Since I was in elementary school, I’ve been a little obsessed with how ideas and thinking fit together. Taking concepts from history and applying math to them. Taking concepts from art and applying it to science. Well, applying concepts from art to everything no doubt. Weirdly, I’ve always compartmentalized my personal and professional lives. Discrete little boxes for each.

Guess what. That’s over. I’m working out of the house and taking work breaks to do art projects with my kids. It’s all connected now. I’m applying lessons from my kids’ homework to my own work, and vice versa. And before any of this started, I got to speak with Jessica Lehmann Ash about how she connects things in her mind. How her work studying music created a model for her thinking and how she applies it today. As strategy lead at Co:Collective, she is still looking for ways to connect what she knows to what she seeks to understand.

We talk about the artist Sol LeWitt, and you can see more here:
https://www.michaelblackwoodproductions.com/project/sol-lewitt-4-decades/
nytimes.com/2007/04/09/arts/design/09lewitt.html
https://massmoca.org/sol-lewitt/

Adam Pierno 0:33
Alright, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. I’m very excited today to talk to our guests about getting things well not wrong but getting them imperfect and being okay with that and figuring out how to make the best of that and and still do what you consider to be a great job even when you know you don’t have all the information you want. Joining me today is strategy lead at Co Collective, Jessica Lehmann Ash. Thank you very much for joining me.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 1:03
Hi, Adam.

Adam Pierno 1:05
It’s great to have you we’re on a little bit of a we have a video patch with a audio through the phone. So we’re we’re experimenting with new school and old school technology.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 1:18
That’s right, looking in perfect.

Adam Pierno 1:21
We’re bringing this we’re bringing this topic to life in our solutions is exactly like we planned. Before we get up and running on our topic, would you like to give people a sense of your background, just tell them a little bit about who you are and what you’ve done.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 1:36
I am a Brit living in New York. I’ve been here for around six years, just over six years, and I came to New York straight from Shanghai where I’d been free air and before that I lived in London for a long time. And that might sound like a circuitous and very international story. actually grew up in Cambridge, UK, which isn’t a million miles from London. It’s just down the road and then in an American sense Then went and studied music at King’s College London, and majored in composition. So I was writing kind of modern classical music. And I was thinking a lot about opera and the drama and Opera like growing up doing a lot of theater, and singing and musical theater and that kind of stuff being on stage a lot. And then, and then I finished my music degree and I thought that I wanted to be in the Creative Arts in some way, shape, or form. I was really inspired by art education, and I went and did a master’s in performance studies at Rada going with kings, it doesn’t exist anymore in the same format, but it was a really amazing study course because it revolved around really getting to the nitty gritty of what what makes it the theory behind theatre and drama and an acting and voice and things. And I came to the end of that and was, you know, sort of, okay, where do I take this next and have dreams of being an opera director and wanted to find a route through And wasn’t really sure on what that route would be, but instead decided, all right, well, I’ll get a grounding in teaching. And I actually went and did teach fast, which is it’s a bit like Teach for America, I’d say less politically contentious in the UK. But I was teaching music for two years and a high school, senior school high school in in London. And it was was pretty challenging. I would say that it was probably the most challenging, challenging job I’ve ever had, and ever will have. Because teenagers are usually more difficult than clients. And I did have a Ts and then I went on from that, and I did a number of bits of work as a creative partnership coordinator. So I would work with schools, and I’ve helped them identify ways in which they needed to change and I would bring in creative practitioners to them devise special projects in order to help meet that needs to change so maybe it was a school in them hollow that needed a lot of work on literacy in their 11 and 12 year olds, and how could we work with a filmmaker to actually help the children become better with literacy and engaging parents in the process as well. And that’s where I really tracked my history of being interested in strategy back to because, in a sense, I was being a being an artistic strategist that was helping schools with a strategy, how they could leverage creative partners, and actually answer a problem that they were encountering. And then I did that for a while. And then I ended up having a bit of a career change, where I realized that I was on the track of something I wanted to be able to do, which was use the two different sides of my brain, you know, the Left, left side and the right side, I really enjoyed the analytical elements of what I did, understanding problems and helping to solve them, but really also enjoyed being really creative within that context. And then saw this opportunity to actually use the skills in a different way in a more commercial environment and ended up applying for the WP p fellowship, which I really never thought that I would get a place on because it’s pretty competitive and ended up with a place off the three rounds of interviews. And that autumn that fall, I went to writing Kelly in London. I did a year there as a client services person and then went to Shanghai and Webster Ogilvy is the digital strategist when was really was the show was already moving in China, but it was at the the nothing stays as we chat. So it’s pretty exciting. I’m going to look back on it now. I think it’s fascinating to look at how far that ecosystem has come, how many, how many eons ahead, they are and then I came to New York. And I was for a year at the feature company which is part of Temple originally, and then went into brand strategy. And that has really been where I have found my home and developed my niche and a number of years of brand union came to the union and then went on to finish now find myself at Co Collective, doing a lot of the work that I really love, which is helping clients to solve really challenging at business problems. And working with a lot of inspiring people to be able to do that.

