The Worst Time to Recruit…

…is when you need someone. That pushes us to select the best candidate available at the moment of need. Which may be distinctly different from the best candidate for the position and for the firm. Continue reading

Every Person in Every Seat…

…must know what we do here for a living. It’s a mantra I’ve been repeating for over 20 years. It’s not enough to be great at what you do. That kind of talent and skill should be exercised every day, consistent with company objectives and values. Continue reading

Recruiting Bouncers

When I first began recruiting staff for MTC, I subscribed to the conventional wisdom that candidates who moved between companies after relatively brief stays were candidates to avoid. But over time, I’ve worked with so many exceptional people who only remained with us a short while, I’ve come to think differently. Continue reading

Where’s the Instruction Manual?

Document it. Codify it. Write it down.

I hear that a lot. Even gone down that path myself a few times. Fortunately for me, I’ve been too busy to stick with it long enough to do much damage.

Having worked in the same industry – marketing communications, even the same company – MTC, for over 25 years, I’ve seen virtually everything we do and how it’s done change many times over. Keeping up with rewriting processes as tools, technologies, techniques constantly evolve would be close to a full-time job.

And to what end? Continue reading

What’s Your Role?

So often we think of ourselves professionally in the context of our title, perhaps our job description, or maybe even the tasks we perform. Admittedly, when asked in social situations what I “do,” I typically respond with my label, “Partner,” and my responsibilities, “Operations.” But I don’t generally think of myself in those contexts; they are simply the common vernacular with which people are familiar and comfortable. Continue reading


To command, direct, instruct, enforce. All manifestations of power. All behaviors I have used to propel our organization forward. But, as I’ve come to understand, not the most effective means. Leaders should “Be Authentic,” according to so much current business thinking. But what if one is authentically dictatorial and controlling? Continue reading

Is Open Book Management Really Such a Stretch?

Owners of marketing communications firms convince themselves of a lot of reasons why utilizing open book management (OBM) in their firm is a bad idea. I’ll save arguing those points for another time; right now, I’d like to give three quick reasons why OBM should intuitively be pretty obviously a good thing: Continue reading

Getting Support for the Agency Owner

Owners of small to mid-size marketing communications firms spend a considerable amount of their time attending to financial and operational details – i.e., running their businesses. Unfortunately, this distracts them from engaging in the activities they are truly passionate about – what motivated them to start their business in the first place – be it creative, strategy, media, social, etc. Instead, I recommend agency principals invest in a Business Manager to work by their side and run the business. Continue reading

Job Descriptions – Inspiration or Control?

Never having had a job description for myself, and having enjoyed a fair amount of success in my career, I’ve always wondered why everyone feels job descriptions are mandatory. When MTC was small, and everyone understood their role and contributed any way we saw fit, we didn’t distract ourselves by spending time codifying job descriptions. Continue reading

Professional Impact of Personal Values

Shortly after I graduated high school my father, Laird, came to my room for a rare father-son talk. (No, not the “birds and bees” talk!) He told me he had decided to quit his job and was instead going to apply himself fully to turning the fledgling small business he had been running into the family’s sole source of financial support. I found this to be a remarkably courageous act. Continue reading