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Nothing is tougher to deal with than an agency with strabismus

Ramsey Naja is CCO at JWT MEA

“If I were to run a management training skills seminar one day – God forbid – I think my first reference would be Marty Feldman. This is not to suggest that I only see myself as training comedy outfits or, worse, funny companies. Marty Feldman may have been one of the most gifted comedians of his generation, but what set him apart from his peers, aside from his brilliant talent, were his eyes. Marty’s eyes looked like someone with basic Photoshop skills had tried to construct a face that belonged to three people. He was not just cross-eyed: each of his eyes had an agenda of its own, linked to a different timetable that set them on a different course. They were misaligned and disagreed totally as to where to look.

In the context of management, Martyfeldmanism is much more of a comic trait than the condition that causes it. When the key components of a management team start looking in different directions, the business not only fails to perceive depth correctly and stumbles in its march but also becomes the object of ridicule. A single focal point may be the most basic and fundamental tenet in management, yet it is surprising how often it is ignored, particularly in the creative industries. One vested interest from here, another from there and, hey presto! You have a Martyfeldmanic agency, with all the political tug-of-wars that come with it.

Nothing is tougher to deal with than an agency with strabismus – the medical name for the condition. And it is tougher still – indeed wrenching – when the people concerned are long-time partners, with all the friendship and complicity that comes with that. Doctors will tell you that the medical condition can be adjusted with vision therapy, but that if the patient fails to respond, the only recourse is corrective surgery. In business, where the niceties of anaesthesia are not available, it can be a very painful process indeed.”

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