Two days in Chicago at the VivaKi Nerve Center Management meeting and one thing really struck me, that change even when it is really needed is pretty tough. Key to getting through it though is by having a plan and sticking to it. The VNC started in 2008 and we were laughed at, Curt Hecht who leaves us this month was there at the start and he recalled some of the comments at the time. That plan though has been sturdy and continues to be at the core of everything we do and it is resistant to country whims and individual blocks and that change we are bringing can not be stopped now.
VNC was a slow burn Internationally but in recent times things have accelerated rapidly. Over the last two days we have had people from the VNC from US to Australia and everywhere in between and each person was ringing the bell on the old models, it is time to step up and be prepared to change. Only two years ago we had VNC in US, UK, Dubai and Spain. Add to that now Italy, France, Germany, Australia, China, Russia and more to come, amazing growth.
Trouble with change is that it unsettles and some people don’t want it and are willing to slow things down and say ‘it’s not like that here’ and excuses to that effect. The encouraging thing though is that those people are becoming far and few between now and most people have started to embrace. I met recently with Maurice Levy and it was clear where he expects to see development, what areas should be moving faster and that is the biggest encouragement of all when it comes from the top.
Change your mind or change the people was a phrase mentioned by someone recently and I agree. I have always loved change, it is so exciting and creates so much opportunity so I assume everyone will but I am afraid that is not always the case. The VNC over the last two days has presented some amazing work and propositions and it is no wonder it has been copied by most of the other groups – whether it was market leading Partnerships, the worlds first and largest trading desk, driving innovation through The Pool, VNC has lead and shown the people laughing behind their hands that in fact it has become a blueprint.
The work we are doing with our agencies is moving so fast in many many markets and the ambition in the room has been palpable so expect to see more and more from this group over the coming weeks, months and years.
See you Chicago, it has been a pleasure (apart from your terrible airport).