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A Brand Called You

Lesson 17 of 22

Developing Your Methodology

Debbie Millman

A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

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Lesson Info

17. Developing Your Methodology


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1 Class Introduction Duration:12:41
2 Defining Brand Duration:09:34
3 Finding Your Mindset Duration:04:57
5 Busy Is A Decision Duration:02:45
6 Honing your Mindset Duration:07:35
7 Generators vs. Drains Duration:19:39

Lesson Info

Developing Your Methodology

In this particular section, this segment, it's going to be very tactical. This is going to be, how do I actually make this stuff happen? Yeah it's great to know what to do in an interview, but how do I get the interview in the first place? How do I make that happen? And so this hour and a half is going to be very much about how to actually do it. How to go after an opportunity, how to write the letter, how to write the resume, how to write the emails. And how to get in the game to begin with. So, what I want to make perfectly clear about everything I'm going to talk about this afternoon in this session is that it's all about numbers. Numbers, numbers, numbers. I spent several decades working in new business development at different agencies over the course of my career. And it was a very hard job. Being a rain maker. How do you bring opportunities to an agency? How do you get in the game for opportunities? And at the end of the day, one of the things that I liked most about this partic...

ular discipline, working in sales development, business development, was that it was always really clear how well I was doing or not based on the empirical evidence known as numbers. I was bringing in opportunities, the numbers would be good. If I wasn't bringing in opportunities, the numbers would be bad. And so if you are looking to get something, you have to not only put in the actual content effort, but you also have to put in the physical effort. And this is something that a lot of people do not do. They think finding a good job is just that, let's go out and find one lying around. It doesn't work that way. You have to identify what the opportunities can be, and then you have to go after them as if your whole life depended on it, because it does. And it's very much about having numbers support your efforts. It's something you need to do every day, like an athlete who has to work out their muscles, you need to be in a job search working every single day for that opportunity for that job. So, it's going to be a numbers game. And if your numbers don't add up, if you don't hit your numbers, you are not going to be able to be successful at this. It's all about the intensity of the effort. And I know that that's not going to make some people happy, to know that you have to work really really hard to get a job that you really really want, but I believe that if you follow these tactics you will have more of a chance. The odds will be more in your favor, if you have the numbers in your favor. So I want to talk about what successful numbers look like. I love statistics. I love odds. I love knowing what my chances are. And so in order to explain what it really takes to be successful at something and to consider yourself good at something. I look to two of the greats in sports. I love sports analogies because you have a winner and a loser. (Audience laughs) And you kind of know what you need to do to be able to win. Where as, in a job search or in a corporate environment, you don't really know what the rules of the game are, and so you're making it up as you go along which is why I talk about this corporate athleticism. So let's look at two of the greats in sports history. First, let's look at Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is considered one of the greatest basketball players who has ever lived. His shooting percentage, getting the ball in the basket successfully, is 48.2%. So 48.2% success means that 51.8% he was unsuccessful. 51.8% not successful. Greatest basketball player of all time. Now lets talk about Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Babe Ruth's stats were even more impressive, but they still weren't 100%. So Babe Ruth's slugging percentage was .690, that means 69% of the time he was up at bat, he got on base. That means that 31% of the time he didn't. He struck out. He didn't get on base. Why should we think that our stats, if we've never done something before, if we've never actually pursued getting a job using numbers as evidence of our intensity, why should we assume if we try something once or twice and we aren't successful that that is okay to, then give up? We're basically saying that we're going to rely on the same stats that Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth did after an entire career refining their craft. So you have to expect that when you are looking for a job you are going to be more unsuccessful than you are going to be successful. You are going to be more unsuccessful, you are going to hear more noes, thank you are going to hear yeses. Michael Jordan didn't get the ball into the basket more than he didn't, he didn't get the ball in the basket more than he did. Greatest basketball player of all time. Of all time. Was more unsuccessful getting the ball in the basket. So you have to assume you are going to get rejected. You have to assume you are gonna get rejected. And this is what we avoid at all costs. The single biggest reason we don't get the jobs of our dreams, is because we don't even try to get them. And we don't try to get them because we're afraid of being rejected. And then if we are rejected like my wonderful student from undergrad that I talked about this morning we'll die of heartbreak. Well we've already established that you're not going to die of heartbreak, but we haven't established that you're not working hard enough to get the job that you want, if you're not measuring your effort. You much measure your effort. And then you have empirical evidence that what you're doing is mattering. You can't just have a sort of let's throw all the phone numbers up in the air and decide we're going to call Pentagram one day and we're going to call Sagmeister in three weeks if we feel secure about what we're doing and then maybe after that we'll email Jessica Hisch, and after that we'll email Jessica Walsh, and after that we'll email all the other Jessica's like Jessica Healthband and so on and so forth. That's how people do it. It's just some sort of random roll through the annuals. You can't do it that way. You have to make the effort. You have to have a plan that you follow in the same way that somebody training for an Olympic sport would have a plan for their effort. You have to write it down. You have to track your action. You have to really look at what you're doing, what's working, what's not working. Every direct mail effort that goes out by any company ever in all of creation has a success rate. What is the success rate of this particular direct mail piece? Do you know what success means in the direct mail market? Like three percent. Three percent, that's success in that particular market. So you have to know what your stats are. So in my stats when I was doing new business, my stats were, for every effort I made, and there's different levels of effort, for every effort I made about 35% of the time I was successful. After two decades of doing what I did. So I wasn't even near approaching the Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth's stats. After two decades of doing what I did, 35% of the time I was successful when I was going after a piece of new business. But, you have to backtrack, because you're not just thinking and talking about getting into the room and being successful at that interview. You have to go back and back and back and look at all the things that you needed to do to get into the room in the first place. And those all have to be measured as well. And so if you're looking at a 35% close rate every time you have an opportunity for a job, you have to look at well how much do I have to do to get to that place? And if I'm only successful 35% of the time there, how many times do I have to get my at bats? And then how many times do I have to get the letters out, and how many times do I have to make the phone calls. So everything needs to be tracked, and if you're not tracking it you're not taking your job search seriously enough.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