Adam Pierno 6:09
How do you so use? We’re going to go way back to your music composition, focus, because just hearing you just hearing the narrative, I can connect music composition, not specifically opera but but if I remember you play the piano, that kind of composition background of knowing I’m here, and I need to get the person listening to this to feel this way by the end of this movement or, or peace. How do you relate? musical composition to strategy brand strategy or not at all and I’m an idiot.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 6:46
And that’s a very interesting question that I’ve never been asked before. It’s more general around music and how has that helped you in your career, but it’s funny, you know, when you’re composing, you are both trying to feel The right way to set the notes that you want to put on the page that you want to bring to life that you want to that you know, are going to create the feeling. You want people to feel when they share it or, you know, create the scene that you’re trying to paint. But you’re also using a kind of scientific process as well, right? It’s an art and the science, you are not. You’re not just throwing things down and seeing what sticks. And when you do that, you will end up with a very good product. You end up with a good product, when you’re thinking logically about the number of the different instruments is going to be the am I writing for my writings of a wind quintet or my writings of piano and violin? How did they sound together which octaves and ranges so you’re being very specific about what you’re using, why you’re using those, but then you’re also using your gut and your intuition and your instincts to feel into how those how that music should should come to life and what it’s going to express When I think about that, in the context of strategy, I think that hugely says there is something that ties those things together web. You know, on the one hand, you’re looking for the right tools in your toolbox. Like you were talking, you mentioned toolbox earlier, you’re looking for the right inputs that you need to use, whether that’s pieces of data or insights around the landscape in which your clients brand exists, or consumer insight about how people are living or using different products right now. They’re looking for what that can tell you. And that’s the more kind of scientific piece of it and then you’ll also sometimes going with gut and feel to how you bring those things together to build a coherent strategy that is compelling and inspiring. And when you’re then building a narrative, perhaps the old sick feeling into that in a way that telling a story to evoke a feeling in a room. So I think there are similarities

Adam Pierno 8:52
and how does the How does the role of composition play into the idea idea of imperfection because I could see it as because it’s there’s not a verbal component always to musical composition. There’s not there’s going to be gaps. A lot of it is I mean, I feel this way I’m intending for you to feel that way. And we have to find, we have to say, okay, that’s, that’s close enough or that or that says, as much communication as we can get across to one another using this medium.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 9:27
Right. Yeah, that’s an interesting way of thinking about intersection and competition. That’s right. I think, you know, one way I would, I would talk about it and how sometimes you would compose, you could compose something and you when you’re playing it through on the piano, even if it’s for a few different instruments, or you’re hearing it in your head, you would think that we should see the crescendo and it should get really loud right here. And then, you know, somebody’s gonna get really quiet just afterwards, and then when it actually gets brought to life by the musicians, they might have piece of content. Once or twice, and foremost, sorry, I had pieces performed a few times. And I remember one particular occasion where I specifically written it to have this quite intense dynamic difference at this one point and the violinist, the pianist, just completely reversed it. And it sounded great. It made me think that, you know, what I had intended wasn’t actually how the music was going to sound. So I in that moment, didn’t even know best about how the music should be put out into the world. So sometimes you need that you need someone else to take a look at what you’re doing. And to maybe in this case, perform it or to read it or discuss it with you then identify why you could make changes and make it better.

