Aside from dwarfing everything in its path, Google and Facebook are apparently prime candidates to learn a thing or two from about leadership.
Talking to the chief operating officer at communications agency Edelman Australia, Matthew Gain, he believes we need to look up to what he terms “new businesses”.
“I think agencies need to look at what the very best businesses – places like Facebook, places like Google, places like Amazon that are trying to attract the best and the smartest people – what do they do as business to attract?” he asked.
“In the agency world we need to take guidance from the Facebooks, the Amazons, the Googles of the words.”
For Gain, he sees the businesses understanding not everyone works in the same way.
“To attract leaders, we have to redefine how we operate as businesses,” he said. “Agencies have, to a certain a degree. But I reckon, if, the way that we recruit, the way that we operate today, it hasn’t changed massively since the 90s.
“We need to recognise that the people coming out of uni today are expecting and wanting different things than the people who came out of uni in the 90s.”
Attracting leaders and talent in the industry is a hot topic of late, leading Clemenger boss Andy Pontin to recently point the finger at the declining dollars in the industry for why there’s limited talent coming into the agencies.
Gain however believed it was more an issue of environment. And the Googles, the Facebooks and the Amazons of the world have got the environment and culture factor down pat.
To further open the discussion on leadership in the industry, keeping it, transitioning to it and the like, he will be chairing The Communications Councils new IPA Client Service Course which will run in Sydney and Melbourne next month
The courses, with Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Michael Rebelo and Clemenger BBDO Sydney MD Andrew Holt, cover how to transition from management to a leadership role.
From Gain’s many years in various leadership positions, his biggest lesson is: “Listening, and the importance of making people valued in a one on one environment.”
And if there was one piece of advice he’d give to new leaders in the industry, it’s to be patient, because it doesn’t happen overnight.