It takes work to get the work you love. It takes knowing how to interview well, how to communicate flawlessly, how to articulate your own purpose and to simultaneously do this while facing tremendous rejection. Debbie Millman is one of the most influential design minds of our time; an author, educator, brand strategist, and founder and host of the acclaimed podcast Design Matters. In her class you'll learn how to:

  • Create a meaningful philosophy that will guide your career
  • Present yourself in meetings and interviews
  • Network and standout from your competition
  • Find discipline in your approach to work
  • Sell yourself with more confidence

Are you spending enough time on looking for, finding and working towards winning a great job? Are you doing everything you can—every single day—to stay in “career shape”? What else should you be doing?

Join Debbie and answer these questions you should be asking yourself...


a Creativelive Student

B R I LLIANNNNNNT !!!! I love the such solid human being that she is and her grandiosity of holding our shoulder and say : go head! Dare to be your best self, own it. Here are some tips .... !!!! Uhuuuuuuuuu!! So inspiring! Thank you so much, Debbie. For couple of days you were my very BEST FRIEND :) Thanks Creative Live!! This is NOT a live "manual" on technical skills. If that is what you are looking for go some steps down and there are plenty of people teaching that, like traditional schools do. You will only learn what is "there" for you to learn if you are open TO HEAR with sincerity. Debbie tells several things that works and that doesn't in professional field besides showing what successful business look for in the people, or partners. Out standing!! I would love to watch another class with her.


I loved this course. Five Stars. I was initially drawn to this course because of the title. I had read Tom Peter's article (with the same name) in Fast Company magazine many years ago, and found it really inspiring. This was before 'brand' was a household word. Anyway, the course is geared more towards designers looking for their dream job than a typical branding course, but as it happens, I am a designer, so it was quite informative. I can also use much of the advice and lessons and apply them to my own business. From contacting potential employers or clients to creative self promotion, there's valuable lesson to be had. I watched and listened to this course in one day, almost straight through. I highly recommend it. Great insight, great advice - whether you're a design student or not. If you're the creative type, I think you'll find this both enlightening and very enjoyable.