Ship jumpers can go walk the plank

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA

“For any creative director worthy of that name, what matters most is not the quality of the work that their department produces, but the well-being of the people who produce it. “If you take care of people, the work will take care of itself”, it is said, and I personally subscribe to this piece of advice wholeheartedly.

Now, this may not be the recipe for instant success so cherished by those who hire as quickly as they draw the gun, but it is one that creates the kind of environment that makes success organic, albeit not in the short run.

This approach to talent management – for that’s what it is – is one that I like to call Nurture Culture. In today’s cut-throat business environment, it may sound a little, well, quaint, if not downright old fashioned. After all, a recent study conducted by a respected business publication actually suggested that most graduates were no longer keen on long-term careers in one company but favoured short and highly satisfying bursts in different places.

To hell with these, I say. If they feel better jumping from ship to ship in search of a better bounty, then good luck to them. I personally will take well-drilled elite troops instead of mercenaries any day. It is in fact our responsibility to create these elite corps, indeed nurture them within clearly defined career paths, so much so that growing within the agency becomes a desirable thing and that, should they seek pastures new at some point, they will always remain the pride of the company that made them.

But let’s be brutally frank about this: a Nurture Culture is not some kumbaya-singing, tree-hugging hippy commune with a jobs-for-life scenario attached. It is as much a meritocracy as in Darwin’s wildest dreams. The onus is on agency seniors to create the environment in which these people will thrive, but it is for them to return the favour by producing the work that justifies their selection and development. The meek may eventually inherit the earth, but they won’t keep a job for long in the meantime.”

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  1. Jassim says:

    Fully agree with Ramsey and the Leonidas style of leadership is also relevant for the whole industry and not just creatives

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