Saturday, March 14, 2009

Organizational Structure

As I continue to consult on advertising agency organizational structures and interview for full -time operational positions for corporate in-house divisions, I'm learning mindsets have not changed. Business is changing at light-speed, but the way of doing business is not.

There is a certain sense of irony in the organizational structure paradigm (oh, that word), especially in the creative environment. Whatever you call it, Creative Services, Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Graphics or Sales Support, the company looks to your area for creative solutions for their lack of revenue. Your department/agency is to solve everything, by producing effective materials. Yet, with the plethora of talent, you can't seem to get a project out, on-time, on-budget. Take a deep look at your division/department structure. Who's running the show?

Most Senior managers of creative areas, and typically all levels above, think having a super creative leading the pack will result in producing the materials they seek. When the area fails to deliver to their expectations, they replace the creative lead. This cycle is repetitive. The next questions is, "why can't we find a good creative lead?"

Let's define lead. Lead what? The creative approach? The creative process? The creative area? Nine times out of ten, it's the entire area. As my pastor would shout, when he wants your attention and wants to get an important point across, "Listen".

- Creative people are creative. That's why you hired them.
- Creative people should not manage - process or people, i.e. the area.
- Stop replacing the good ones.
- Change the structure.

There are plenty of industries that develop right/left brain people: architecture, photography, musicians. All these industries require both sides of the brain. Each involve math and vision. Our industry, is no different. Leaders can come from our different disciplines, Account Services, Production, and yes, sometimes Creative. Your job is to recruit and screen for this balance, not "get me another creative person." In the event, this person is not easily found, get two people to complete the required balance. Don't scream, "I can't hire two people for one job."

- Change the structure.

Companies has been successful at reducing overhead, increasing creative quality and processes, when they have the right people in the right disciplines in the right structure.

Quit blaming the Creative Director for not producing their best work, when you hired them to run the entire area/department/agency. They were made to be creative, not lead large teams and crunch numbers. Our job as leaders is to give our associates the tools they need to succeed.

If you don't know how to do this, get help.

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