Adam Pierno 10:41
Yeah, I mean, sometimes you tell someone a story, that you don’t intend to be funny. But they start cracking up and it’s sometimes those discoveries are like, Oh, yeah, I didn’t even think about how ridiculous that whole thing is. That’s a great result is is getting a different emotion than sometimes the one you intended. sometimes not.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 11:03
Now you’re making me think about another, another relationship within strategy. And it’s me and music. And we’re talking about here and maybe it’s less about imperfection. But you could say that’s an element of it that so once I really love solo at the artist, and the way that he talks about is are you familiar with Sol LeWitt? He is a he was a modern artist, and his art is all around providing a sort of mathematical instruction that you would then go and bring to life on a wall and it’s very architectural and very geometrically driven, okay, all around line that in the length and impact. And the way that he would talk about it is that he was like a composer. And he was then giving it to a conductor in an orchestra to go and bring to life that he didn’t he no longer has full control over it. And you know, that Reminds me of the same experience I had where I compose something I’m going to go for it to life, it became more than even I didn’t visit visits to as, and the same relationship between strategists and creatives, when you are trying to work together to bring an idea to life, and your idea is augmented and maybe even bigger and more powerful by maybe the creative brains of creative partners. And so I think that the similarities to that the now I always expect it, I want it, you know, we develop a strategy and then I want them to come back and surprise me. But I want them to surprise me in a very particular way where I’m like, I hope they surprised me like this and not like that.

Adam Pierno 12:45
Yeah, or I don’t know how I wanted to be surprised until I’m surprised in a way that I didn’t want to be. And I’m like, That’s not what I meant. But I didn’t say what I met so I didn’t so I didn’t get the idea across as clearly as I needed to

Jessica Lehmann Ash 13:00
Oh yeah, what’s your important?

Adam Pierno 13:02
It sounds like they might be Yeah, I’m learning this. So you what you and I were talking earlier about? The reason we’re talking about imperfection is part of it is understanding, well, I’m putting words in your mouth, but part of what I am interpreting is understanding and turning limitations into not necessarily an advantage but into a tool.

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Jessica Lehmann Ash 13:29
Yeah, I think so we experienced limitation or challenge or struggle within all kinds of components of our lives and, you know, often within when we talk in a strategic context, I’d say what up against a few things like timing, a time, a timeline. So when do we need to create this pie or resource? How many people do we have to work on this or toolkit available, we have the right data, data analytics tools or ability to look in the right places or Do we have the right information from our clients? And often we are challenged in one or more of those ways. And we’re trying to find the right way to get creative around finding the solution. And I think often when faced with a big Herculean task of answering a client brief or a problem or solving in a solving a question that’s been put in front of us, the temptation is to not the temptation is to worry about what we don’t have, rather than to think about what we do have and the thunder all the different kinds of the cob on it, to see what we can find under that. So, you know, places for ways that we can do that, looking back at old or different kinds of projects that we did to see what full things there and what we can learn from it, talking to peers or other people in our networks, whether that’s other people who might use the product we’re working on or have experience for the brand with creating a brand strategy full or co authored two books on similar projects and asked them, you know, what, what is it that they’ve used when they’re in a pinch? And how can we how can we make use of that? And how can we make it helpful to us? And then when it was a timeline, I always try to think of is, what is the most important question that we have to ask for our clients, for our clients right now. And what is going to what is going to actually get us to the to the best on so that we can get to within that timeline or within this within this, the context of this particular off? And by honing in on those things? It makes it sound easier than it is maybe but I think by honing in on those things, and trying to avoid the other noise that says, we haven’t done enough, we haven’t questioned enough. You can sometimes find yourself being more single minded. And I think this is all easier said than done. Because I think it’s far too easy to then get caught up in the questions of why or how or did I look far enough. Maybe that’s where the intersection piece ties into Even more, which is being comfortable with the effort and the kindness and what I’m what I’m saying is making

