Monday, September 26, 2022

Mad Men (III)


More Leadership tips from the Golden Age of Advertising.


4)  Make Magic

  1. Always fight for great ideas.
  2. Pull rabbits out of the hat.
  3. Don’t give them what they want, give them what they never thought possible.
  4. Treat every advertisement as your own – mentally substitute your name in the key number – still proud of it?
  5. Aim to have as many creative people as you have account people, maybe more.
  6. Make your Creative Director your equal partner.
  7. Push the limits; just because something can’t be proved to work, doesn’t mean it won’t.
  8. Trust your instincts.
  9. Avoid the mundane.
  10. Build a legacy of dreams made real. 


5)  Create PIC’s – Permanently Infatuated Clients

  1. Choose clients carefully.  Make sure the relationship will be mutually beneficial.
  2. Never leave a client unsure of the impact of the agency’s work.
  3. Remember there’s nothing like a great idea to make a great client.
  4. Keep the initiative, build the momentum.
  5. Work with clients who are equally passionate.
  6. Never assume a new client on the team has ‘bought into’ the programme.
  7. You can’t do great work for a client you don’t have.
  8. Make clients want to come to the agency.
  9. Put yourself in your client’s shoes.
  10. The best new business is business you already have.


6)  Think Big – Big Ideas Lead To Big Results

  1. Always look for the big idea.
  2. Invest in ideas and insights.
  3. Put your faith in imagination – nurture it, believe in it and resource it.
  4. Great ideas come from anywhere.
  5. Look for long-term solutions.
  6. Embrace change, champion it.
  7. Show your respect for consumers by rewarding them with big ideas.
  8. No great idea is too hard to pull off.
  9. Don’t settle for a partial solution – go all the way.
  10. Search for transformational ideas.



Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mad Men (II)

Ten Top Tips – actually 100 split into 10 groups of 10.  (Who said leading an Agency team was easy?  Simple yes.  Easy no.)


And still relevant in today’s crazy world.


1)    Take Charge and Do What’s Right

  1. Don’t manage, coach.
  2. Aim for peak performance every day.
  3. Be a realistic optimist.
  4. Work harder than you expect from others.
  5. Make ideas – don’t just talk about them.
  6. Don’t say “but”.
  7. Make decisions quickly.
  8. Clear the way, get rid of obstacles.
  9. Spread calm in a crisis.
  10. Focus on the important, not the urgent.


2)    Nurture the Culture

  1. Shun moderation – live, eat and drink ideas – nothing succeeds like excess.
  2. Live the philosophy – nothing but the best is good enough.
  3. Zig when others zag.
  4. Ensure progress, not process.
  5. Learn our nuances.  Guard them jealously.
  6. Share the dream.
  7. Be courageous.  Fortune favours the bold.
  8. Use the agency’s work to make the agency famous.
  9. Win awards, keep winning, be the best.
  10. Bring our Vision to life, make it the cornerstone of everything you say and do.


3)    One Team, One Dream

  1. Employ the best people, don’t settle for second best.
  2. Develop your people.
  3. Inspire your people to keep exceeding their personal and organisational best.
  4. Get everyone involved, no one is unimportant.
  5. Bomb the hierarchy – organise, group and regroup constantly around the changing issues, problems and opportunities.
  6. Remember good manners, treat everyone with respect, always.
  7. Think, talk and act as a team.  ‘We’ not ‘me’.
  8. Be accessible to your people.
  9. Hire interesting, passionate people.
  10. Recognise others’ achievements, be generous with your praise.



Monday, September 19, 2022

Mad Men (I)

I spent almost 20 years as an Ad Man, as Worldwide CEO of iconic agency Saatchi & Saatchi.


Early on in my tenure we updated our Account Leader’s pointers/tips.


I was working in my Study in my new seaside apartment/office in beautiful Kohimarama – just outside Auckland – when I came across this 20 year old booklet ‘A Bit of a Tip’ – 10 things you need to be a leader at Saatchi & Saatchi.  And these tips have stood the test of time and, I believe, are relevant to leaders everywhere today.


The short intro is reproduced here:


Leading an agency team is never easy, especially when the agency is ours – Saatchi & Saatchi – and our expectations are so much higher.


To help you keep focused and to provide you with help when you most need it, we’ve prepared these 10 pointers or tips.


No single set of ‘tips’ can cover every contingency, however we believe these tips, drawn from our worldwide network, will help in those circumstances when a little help really would be helpful.


We’ll share the tips in four upcoming posts.



Thursday, September 15, 2022

Back To The Office (II)


Noah Hickey, ex New Zealand International Footballer and CEO of fast growing logistics software company Whip Around, has launched a back to work programme called H.I.T.T. (High Impact Team Together).


The title says it all ... get back to work, form a Team – in real life, not via the screen – work together and get high impact stuff done.


In the new world it’s vital to remember the four C’s.  When you’re back together, make sure you: 

  • Connect
  • Collaborate
  • Create
  • Commit


And make sure you’re brim-full of the two E’s:

  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm


And remember:

         The way we do anything

         Is the way we do everything.





Monday, September 12, 2022

Back To The Office (I)


The world is re-opening – and what a mess it’s in.


Politically, socially and economically, the challenges are enormous.  Tensions are increasing, gaps are widening, extremism is rampant, supply chains are splintering, health issues are all around us, climate change is accelerating and the All Blacks are losing!!!


