for such ideas. His big shift came when he realized that in order to be really creative, he needed the freedom from client restrictions, plans, deadlines, etc. to generate “ideation” [the thought process]. And, clients were willing to pay the price for Brighthouse to generate those valuable thoughts. Their mantra and headline is:

"Money doesn't create ideas. Ideas create money."

Having been in the ad and marketing business most of my life, I was intrigued with this concept and thought process. So, I’m thinking (my own ideation), what if we substituted the word “thinking” (from then) with the word “deciding” (today)?

If we really think about it, our decision process generally precedes our solution (bright idea) process. The reason I bring this up now is becoming more and more obvious. If corporations are willing to shell out millions for the next great idea, what price should they be willing to pay for an equally important and great decision?

Case in point, BP and the oil dilemma, and the documentation of where and when the story began to have cracks. And, what is clear is that the decisions being made at most every level were flawed, misinformed and carried little accountability. So, now look at the price tag for that fiasco…with no end in sight.

Here’s the deal. The decisioning process is increasingly a vital issue. It transcends the idea, the creative, the sales and about any other objective. Question: If BP had it to do all over again, would they have rather paid for a great commercial idea or for sound decisions that would have governed and directed their actions related to this (and other) oil rigs?

Please understand, we are not minimizing the value of commercial ideas (we live by them too). It is just that, increasingly, the failure rate of “decisioning” at the highest levels is becoming an international epidemic costing way more than what is being paid for ideation.

Take Away:
Your clients and prospects could be approached about the importance and methodology of the decisioning process (unthreatening) before any mention of a product or service is promoted. Chances are that your competitors will not have explored this avenue, and your Unique Selling Proposition [USP] could win the day and the case. To strengthen your position, be prepared to show them a case study where the decision process was integral to the outcome of the situation and the value added it presented. Or, when the decision process was ignored…a disaster like BP. Remember that the answer to any sales presentation…is a decision.

“Think about it...and you decide”