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Hiring Giants
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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"If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants." -David Ogilvy

Now, since we have been writing for Beyond Madison Avenue, we have not masked our admiration for the quips and beliefs of David Ogilvy. We are sure that we have gained and lost a fair amount of readers because we side more with him than the wisdom of Bernbach.

But this post isn't about that. This post is about giants.

For an organization to grow, for a brand or agency to grow, it must hire and retain the right people to grow it. It must attract those great minds that can take it to the next level. Ogilvy realized this when this quote was first penned; we must surround our organization with people better and greater than we are if we want our operations to grow. That means putting the brand or agency before our own wishes to rise and succeed.

How we doin'?

When was the last time you saw or heard a creative director proudly state how awesome their staff is, and that their staff is better than they are? Or have you ever heard an account director proclaim that their job is so much easier because of the bright team they put together?

Our industry does a fantastic job of scaring giants away. 

There are many reasons for it. Our industry is quite volatile; and people understandably worry about their jobs when a rockstar comes in. Poaching is a way of life in AdLand; why should shops groom talent when they can buy talent from other places? Short-term solutions always look good, in the short term. On the flip side, these giants seem to be easily poached away from their posts, and when they waltz into a shop many expect to be promoted quickly. 

How can we fix this? How can brands and shops hire, retain, and grow giants? 

Those two questions are much easier to ask than to answer. Culture is a big part of it. Getting others to buy in that everyone is in it for the long run would be a good place to start. The management team would have to convince the team that no one's job is in jeopardy. Also, for the giant, they need to believe that short-term success isn't the goal, but growth is. That they accepted the offer to join the team to be a part of something great. The brand or shop must walk the talk too, provide the tools, resources, and opportunities for the team to become great.

Culture and loyalty. Who would have thought that those would still matter these days?

 

 



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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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