Amidst all this chaos, productivity, efficiency, corporate performance, worker dissatisfaction and standards everywhere are slipping.


It’s time we went back to work – personalised yes, flexible yes, but to work we must go.


And not ‘back’ to work, but ‘forward’ to a new way of working.  We must raise the bar to pre-Covid levels in terms of excellence.  We must rebuild our sense of Purpose.  We must re-inspire our people.  We must revive our Culture.  We must develop hunger, ambition, belief and courage.


My former Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman, Bob Seelert (KRC August 15th, 2022) spelled out 10 truths 10 years ago that will stand all businesses in good stead as the great re-entry begins.  In essence, he advised businesses to:

-       Get the truth out on the table,

-       Re-establish standards for the new reality,

-       Think long term, act short term,

-       Communicate, communicate, communicate,

-       Get all hands on deck,

-       Get out with your customers,

-       Stay true to what made you great in the first place,

-       Reframe the value of your product or services for the new environment,

-       Every time you think of the word ‘add’, you should simultaneously think of the word ‘reduce’; and every time you think of the world ‘create’, you should simultaneously think of the word ‘eliminate’,

-       Set tight priorities.


More to follow later this week.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Foodie Friday – Hail, Hail Melbourne


Back in one of the world’s foodie capitals, Melbourne for the first time since February 2020 – 20 days pre our Covid jail sentence.


And three dinners with Melbourne residents and friends – Damien, Jamie, Kate & Duncan and co.


Matilda – Open fire, hot coals, modern Aussie food at the Royal Botanical Gardens.  Good bar, good Aussie wines – Kangaroo tartare, oysters, dressed Fraser Island Spanner Crab, Murray Cod and amazing steaks.


Gimlet – Private room for eight of us at Gimlet in the 120 year old Cavendish House in Melbourne’s CBD.  A nostalgia/retro heritage gem – great cocktail list, terrific atmosphere.  Jam packed (on a Monday!), great service, another dose of great local produce.


Bar Lourinha – A tiny Portuguese tapas/wine bar on Little Collins Street.  Casual, lively, no frills – great sardines and bacalao.


Cecconi’s – Classic Venetian inspired Italian.


A good time was had by all.


And Auckland awaits!!



Monday, September 5, 2022

Back to the Scene of the Crime


On February 25th 2020, I posted a blog about my Global Transient Amnesia episode in Melbourne.  I paid homage to my minder “Iraqi” Cam, my AIA guardian angels – Stella and Alison, my own guru – AIA CEO Damien, and Peter and James at The Sheraton on Little Collins Street who made their Hotel my home.


Well, 2½ years of Covid later – I’m back in Melbourne.  Dinner with Damien last night, two days with AIA this week, “Iraqi” Cam amazed me by a surprise pick-up at the Airport and James spent the day at The Sheraton on creative work-arounds so I could watch the AB’s and Man City both live (special thanks to Exec Chef Migo who provided a VPN option).


It all came flooding back – 15½ hour Qantas flight from LA to Melbourne (great to hear Anzac accents again and to enjoy Neil Perry food), bingeing on 1883, escorted through Customs / Passport Control by an Amex Centurion guide – and the cool Winter/Spring sun shining.


The Airport was heaving (and creaking), the bars were full, the Melbourne foodies were back out in force – and I’ve three days of full-on leadership / marketing meetings – in person with people I’ve only seen on screen for 2½ years – ahead of me.


Time to Connect, Collaborate, Create and Commit.


Good on y’a Aussie!



Tuesday, August 30, 2022



A sleeper – KLEO – on Netflix.  If you’re a Killing Eve or Tarantino fan (KRC July 19th), buckle up for KLEO.  Bloodshed, violence, humour, beautiful period scenery (East and West Germany in the 80’s and 90’s).  A solid first four episodes then it really hits its stride.  Quirky, stylish, hedonistic, black comedy, interesting characters.


I binged all eight episodes from Dublin to Chicago on Saturday.  Now fingers crossed for a second series.


Watch the trailer here:



Monday, August 15, 2022

Start with the Answer and Work Back

For a decade I worked hand in hand with Bob Seelert – as Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and as a Publicis Board Member.  A top marketer, a top strategist, a top golfer and a top man.


He celebrates his 80th birthday this month surrounded by the love of his life, Sarah and a posse of upstanding kids and grandkids.


He remains a mentor/commentator for me and reminded me of a speech he made at Cambridge University a dozen years ago – a time when the world was in the throes of a financial crisis and a recession.


His speech was based on the 94 stories he told in his great book “Start with the Answer and Work Back” which was published in May 2009.


Bob’s advice, 11 years on, is still relevant today (KRC July 21 2022).  To quote Bob “Tough times require the absolute best in performance by great leaders.  On an ongoing basis, the three big requirements of a leader are to set direction, to establish standards and to unleash the energy of the organisation”.


Here are his 10 things to do:

  1. Get the truth out on the table.
  2. Establish standards for the new reality.
  3. Think long term; while acting short term.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  5. Get all hands on deck.
  6. Get out with your customers.
  7. Stay true to what made you great in the first place.
  8. Reframe the value of your product for the new environment.
  9. Add/Reduce, Create/Eliminate.
  10. Set tight priorities.


Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.