Adam Pierno 16:10
a lot of sense to me right at this moment. It’s just hitting me right at this moment.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 16:15
Okay, so So I think the interception thing is that we often with toiling away and with questioning over and over again, have we pushed this far enough, and have we done enough work to actually make this valuable? Whereas Yeah, getting comfortable with the imperfection and practicing other ways in our lives have seen feeling that we’re in the mess and feeling that we are okay with things aren’t completely done or finished or right is a really good way of kind of harnessing that kind of thing, that skill and getting better at it because it’s never going to be one right on stuff. one right way of doing everything. Right. We have to move forward with something that we’ve gotten us far as we can, and the information that got us there, so that the next group of people can look at the idea and the information that we have to support it and say,

Adam Pierno 17:10
Okay, I see where you’re going. And I agree. I disagree. I can build on it. I’m not sure I get it yet.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 17:20
Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 17:23
But you It sounds like you nourish this idea in your life. This this idea of the imperfection through, like you, you play into this pretty heavily outside of the office.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 17:35
Yeah, it’s something that I think it’s something that’s happened almost haphazardly over the years and then that I do try and nourish and it is taught. This is a self improvement. It comes from a desire for self improvement and to understand myself Essa and to know how I work and how I think and how I feel about my life in a in more depth and richness. Nicholas is coming Part of practice that cultivates an ability to be okay with imperfection and not get so anxious about things not being perfect, but about the project process or a deliverable, or you know, something else I’ve done in my life. So yeah, I think it I think it started with the true maybe practice that I took off in my adult years. And then I wish that I’d known more of this when I was younger and practicing away on the piano and, and the flute and all the other things I did when I was in China, I started doing a lot of yoga, and the way that you talk about yoga as a yoga practice, it’s not something which is ever perfect. And the more you practice yoga, the more you learn, that To try and be perfect is to fly in the face of what the practice is about, which is about being where you’re where your mind and your body are in that moment. And so the more I embrace that, the more I found more equanimity in my own self. inability to accept myself and how I was minute to minute day today where I was rather than expecting myself to show up differently or to be different. And also, you know, I think he learned to forgive yourself when, when you are less than perfect in the way that you show up in your life. Because you you’re becoming more used to this kind of relationship with yourself and your body and your mind. And it’s shifting all the time. It’s shifting, every time you get on your mat, and you feel that shift, and then you can’t do the things yesterday that you do. You did tomorrow, okay? So it teaches you patience with yourself. But it also teaches you that to be in the practice and in the work is much more valuable than to always be striving for a particular goal.

Adam Pierno 19:43
Oh, that’s Yeah, so that’s, this is why I’ve never done yoga with this, but this is why I don’t I didn’t mean this is why I haven’t done yoga. I have never done yoga. But this is that rationale you just presented as why I never did things like golf. Like I don’t want to be the guy In my 40s, that’s learning to do that with people that already are pretty good at it. And kind of always be in the one that’s, that’s off. But it takes a certain kind of comfort to say, I’m going to be off. And tomorrow, maybe I’ll do better, or maybe I won’t. But what can I? What thing will I take away from this? Yeah, makes you know, the experience more enjoyable or that sticks in my brain in a certain way? That sounds like you’re getting.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 20:29
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. But I think Yoga is actually a really good example. Because you often talk to people about it. They say, Oh, I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible. And it’s such a cliche, and I really, like it’s such a cliche to say no, it’s not about being flexible. It’s about being where you are. And then over time, maybe flexibility will happen. But it’s challenging, especially as adults to go into something where we don’t have full control over what’s dying to happen. We don’t know how to get to the outcome that we want to get to. And to say, I’m going to enter instance into this with a mindset playfulness or exploration or kindness, kindness to myself, right, which is something that I learned about. I don’t always achieve it. But it’s something I’ve learned a lot about through a mindfulness practice and post that I did. So that’s another area that I’ve explored in that it’s, it takes a lot of courage to go there. And in adulthood, I think we feel often like we have to have all the answers, you know, in our work in our work and in our day to day as managers of other people, as people who have bosses, it’s quite anxiety provoking to feel like you don’t. And it can just take a moment from the time where you can reflect or recall other moments or other areas of your life where you’re able to feel like it’s okay. I don’t need to have all the answers myself. That is who we are. I’m right now and I can ask the hell or I can walk on this, scale it to develop. Yeah. And that can come from some of these other areas where you start to develop a more playful or explore that mindset.

