Cannes Lions Special: Learning with Cannes: Must-dos for ad agency CEOs of the next generation

Give your people autonomy, believe in the business you're in and don't make numbers your primary responsibility, says Mandeep Malhotra, President, DDB Mudra Group, to ad agency CEOs

e4m by Mandeep Malhotra
Updated: Jun 17, 2014 8:21 AM
Cannes Lions Special: Learning with Cannes: Must-dos for ad agency CEOs of the next generation

Must-dos for CEOs of advertising agencies

Pick the most challenging clients and service them personally. I know a few CEOs who really think they have done it for life. Let’s stand corrected.

Also if you are good at one thing please work on the same client, on verticals you are not good at.
Please give your second line of command a long rope, either they will swing through or hang themselves. Be confident that they may not do well in the first year. Give the second line time. Perhaps, three years should be a good time.

The biggest mistake CEOs make is take numbers as their primary responsibility. That would be an unwise decision. If I were a CEO I would build a system that takes care of itself. And talk about work instead of monies.

Give your people autonomy. Wagon wheel organizations don't grow.

The important learning is that you need to trust your second line (no rocket science in this) but please assert your presence. Of course it’s not policing but be there on important milestones or events. Take time out for your people and especially the clients you are servicing yourself. Become a travelling caravan.

Believe in the business you are in. If you don’t trust the business has potential, become a CEO elsewhere.  
Please be prepared to accept defeats. And never pass the blame to anyone else.

Just make the business grow, don’t get into cost cutting, rightsizing, etc. Be aggressive and competitive, as they are the key ingredients for passion and culture.

There is great wisdom in thinking like a marketer, behaving like an entertainer and acting like a tech start-up (the session that I was most motivated by).
Imagining we could bring Madison Avenue / Hollywood and Silicon Valley in our backyard in Mumbai (Thane or Mumbai), I see loads of success stories being written on this chapter in the near future.


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