C14torce CEO Nicole Taylor (main photo) and industry veteran Claire Salvetti have offered a lesson in leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting the only way through is to talk and connect with those around you to help get through these trying times.
Speaking to Jules Lund on the Marketers in Pyjamas series, Taylor and Salvetti spoke about how we can help one another through the crisis, and what benefits we can reap.
Salvetti said: “The number one thing is to recognise and talk about how you’re feeling, especially as a leader because you’ve got to lead by example.
“The truth of the matter is that people are really uncomfortable at the moment because it’s an unprecedented situation and they’ve never been through it before. But it would be a big mistake to try and find comfort within this environment.
“What you have to do is get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s horrible not knowing what’s going on, but the way you do that is by noticing and being aware of your thoughts and feelings and then trying to manage them.
“Just by knowing what is holding you back helps, and I bet your bottom dollar that anybody in a leadership position is trying to wrestle away the feelings of fear and uncertainty. Nobody can predict the future, especially right now, so you have to get comfortable with knowing that. Talk about how you’re feeling, and then once you’ve worked that out, you can use it to move forwards.
On the silver lining of the pandemic, Taylor said: “Connection without the physical kind of closeness exists. I’ve been amazed at how emotionally we’re connecting as a team, probably more so than we did in the same office. It’s really quite a strange silver lining that’s happening. The sharing, the more personal stories, the kind of cheers, and four o’clock on Friday afternoon happenings. It feels more honest, it feels more authentic too, in a vulnerable moment.
“From a business perspective, we’re transforming so quickly into a more capable way, making it with speed and ideas that are good quality, really quickly. Clients are buying that because they’re looking to creativity to solve their problems. I think the speed in which we’re thinking, making and together with our clients has been a dramatic shift and we won’t go backwards on that. The clients are enjoying it, and we’re enjoying it.
“Some of the ideas I had in my head when I first arrived about how I want to reinvent and re-imagine this agency because that was part of the brief, it’s part of B2B, but it’s not part of B2B. So therefore, there’s a space for me to do something radical and different. This is another moment to reinforce that that’s available to me. There’s a good future and a different future.
“It’s in some ways from an agency perspective, it’s probably going to suit me better because it’s going to feel more fluid and less structured, which are some of the principles that I believe in and it surfaces creatively.
On using the current global situation to harness new, innovative and creative outcomes, Taylor said clients’ appetited for risk has either increased or decreased.
“I’ve got a group of clients that are optimists and want the brave thinking and ideas. The idea of being more confident around what we believe, having a point of view, actually having ideas that you want to defend because you just know how powerful and good they are.
“Unfortunately, we have all been in situations where we don’t have those ideas. We were being fairly pragmatic around it and making stuff that might not count. There’s no worse feeling than doing something that doesn’t matter, so let’s make it count every time.
“I’m not afraid to partner or collaborate with people outside. A lot of agencies want to hold it all within the walls and be brilliant at everything. I don’t believe that’s available to us anymore. If we want to be creatively brilliant, we should be collaborating and partnering to reach those heights. It’s just not realistic that we would have all that amazing talent in our building, capable of solving these problems, that in some ways now are universal, global problems. I want to see how we can really tackle that.
“By using clients you have in your agency as strategic counsel, together we’re solving not just category problems but collective problems and us who are facilitating that. I’ve got a vision of an agency that just thinks more like that in terms of, ‘Who do we bring to the table to genuinely solve the problem?’ as opposed to, ‘we’ve got all the answers’.”
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