Adam Pierno 22:14
Are you still taking on hobbies and things to test this?

Jessica Lehmann Ash 22:19
Yeah, so there’s been a number of different been 100 different hobbies that I’ve evolved that I’ve evolved through over the years. And I think one of the things that I’ve definitely learned about myself is that I’m actually quite happy, having multiple hobbies that I’ll explore and not all he’s getting to mastery in any one of them. Although there are a couple, I guess, that I like to think of a mighty ones. But yeah, he’s a lot over the last almost 2020 years. And that’s one where I, it’s probably my favorite thing to do in the world because of the feeling of freedom. I get a lot of joy from a sense of somewhat, some mastery of it. And that’s it. And a lot of hours of practice and input and also the feeling of building building on different types of different types of learning in order to get that cooking one where I, you know, I love to learn new skills, I love to take lessons still, sometimes I love to explore new terrain. But I’m probably more of a master of it than my other one. So I don’t have a piano in New York, and, or chemically, never kind of forgot to cut the ukulele because I wanted to be able to sing and play. And that was a really interesting experience for me because I hit I’ve never played a string instruments, any solo played a guitar, so a lot of

You just read this whole thing? Hmm. If you’ve got time on your hands, you might like Specific or Under Think It.

Adam Pierno 23:41
different it’s a lot different set of muscle memory.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 23:45
Very different to a piano, you know, even the way that you think about chords, a quote, Scotland’s just totally different the way your fingers like, this ukulele is a gift from my mom and then and it was it was great. You know, I could learn what it I was interesting, I could very quickly learn to play a few tunes and going from there to, you know, 1010 to 100 was much hotter. So my little brother actually is quite a talented guitarist and plays multiple other instruments. And he kept saying to me, you have to practice slowly. It’s a practice slowly and rhythmically take that take the strumming a lot slower. They rush it it, you know, all these things that we used to be told when we were children playing instruments. Like you’re right.

Adam Pierno 24:28
You don’t want to hear it. Yeah, now you’re like, shut up. That’s what we that’s what we expect. Oh, right. We expect even if I translate that to a new software tool, or a new, you know, new research platform that we get access to, we expect to be able to sit down and find what we want right away. Versus I’m going to play. I’m just going to set up a fake search and just mess around with it for three months and just see what I figure out how to do. And that’s usually when you go Oh, I look at this. I can do this. This kind of graphic, versus if you log in for the first time and have a deliverable, you have your report that’s due, then you’re you’re in deep trouble.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 25:10
Thank you, Alyssa, you know that I totally relate to that feeling. And I think it’s something that over time I’ve done quite a bit of that, which is the expectation of being able to do things easily because perhaps that’s what happened when we were younger. When we were kids, we picked things up easily. And the truth is, especially as strategists, often you are confronted with other tools, new tools, methodologies, new questions you’ll having to ask in the research and finding the right way of doing that, that you’ll look at something and say, I have absolutely no idea how to wade through this right now or approach it and it takes a lot of courage again, right. more courageous thing to do is to step back and admit that you don’t know exactly how to do it right now and then to explore. Okay, so what would we know what we’re not know? Who do I need to ask? And how can I be really thoughtful about this and I think that’s definitely an evolution that I’ve, I’ve experienced and gone through over time as in multiple different jobs. They went to went to fish from brunch union, which became super union and fish I was brought on to the brand structure to the pull through that thinking into retail strategy, retail and innovation and experience. never worked on a retail. I’ve never done a project where we were actually doing the strategy to create and bring to life the store before. And it’s a really different it’s a really different type of strategies you’re doing, the way that you’re right. That’s the much that the satiric in some ways and much more tangible because the way that 3d designers need to work is they need to, they need to latch on to particular kinds of language and concept that is very specific in some ways, right? You’re actually talking came through an experience that someone might have in a space. And so you’re not being esoteric in the way that you could start to be in a in a territory that you are, you’re putting out that discussing someone. And you have I mean, I certainly had to be very humble about learning how to do that and seeing a lot of questions from the designers of Well, what do you actually need? And what will actually make it work for you from a using languages different ways? And how, how can we actually work together to make it what it means to be?

