Hone your skills in the three "I's" - Insights, Ideas, Inspiration.
Learn what a great insight is and never stop looking for them. Everywhere you go and in everything you do, there are insights waiting to be found. Don't miss an opportunity to spot them. If you're not sure what a great insight is, see this post from Richard Huntington.
Ideas are not the sole property of the creative department. They can come from anywhere. Even you. Learn what makes an idea great and learn how to make one even better. Push them and the people who come up with them to take them as far as they can go until they break. The longer it goes until you break it, the better and bigger the idea is. Love great ideas. They make the world go 'round.
Learn how to inspire everyone you work with, including yourself. Start by figuring out what drives your agency - the clients, account, planning or creative. Which ever one is the driving force for the work you do, figure out how to inspire that one first. They are the key to getting great ideas brought to life.
For your creative teams, figure out what makes them tick and how to get the best work out of them. Feed them all you can of what they need and you'll get better and better work out of them every time. For your account teams and clients, discover what they need to get excited about an idea. Then, partner with the creative team to present the work to them in a way that makes them say, "YES!"
For your planning team or yourself, figure out how to push yourself each and every time. If everyone is looking to you to be the lead, you have to know how to inspire yourself when the challenge itself isn't so inspiring. Not only that, but things will get difficult at times and you'll reach a point that makes you think about giving up. Don't. Dig deep and inspire yourself to find a way to solve the problem you're facing.
Lastly, don't get caught up in a classic planning trap of trying to prove you are the smartest person in the room. It's actually the worst thing you can do. Instead, learn how to make the people responsible for bringing good ideas to life in the world feel like the smartest people in the room. It will go a lot further to getting great ideas off the board and into action and everyone will still recognise the great value you bring to each and every assignment.
Paul Isakson is Director of Strategy & Insights at space150