Last week saw me holed up in a very average hotel in Paris with colleagues from around the Publicis Groupe. The aim of the week was to make us better leaders, more accomplished commercial operators and to understand more about the range of companies in the groupe.
I met with people from Leo Burnett, Saatchi, Publicis, Publicis Dialog, Zenithoptimedia, Starcom media vest, MS&L, Publicis Live, SaatchiX and others, fascinating to Hear about all the work these agencies did. We learned a lot that week although there was one over riding message from the two members of the P12 of Publicis, if you want change, if you want to work more collaboratively then start to take ownership and make it happen.
A simple message, and one I was sceptical to start with but as I started to consider this and got to know the people around me, a message I thought was actually bang on. In reality in these huge agency groups, you can always sit back and wait for things to be decided for you and it all be given to you on a plate but as leaders we should be shaping this ourselves. A very simple, but significant realisation.
As we stood on the terrace of the Publicis Groupe headquarters in Paris, you started to feel motivated to actually make this happen and not be swallowed by politics. Having worked with all these different people for four days, companies stopped being companies and became people. Leo Burnett was now Emily, Saatchi was now Leigh and so on, this is powerful, to not think in terms of companies but people makes everything so much more possible, I hope very much I have the opportunity to put into practice with these people and what their companies provide.
As a foot note, I would like to add that the was also significant capacity in the groupe to drink and work. A special mention goes to Rachael, Anthony, Leigh, Geza, Rupert, Emily and others for some excellent work in the bar..a great bunch of people all round.