Adam Pierno 27:31
Now sometimes the question what would be valuable here is almost never what would be valuable the time before? Sometimes as a very useful question, what’s the what’s the most valuable piece of information I can track down in this situation that I’m in right at this moment, so a new a new challenge like that. It’s nice to have people you can ask what would make their job easier, but I suspect they have new and they have to You know, it’s like this, they thought they had no idea what would be useful, but they didn’t know 100% all the way. So they helped get you there, but not prescriptive.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 28:12
Right. Yeah. And I mean that. And that’s the beauty of a good collaboration, right? That you’re getting each other there in different ways by trying to fill the gap, where the other one is, where the other ones moving to, and then you’re coming to meet them, right. That’s definitely how I’ve experienced some of the partnerships that I’ve had in work situation.

Adam Pierno 28:32
It’s the same with research when we when we partner with those people that are experts in quantum, they have a totally different mindset and they know how to get to the thing you want, but they’ve oftentimes struggle with the concept that leads to the question to the answer. You have to really walk them through like I need to prove this, but this is what this is the general theory I’m trying to solve for and that that First step is the hard one for them. And then once they have that, it’s all dominoes.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 29:06
Right? Yeah, they once they know what you’re trying to actually find they’re able to slot all the different pieces together. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 29:14
Right, then it just becomes like their programming that that geometric art that you talked about earlier. What new hobbies do you have on the horizon?

Jessica Lehmann Ash 29:24
So, hobby I’ve been doing most recently, which I think was the one I started to tell you about. When we first started chatting with ceramics. Oh, yeah. And the ceramic is a great hobbies, anyone who wants to explore this idea of perfectionism and embracing it in your life, and it’s actually came up in conversation with another brand strategist that I know who is a very, I think pretty talented promises and very committed. And then I’ve done quite a bit of ceramics as a teen mainly hand building and I like to find out Sounds like recently from my teacher in New York. She was like, Yeah, all the coaching stuff. You don’t really need to do that. I don’t know why she was making you lead for an hour every week and I was like, Oh, we will way with a 1415 year old girl but an old house cool. So she’s probably just trying.

scene I did a ton of did a ton of time building and then really enjoyed it and for a long time, had this kind of yearning to get back to it and then found out about a class and started in the fall. And I’ve been learning how to throw on the wheel. And that is truly confronting because you see all these beautiful ceramics that’s very Instagram thing these days, these people having beautiful ceramics in the home and lovely places. All right, so that’s sort of patient reality. And the first time you get on the wheel and like and hit it so what you’ll do is, you know, not be able to send to your play, and you’ll push it to pieces and it will just see and I fell asleep. Lot of pleasure through exploring this feeling of just playing, you know, knowing that I wasn’t going to be perfect. They say that you have to do I think it’s between 50 to 100 to throw 50 to 100 objects in order to even get to something that might be vaguely vaguely as the word even the sorry. Bounce Yeah. Yeah, just even the what is it call this is really gonna drive me nuts. Sorry about that easy to edit. They say you have to throw about 50 to 100 objects before you would actually get an evenness through all the size of what you’re making. So it’s about you know what you would actually have even contours. And actually, they all say that once you’ve once you’ve thrown out many, what you really need to do is to start cutting everything in half to see how even it is. So, imperfection is baked into the process of love. wanting to be a good pasta. And then I found myself. You know, as a strategist we are a lot of the time, you know spending a lot of time thinking, and with ideas and concepts and analysis, and we’re trying to make sense of maybe multiple different conflicting, conflicting elements of a tricky problem. And so going to do ceramics on a Wednesday night for three hours, has become somewhat of a refuge, where I could go and be absolutely exhausted, I myself ignited by using this different side of my brain, but it’s all about feel and touch. And again, you can’t rush it, you have these very, sort of, you have to really feel into the clay and not rush the process and not push too hard because then you’re going to, you know, push the Titan with it be even patient with all the different elements of the process. So from throwing it, and getting comfortable with that and, you know, getting the right shapes that you desire, and then firing it and then glazing glazing it’s a whole other level of challenge isn’t go totally sideways. Oh, so sideways because you can’t see when you’re glazing you can’t actually see what you’re taking on, right? This is kind of throwing out there and again, learning learning from each different one, each try that you have

