4 Brilliant Business Lessons I Learned From MTA’s Subway Ads

I take the train to work every day. When I’m on it, I can’t help but incorporate what I see into my marketing mindset. Here are 4 business lessons I’ve derived from MTA’s “Courtesy & Safety" ads. Like I always say, you can learn from everyone and everything, as long as you’re smart enough to connect the dots...

1. If You See Something, Say Something.

This doesn't only apply to preventing terrorism. If you see something off, odd or peculiar at work, be the first to voice your concern. From an executive's point-of-view it will be seen as follows: “Employee A” noticed “XYZ” and saved the company by avoiding an error. Errors happen all the time, but when you discover and prevent a calamitous event in the making you'll not only save the company from disaster or embarrassment but you'll be catapulted into the record books for your due diligence. Use this slogan to remain vigilant; always on the lookout for pitfalls and irregularities.

2. Courtesy Is Contagious

Being courteous is an investment into your future. Sometimes success takes us places our character can't keep us. By keeping a courteous mindset we are investing into our relationships and our reputation. I love the ad because it reminds me of how important a kind word and a nice gesture could be. If you’re not in it for the good, than at least do it for selfish reasons. Someone once told me it’s better to do something good for the wrong reasons at first, than to never do good at all, because eventually you’ll learn to do it for the right reasons. Remember the corporate urban legend of the guy who took someone’s parking spot and then flipped him the bird? Later it turned out that the same guy he offended was the person interviewing him for a job. Whether the story is true or not is irrelevant, the point is everything is connected. If you’re going to be an ass, it doesn’t matter how talented you are if nobody wants to work with you. Just ask Lindsay Lohan.

3. Be Someone Who Makes It A Better Ride For Everyone

This one really exemplifies the entire article. All you have to do is recall that brilliant but belligerent boss that made you hate coming to work every day. Sometimes we come across people who are exceptional in their expertise but rub people the wrong way with their manners or interactions. So here’s a quick reminder on how to build your reputation and relationships. Be the one who refills the cups in the cooler or brings water bottles to the office. Open doors, hold elevators and be a gentleman or a lady. Be the one who cleans the table after lunch or puts the chairs back into place after the meeting. Be mindful of this and you’ll reap the rewards both professionally and personally. Set yourself apart in the office. Being cooped up in an office 40-60 hours a week is a hell of a ride. Be the one that makes it better for everyone and you’ll soon start to see the advantages come to life.

4. Others Will Thank You

No matter if you’re egocentric or humble, every good deed deserves recognition. During momentary setbacks it’s important to keep in mind that when you achieve your dreams, others will recognize your effort and thank you. Think of the struggles Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison and Jay Leno went through. Did you know Jay Leno was homeless and lived in the garbage dumpster outside a comedy club before getting his big break? When they finally reached their dreams, when their moment came, people thanked them and adored them and not just for their products or talent. People subconsciously thanked them for not giving up, for enlightening us and when you envision people thanking you in the future for not giving up - it will burn a fire within you to burst through your momentary difficulty.

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