Advertising Week Europe

Advertising Week Europe 2017 Official Guide

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We spoke to Maxus Worldwide CEO Lindsay Pattison and Nigel Morris, CEO of Americas and EMEA at the Dentsu Aegis Network, about how corporate culture will guide them as they navigate the challenges of 2017. AWE: How do you ensure that a firm's culture carries right across the organisation, even when you can't manage every part of it every day? NM: The culture of an organisation is really the set of values, beliefs and behaviours that exist in its DNA, that help guide people over and above any explicit direction or set of poli- cies. Therefore, I don't think leaders develop the culture. It's more that they enable the culture to develop. Key to this is clarity of vision and beliefs. LP: Afewyearsagoweasked,"Whatarethebehavioursthat make a Maxus person?" We came upwithpassionate,agile,collaborative and entrepreneurial—or PACE. We then push people to demonstrate how they're living these behaviours and incorporated it in employee assessments. They're not just let- ters that sit on the wall—they're recognised and rewarded. AWE: What advice do you have for others on improving an organisa- tion's culture? NM: "Live" the behaviours that they want, 24/7, 365. In order to do that, they have to truly believe and be authentic in that belief and purpose. People can see very clearly if you're not real. LP: Observe when people are at their best. When are you winning and feeling positive? What are the factors around you that helped you achieve that? Think about what condi- tions were operating then. Take a step back and look at that, and be true to yourself and true to the company. AWE: Has advice on how to shape culture changed over the years? NM: I don't think the fundamentals of culture and the prin- ciples of how to enable it have changed much. However, the changing nature of work and the changing roles of work in people's lives have significantly changed the context. In a modern, digitally empowered organisation, communication is immersive—and in some ways so much more transpar- ent. This makes it easier for leaders to inspire and motivate. LP: The old style of leadership was based on command and control. You would tell people what to do. Leaders would withhold information, and the information was power. Now you influence more than control, but you still have to have charisma. You have to be more open or empathetic. It's an equal mix of IQ and EQ [emotional quotient]: IQ to run the biz and EQ to manage the talent. AWE: What will separate a strong leader from an average one in 2017? NM: The ability to inspire in an uncertain world is a power- ful capability for any leader to possess right now. Clarity of vision and communicating where the organisation is going, what we need to do and why, is absolutely critical. If you, as a leader, don't know where you're going, no one can follow. LP: You need leaders who are super collaborative and work at speed. No single person can solve everything by themselves. Anybody who sits in an ivory tower and builds a fortress around them will come a cropper. AW: Leadership isn't just saying "Act this way" or "Do this." What steps do you take to make this culture part of the fabric of your employees' experience? NM: Leadership today is less and less about control and mandate, and more and more about influence and empowerment. We are a people business, and people feeling em- powered to make a difference is critical for us to deliver the best for our clients. It is also key to ensuring that our people fulfill their potential. LP: I travel a lot. Whenever I meet with senior leaders or host town halls with the staff, I'm very open with how we're doing. I am ridiculously diligent to respond to any emails around the company. I don't just sit in the corner. I'm liter- ally sitting with people and press and clients. AWE: How do these efforts help the bottom line? NM: I think for any organisation, but especially in one like ours, there is a direct correlation between the health and dynamism of the culture and business performance. Culture is the only way to deliver this in a sustainable and consistent way and is even more important now. LP: Having an inspired and empowered workforce should see better results. We're still a people business. Anyone we pitch to can smell the culture. You can't fake culture. If 2016 taught us anything, it's that the world has changed, and unexpected developments, from the Brexit vote to the election of Donald Trump, have left businesses wondering what's next. In uncertain times, corporate leaders show their value by deciding how their firms will adapt. But the best executives shape new strategies with a vision that's true to their organisation's culture—its defin- ing blend of values, attitudes and standards. "The ability to inspire in an uncertain world is a powerful capability for any leader to possess right now." AWE 2017 241

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