Lessons from an ad man

I have Steve Boese’s blog post delivered every week and he makes some great comments about talent management, and here he talks about that well-known leader of the North American advertising agency, David Ogilvy, and what fourteen years of running his ad agency taught Ogilvy about what ….the ‘top man’ in the organization should consider his primary responsibility:
[Ogilvy said] ‘After fourteen years of it, I have come to the conclusion that the top man has one principle responsibility: to provide an atmosphere where creative mavericks can do useful work.’

Steve comments:

‘Like much of the insights in ‘Confessions’, Ogilvy doesn’t really knock you out with how incredibly profound or ground-breaking his thinking on management was. But if you pause to consider that he was postulating about this idea of management as an enabler of creative accomplishment back in the early 60s then the observation seems a bit more meaningful.

Face it, 50 years later it is pretty easy to find any number of management and leadership gurus and though leaders advising the very same thing. Find the best, most creative and talented minds. Carefully construct an atmosphere where they can and will be motivated to work on what drives them. And finally, be brave and smart enough to stay (enough) out of their way.

A simple recipe for success, no?

Ogilvy had it figured out in 1960. How long do you think it will take the rest of us to catch on?’
..obviously, creatives are the main talent pool in the advertising industry but it’s a good point to reflect on for other industries.


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