Jay Acunzo is a multi-awarded podcaster who is an expert on moving away from conventional thinking to accelerate the growth of companies and careers. He is an excellent keynote speaker and a seasoned digital content marketer.
Jay was tasked with heading content for numerous startup companies including HubSpot. He also worked for Google as a digital media strategist, perhaps his most impressive career endeavor.
Harvard Business School has cited Jay’s work, as well as writers from the New York Times and Washington Post.
Today, Jay is the host and producer of multiple web series that focus on the meaning people find in their work. He has built editorial strategies for startups and produced awe-inspiring shows about the importance of intuition at work.
His mission is to help you own and trust your intuition that leads to exceptional work. Jay has traveled the globe speaking to organizations of all sizes about the dangers of best practices.
What Are Best Practices and Do They Work?
“I think great work happens when you try to find your answers from within your own context, right? Your own self-awareness, the awareness of your team—what you understand about your customers, and the limited resources you have and the goals you have. Everything about your context holds clues for you to do better work.”
He explains that we often search outside of our own intuition for the answers. Searching for answers using websites such as Google has become far too common and is dangerous to our career growth.
Best practice can be viewed as a faulty equation that does not match your specific situation. These practices are meant to make your work easier but, most of the time, we are left with undesired results since best practices are ever-changing
These practices do not work for everyone because they are missing key variables. These variables are your customers, yourself, and your resources. The three most important variables when attempting to turn a confusing situation into a clear solution.
Best practices are a good guide, but they will not help in the growth of your career. They are estimates or approximations that lead to average work.
It is not a farfetched idea that people actually aspire to be a top-performing worker. We use best practices as if they are law and expect that they will deliver us the best results. However, in many cases, they rarely meet our expectations.
Jay implores those who are looking to further their career to not follow best practices but, instead, follow your own intuition and decision-making.
Does Following Trends Help Further Your Career?
If you are following what is most common or popular, that does not guarantee that you are going to get the result you intended, or even make an impact. Following common trends has its own transparent flaws. Just because something works for another person does not mean it will work for you.
Jay believes that everyone wants to follow the newest trends because they think it will be the most beneficial for their career. This biased view of following what is trendy and exciting usually leads to unimpressive or average work.
“The switch we have to make, and I think this is the difference between having an average career and an exceptional one, is we have to stop obsessing over everyone else’s answers and start asking ourselves the right questions.”
We all aspire to be better, yet we follow guidelines and trends that lead to sub-par work. The absolute best practices do not help because it sets a limit of our potential. Following trends create a biased way of thinking, again limiting our potential career growth.
To become better and to do better work, we must look for better. We do so by using practices that work for ourselves in our own unique situations—helping us become better workers.
Do Creative Team Practices Work?
Jay mentions that teams which take part in creative practices can lead to more productive work. However, it is dependent on the team. If a team were to put a piece of content on a board and each team member helps one another deconstruct it, they can come up with ideas that lead to a solution. Another team could take part in the same activity, leading them to an unimpressive and unproductive idea.
“So, I think the question I want people to answer isn't How do I be creative or what do teams do to unlock more creativity? The question I want to answer is: Of all the tactics to be creative, what's the one thing that will work for you?”
Like the individual worker, Jay believes team practices are dependent on the team itself as well as the situation.
Key Takeaways on Making a Better Career
If you are happy with the way you work, feel accomplished or fulfilled—then there is really no reason to change what makes you successful.
Jay believes if you think you are doing your best possible work and your career is at its peak, then you should not worry about learning how to follow your intuition at work.
But, how often are people completely fulfilled with their work to the point where they do not need to be a least a little better?
For most people, following your own intuition at work and being less dependent on best practices, will lead to a better and more fruitful career.
Get more about business and career advice by following Jay Acunzo (@jayacunzo) on Twitter.
About Jay Acunzo
Jay is the founder of Unthinkable Media, which works with fast-growing startups and challenger brands to create entertaining B2B shows. In a world where “storyteller” has become a buzzword, Jay actually understands how to tell great stories -- stories that entertain, surprise, teach, and above all, push people beyond conventional thinking so they can do their best work. His book, Break the Wheel, inspires others to do exactly that.