Charlotte Beers at
Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (A)
Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (A)
Document purpose: suggestions to increase acceptance of Ogilvy & Mather’s new Vison on employees below senior executive management.
December 1993: Charlotte Beers assesses the progresses made by the company after she became CEO: she realizes that clients love the Brand Stewardship concept, but most employees, below executive levels, have not embraced the newly created Vision. The problem I will focus in this document is the following: the majority of employees did not embrace the new Vision. I will analyze why this is a key problem, why it is happening and I will propose steps to accomplish more acceptance.
Major events have shaped the history of the company in the recent years: first the hostile takeover, 1989, then the loss of key accounts and credibility in the business. Many key senior employees have left in the 2 years following the takeover. The company Vision has been: “just keep doing the same thing, just better”, but the world around has been changing. The marketing business has clearly become more global in nature, with "mergers to form mega-agencies and the concept of transporting brands around the world", and customers are demanding for “more service at lower costs”. Re-creation
Technically the type of organizational change Beers has to face as new CEO of the company is called re-creation: it’s a change introduced in response to an immediate demand, in this case the loss of customers and image. The research indicates that fewer than one in ten re-creations succeed [Leadership for Organizational Change]. Vision and Values Crafting
Beers has accomplished a great step already: the definition of Vision and Values. It is interesting to analyze the process that she used, and why it worked. She: •
Gathered the persons in the company that were more inspired by a creative tension. •
Educated them on the main problems, the “current reality” of the company. •
Stimulated a constructive exchange of opinions and experiences among the same executives in the attempt to come up with a “common” set of ideas to be incorporated in the Vision statement. By educating on the “current reality” and by inspiring the Vision of the brand (her idea since from her start at O&M), Charlotte is setting the creative tension necessary to resurrect the company, and she is beginning this from the top and key persons. Now she has to reach the lower level employees: the challenge is similar, but she cannot leverage anymore on the very powerful mechanism of getting people involved in the creation phase, the “building of shared vision” concept. The reason is that lower level employees cannot participate in the creation of the company’s Vision; they have to accept it and implement it. Inspirational Leadership
Charlotte Beers is an inspiring type of leader: she doesn’t necessarily know the solution to the problems, but she stimulates the company to find it. Instead of talking profits, Beers preached “passion”, the essence, she said, of resurrecting O&M. She said: “Consensus is a poor substitute of leadership”. Her key point is to get people from having an impersonal attitude to the business, into an involved one. I think she has to leverage on this ability, this gift that she has, to reach the lower level employees in the same effective way she inspired the senior executive team. Detailed Problem Diagnosis
I will analyze now in more detail why the vast majority of O&M employees have not embraced yet the new Vision. There are 3 main points related to this problem: 1.
Poor understanding of the Brand Stewardship: most employees below senior level lack of experience on how to use the concept of Brand Stewardship. O’Dea: “Only a minority of the population truly understands and embraces the Brand Stewardship concept”. Employees thus have to be...
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