Caution: Editor at Work

Pair of scissors

David Ogilvy was a Hall of Fame copywriter and founder of Ogilvy-Mather Advertising. He was also a leader of writers.

I don't call him a leader because he founded a business. He doesn't have the title because he was brilliantly competent. I call Ogilvy a leader because he was a stellar editor.

He described himself as a "lousy copywriter" but a "good editor." His self-description sheds light on the importance he applied to editing throughout his life.

Ogilvy taught his team to edit their edits. Many junior copywriters failed to become senior copywriters because they missed opportunities to edit. Ogilvy was known to throw submissions into the trash if the work wasn't edited. 

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I thought about Ogilvy yesterday in a training opportunity. I expanded the thought about the importance of editing into all areas of my life. I want to become a better editor.

I should edit:

  • My thought life. Be quick to cut the stuff that wants to linger. Drive out any thought that reduces spiritual energy.
  • My speaking to colleagues. Find ways to say it shorter and make what's said sufficient.
  • My expectations. If I expect less of my team but still present new possibilities, we will probably achieve greater results in the long run.
  • My speeches or sermons. As a former professor, I was gifted by God with an extra portion of wind. Find ways to say it shorter.
  • My confidence. An edit in confidence makes us more dependent upon the supply of the Holy Spirit. I am confident in the Lord. All else is sinking sand.

And certainly, as leaders we should edit our use of time. Our calendar and to do lists are clear reflections of our priorities. Edits will help us keep our priorities aligned with what God would have us to do today.

If we edit what needs to be edited, perhaps we will have more capacity to love.


"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12:9).


Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

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