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Opinion and Insight

We Need to Talk About Resolutions, 1 year, 3 months ago

Global creative director Cass Zawadowski on the resolutions we should be making collectively, as an industry

We Need to Talk About Resolutions

Like most, I said goodbye / good riddance / ciao to 2016 and welcomed 2017 with hope and optimism. In fact, I had more than arms wide open. I had an overflowing gift basket, ready for its arrival. 

And typical of the time of year, I took some time to ponder the past twelve months, and look ahead to the next twelve. I’m feeling hopeful, inspired and incredibly creative. More so than usual. Maybe it’s because 7 is my lucky number. Or maybe it’s because this business is one that rewards the optimistic – you truly do get out what you put in. Which is why I thought it might be nice to identify a few things we could collectively ‘put’ into the industry this year.  You know, the (dare I say) resolutions that we can hold ourselves to, so that come December 31, 2017, we can look back knowing we did our absolute best. As creatives. As account teams. As agencies. Production houses, directors, clients. As an industry. 

So, here’s my humble take on a few things we could start with.


I’ve always been a sucker for reflection. Trying to learn from the past, so that I can tweak it moving forward. Don’t let the next time you ‘assess’ be 11 months and three weeks from now. Try doing it quarterly. Check in, see what’s not been working, but also what has. Keep the good, good. And with whatever’s not working – take risks, try new things, mix it up. At ‘four times a year’, you’re actually giving yourself a handful of times to try something new. And who knows where that may lead. Worst case, you tweak it again in a few months.


‘Always be learning’. I’ve not been shy about my opinion here before, and I won’t hold back now. Books, seminars, podcasts, blogs, movies, courses, award shows, travel. There’s always a way to be taking in something new and expanding your horizons. It’s especially great when said horizon is off the coast of Croatia. Travel has been a solid part of me for as long as I can remember. I have learned much about myself, about other people and cultures, about life in general, and I’ve been able to apply all that to my job in some shape or form. 

It could be allowing for a weekly free hour at the agency where staff can use that time to grow. Sabbaticals, or encouraged vacation where employees can enjoy their time outside of the office (guilt-free). Roundtables where staff can gather to share their stories and experiences or even simple articles and findings from the week are a great (and easy) way to embrace learning as a part of the 2017 culture. I’ve always found the best learning is done in the kind of classroom that doesn’t have four walls. 

Do More Good

I count myself pretty lucky to be able to say I do what I do.  This is an industry that has incredible influence. Our skills, our voices have to be used in the most positive of ways.  And I think 2017 is a chance to do more of that. 

I’m not dismissing that budgets are tight, and we all need to get paid. But try and open your arms to a pro-bono client this year, or encourage an existing client to pursue some form of social cause work. It will benefit the brand. And everyone’s spirit. 

Maybe this is the year the social cause categories shine. Heck, maybe award shows can vow to donate some of the funds received for social good entries to needy charities in the communities they serve. Do good. Be good. Support good. I’m good with that. 

It's Cool to be Kind

This is one resolution that never goes out of style. And it’s the one we should all have top of our lists. Let’s vow to sprinkle more kindness to everyone we encounter throughout 2017. That means fellow colleagues, production partners (especially the ones we’ve asked for favours), the secretary, the taxi driver that ushers you to client meetings, said clients – you get the point. I mean everyone. 

Kindness doesn’t mean softness or weakness. Quite the opposite. And I passionately believe that it has a place in the business world. So, let’s be kind – with our words, our actions, our time and our thoughts. 

There you have it. Just a few things that, in my opinion, won’t take much time to focus on, but will help bring more focus into the industry in 2017. Here’s to the new! I hope wherever you go this year, you go with all your heart. And a kickass budget.