Sally Henderson
Executive Mentor
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Blog

Sally Henderson

It's the time of the Managing Director

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For over 23 years I have been at the heart of change, leadership and all things talent in the creative industry. I have seen time and time again how challenging, frustrating and lonely it can be in the role of Managing Director.

Here’s why:

·     90% of my Managing Director clients can’t quickly, easily or concisely answer when I pose the direct question “what is your job?”

·     It is rarer than hen’s teeth to have ANY official training or leadership development when moving into this new level of leadership and responsibility within the creative industry

·     No two Managing Director positions are the same yet in a recent poll I took, 70% of Managing Directors were operating without any Job Description or clarity around their role

·     The impact required from of those in the Managing Director role is left undefined. Clear milestones and success markers are left to be discovered and delivered amongst a fog of overall responsibility

·     Managing Directors get hit from all sides. Squashed between the expectations of the C-Suite, demands of the wider business and needs of clients. It’s an energy sucking and highly stressful place to be when the right support, investment and markers are missing

Yet despite these challenges and constraints creative businesses are still operating from an outdated “suck it and see model” when it comes to leadership and key people. This will be the death-knell for many a “creative company”. No longer can the leadership and people piece of the company jigsaw be swept under the “we can get by without it” management carpet.

The industry is changing at such a fast-rate with the advance of the management consultancies (who place leadership development as a must-have not nice-to-have), new demands from different talent generations clashing with the established leadership hierarchy (who expect investment, training and lots of coaching) and clients demanding more for less (and are often as confused as the market is on who owns the strategy at the creative top-table).

All this makes a compelling case for investing in leadership and people. If you need more I have a saying:

“Creative Agencies are very comfortable at losing money in an established way. They throw it at bad, poorly planned and stressfully executed recruitment”

We all hear about the war for talent and how hard it is to find and keep good people. Yet despite this been an agreed fact, creative agencies still prefer to chuck hard-won cash at bad problems post the horse bolting than have the bravery to create budget to ward off most people problems and lost opportunity through pro-active investment.

And here’s the real rub. It costs way less to retain well and reap multiplied value through excellent leadership delivered by key talent than recruit badly and run the risk of “organ rejection” of fresh senior talent hastily rammed into position. (the average cost of replacing an employee is 261% of salary)

How does this relate to Managing Directors? Well my friends you are operating at the heart of all this. YOU CAN BE THE AGENTS OF CHANGE to guide, nay lead by the nose, away from the out-of-date people practices and lack of budget towards a current and future-fit model, of really valuing people and talent as your best assets

Now is the time to invest in your own leadership and the development and support of your best people. The rewards and impact being reaped by my clients who are embracing this approach more than justify the cost. Because it really isn’t a cost, it is a great investment!

After all, without great people and leaders operating in the right roles in the right way what does a creative business really have?

Sally Henderson is a sought after International Results-Based Executive Mentor and Speaker.

She is known for straight talking, insightful advice, a big heart with a hugely commercial outlook. Her passion is working with high performing leaders of aspiring organisations hungry to achieve greater results faster. 

To invite Sally to give her 3 C’s for Successful Change at Work Motivational Talk, Run Leadership Development Workshops or Mentor yourself or your team / key leaders please get in touch sally@sallyhenderson.co.uk

www.sallyhenderson.co.uk