Heads up!

BBDO's president and CEO urges the industry to look up and around

When doing business, sometimes I just need to clear my head. So I've taken to walks.

Sometimes these walks are between my BBDO New York office and Grand Central Station, where I catch the train. Other times, I just walk around the block. On weekends, I venture into the woods with my trusty dog Sam, where I get clean air, ideas and often mosquito bites. (Sam is a big black Lab, by the way.)

A few months ago, while taking one of my walks in the woods with Sam, I looked up and spotted the most amazing thing. A great horned owl. Staring right back at me. Talons the size of my hands. Majestic. Watching. Waiting. Actually, the owl was perched facing away from me. But his head was swiveled around. That's one of the reasons I love owls. They can spin their heads completely around and gain another point of view. They literally see everything!

This got me thinking.

Too often, I find myself walking with my head down. And I'm not alone. Many other people do, too. This presents major problems just navigating the sidewalks of a busy New York street. What's worse: it means there's a good chance we're missing what's around us...missing the bigger picture or that alternate point of view.

Now, when I take my walks, I've taken to looking up more often.

Guess what?

It's changed my perspective. Like that owl, I try to see a 360-degree view of the world and our industry, considering more than one side of an issue and inclusive of other points of view. I've found better balance and more inspiration for ideas. And, guess what? I feel better too. More upbeat and optimistic.

It’s helped me see life and business in a whole new way.

John Osborn is President and CEO of BBDO New York.

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