It's review season at my agency. And I have in my inbox requests for about 168 reviews, roughly half of them about account people.
I hate writing reviews. Usually because the "form" you're meant to complete was created by someone (or some committee) that has no understanding of how to do a job well. They essentially ask you to review a house painter based on his cooking ability.
In any event, I give you this, which I've been carting around for parts of four decades.
1. Be smart about everything. Be an expert in your client’s business. Be an expert in “agency mechanics”…Learn to listen.
2. Be 100% buttoned up. Get inside and control the “boiler room”…Plan for disasters…Proofread as if typos could cost you your job.
3. Be curious. Question everything and everyone. Get out of the office and look around. Learn from others.
4. Commit yourself to “original thinking.” Be more than an advertising mechanic. Set aside a part of every day to “blue sky” big thoughts. Be seen as one who can serve up fresh ideas.
5. Create your own opportunities. Don’t just look for “handouts.” Constantly do the little extras. Deliver products that are consistently excellent.
6. Gain respect of everyone around you. Expect that you will need to “win” support from everyone. Always recognize others when they do good work for you.
7. Learn to express yourself effectively. You will go nowhere if you can’t advocate ideas. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Learn how to talk to different audiences. Always be enthusiastic.
8. Build a broad foundation early. In the beginning be a jack-of-all-trades. Get involved with everything. Go back to school. Never stop exploring.
9. Wash windows—willingly. Face it, every job comes with drudgery. Always volunteer to pitch in when asked. But, always look for ways to do dirty laundry as efficiently as possible.
10. Learn to manage your business well. Get early agreements on assignments. Always be realistic, honest. If you disagree, say so. Make clients a legitimate part of the team.
11. Smother your clients with care. Be in constant touch. Make them feel that you think of them often. Dream up reasons to gain broad access to key client contacts. Never neglect clients at lower echelons. Know the “big issues” on your clients’ minds at all times. Lead.
12. Treat your clients’ money as if it were your own. Show them that you are both fussy about quality and frugal. Don’t simply accept the cavalier attitudes of others. Give appropriate direction on cost parameters. Make people meet expectations.
13. Don’t be meek and nervous. If you do your homework you will succeed. Act with confidence. But if you don’t have answers don’t fake them. Remember, most people want you to succeed.
14. Develop your own ideas about how to be a good manager. Watch your supervisor and others. Prepare now to take on more responsibilities.
15. Constantly build trust. Be 100% reliable. Be 100% honest. Do what you commit to do 100% of the time. Be respected by 100% of the people with whom you work. Be nothing less than 100% professional.