Adam Pierno 33:18
your you’re referencing time. And you’re you’re three hours of time. And that’s the amount of at bats it takes to get to improve. And I wonder in agency world, because we think about time a lot differently. We think of time as a constraint versus a luxury almost always does it? How has that changed how you approach time management at work? And I say at work, but I know work spans all kinds of boundaries.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 33:51
Yeah, that’s a that’s a very interesting question. I think over the years, something I’ve learned about myself and no What we do we learn, we learn, and then we try and we try and evolve, right? So sorry, I’m going to come this up nice to hear me. Yeah. I just I turned my computer off that way. So I thought that again, as I’ve grown and learned about myself over the years, I’ve definitely started to see that I would find time management challenging if I didn’t give myself kind constraints around what I needed to try and achieve. And then everyone’s different on this. Some people want to do the full, get things done, be super rigorous and meticulous. But coming into my inbox, and what’s my next action, and I tried that, and I found that it was quite constraining, and didn’t really work with the way that my brain likes to. But on the other hand, if I start my day with an idea of so today will be a good day if I done these five things and started these two talks and to me into this kind of It puts me in a situation of being in communion with what’s on my plate, and making it feel like a great achievement. It’s like that that rather than oh my gosh, I’m really bad in my time. And I think the other thing about time and agency world is that we do often often think about a deliverable, rather than the problem that we’re trying to solve. And we think, Oh, my gosh, what if I have a presentation next week, I have to stop making it that I have to stop making these slides, I have to stop putting the titles on a slide, rather than actually taking the time to sit back and say, let me noodle around with these different thoughts and ideas and actually work on answering the question and the problem that we need to solve. And that’s actually something that my boss at code Neil is really big on and I really enjoyed that. He that he is a champion of topics. I think it’s already making me to me think even even more differently about what what time means in an agency setting and in our jobs where we’re trying to grow Trying to do the most with what we thought often under the pressure of having multiple meetings in a day and trying to find the pockets of time. Right, that we can actually do work.

Adam Pierno 36:09
Yeah, that’s a quiet time to focus. Yeah, I’m going to ask one more question. And then I’m going to let you get back to your to your day, which is hopefully coming to an end. When you practice scales, are you the kind of person that plays scales at an even pace repeatedly or to use pace and as you go and get faster and faster until you break the scale?

Jessica Lehmann Ash 36:33
Well, I need to be honest, I haven’t played a scale in a long time. Probably should have. When I was younger, I was probably a bit of the lassa that I wouldn’t like to keep a pace and I probably fought with my mom about practicing. But I did learn I think, as I got older, I went to university and I had a pretty strict Russian China teacher and she did drill me on scales and exercises and things and made me be very meticulous about it? And itwas always helpful.

Adam Pierno 37:07
There was a metronome involved if she was Russian, I’m sure.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 37:11
That wasn’t that was all. And there was there was other techniques as well. Like when you practice the piece, you had to know the thing is like, imagine you’re going through a deck, right? And you’re reviewing the desk, and you always go from the front. And it’s a long back. And so you’re always reviewing the front of the desk and you’re never getting to the back of the deck or one time by the time you get to the same with music. So if you’re learning something, if you always start from the beginning and not giving attention to the back, so I’d have to practice it the last bar and the last two bars and the last three.

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All the way to the front.

Adam Pierno 37:41
Yeah, but then yeah, mastered everything at the back. That’s awesome.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 37:45
Yeah, something that played me reap the reward.

Adam Pierno 37:48
That’s fantastic. Well, Jessica, this was this was great time. well spent. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Jessica Lehmann Ash 37:57
Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to speak to you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai