What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

Bob Sevier

Bob Sevier

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In “Against the Wind”[1] Bob Seger offers us a line, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

I’ve always been fascinated by that line. With no small measure of chagrin I fully understand what he is saying.

But there’s a flip side to that line as well. There are some things I know now that I wish I knew then.

Let me offer five.

  1. Almost every endeavor of consequence is a people thing. It doesn’t matter how bright you are or how magnificent your vision, you will need engaged people to make things happen. As a corollary, if people don’t understand what you are doing, and why, the likelihood of their following and supporting you are nil. People join causes they understand and are bystanders for those they don’t.
  1. Clear goals always precede tactics. Before you rush to implement, make sure you have a goal in place that validates and provides direction for the activities you wish to undertake.
  1. Follow through is tough, tough, tough. Often unglamorous, often political, often painful, and often taking too long, follow-through is truly what separates those who have cows from those who simply like wearing the hat. We are awash in talkers. The number of doers could fit through the eye of a needle.
  1. It is impossible to focus on more. People, time, and resources are squandered on the altar of more. It is smarter to focus on fewer, more important, things and swarm those things with resources.
  1. Measurement matters. In a time of tight resources, marketers must embrace measurement. The ability to discern what is working and why will turn you from a tactician to a strategist and turn your marketing efforts from a cost to an investment.


[1]“Against the Wind” is a song by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band from the 1980 album Against the Wind. Glenn Frey of the Eagles sang background vocals on this song.

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