Wednesday, May 07, 2008

'where i'm at now'

so for the second time in two weeks a global ceo of my hybrid employer (TBWA and Ketchum) came for a visit to our wayward region. it's really good to see that global communications companies, particularly the ones i work for, are taking notice of the middle east and the work we are already doing here.

last week Jon Higgins, the EMEA CEO of Ketchum was here to assess our agency and to see if we're up to snuff. i had the opportunity to have dinner with him and our senior management and after a brief explanation of the virtues of twitter, him and my company's managing director were thumbing their up-to-the-minute status from their blackberries.

today i met Tom Carroll, the new global CEO of TBWA. he's a well-spoken, head-in-the-clouds, feet-on-the-ground kinda guy, much like Jon. over the past two weeks our office has been buzzing with preparations and i couldn't understand it really. to me he is just a guy in a good position. sure he is a visionary and he has a great long track record but i've never been one to swoon over celebrity so i just thought he was a guy. and that's how he presented himself to us.

what drives me nuts is that both Jon and Tom were both such good, regular guys. they didn't have egos or wear million dollar suits or spit acid or cast shadows longer than skyscrapers. they just talked at eye level and listened as though they were interested. so then why all the fuss? i doubt they were fooled by our 'great' questions considering half of them were litteraly read off the sheets of paper that we were told to memorize by heart. the fanfare, the clean office space, the cooking books we brought in to make the shelves look full.... if this is what they get whenever they travel around to far away offices, they must hate it.

personally, if and when i am a global CEO of a great communications network with offices around the world, i will personally see to it that no one makes a big deal about my visits. how can i know i am doing a good job as a leader if the questions posed to me are planted and if people feel nervous to approach me? i, like jon and tom will be accessible and open and honest with everyone at every level of the organization and i won't put up with the facades. Sure, they are communications gods, deities of an industry that creates and destroys icons everyday. but they are humble and real and i bet a little bit annoyed that they are seen any differently.

1 comment:

Ismail Al-ghussein said...

Amen brother !