I am a regular listener of Neil Patel and Eric Siu’s The Marketing School podcast. As of today, these digital marketers and prolific audio publishers are up to 1,848 episodes (WOW!) that cover many of the tactics and strategies that have made their agencies successful.
Each daily show is delivered at wake up and is approximately 3 minutes long. Bite-sized advice. A recent episode “Mistakes That Neil and Eric Made While Growing Their Agencies” (#1842) is worth a listen (link below). Hey, maybe your agency should produce bite-sized vs. those hour-long podcasts. Like my loooong, but entertaining 40 podcast series – Advertising Stories.
Below is my take on their Neil and Eric’stake.
The podcast transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Eric Siu On Leadership and Work Habits:
“… when I first took over (the agency), one of the big mistakes that I made was taking a book too literally called “Let My People Go Surfing”. So some of you might’ve heard this story already, but it’s from the Patagonia co-founder, it’s a great book. And it talks about letting your people go surfing. He lets his people go surfing during lunch, right. Basically, it’s saying people don’t want to be micromanaged, and they don’t. And I went a little too extreme with it and I stopped showing up to the office. So I learned that it’s important, especially in the very beginning, especially when you’re trying to save something, to trust, but verify and also be there in person and be there in the trenches showing that, hey, you’re there and you have some type of vision for the company as well.”
My take. I grew up during the always be in the office days. I was usually the first in when I worked at Saatchi & Saatchi New York and London, definitely when I was the CEO of two digital startups and when I owned my own agency. It was critical that I demonstrated interest and energy – and its good news for me that I have always been a morning person. Sure I know all about the idea of work-life balance, especially when I had two offices in outdoor , fresh-air driven Oregon. But, running an advertising agency, or any business, requires real leadership and dedication. I demonstrated this dedication by showing up. Showing up is especially requiered for client focussed businesses.
Now, how to exhibit this style of leadership in a WFH environment is a bit up for grabs these days. We’ll see where this goes. That said, the last thing I’d do as a leader today is to pump out 6:35 AM emails that ask for an immediate response. That is not effective leadership.
“The other thing is I made a lot of kind of rash decisions without consulting people. And I learned that building actual relationships and building rapport with people and not coming from an arrogant perspective that just because I came from tech I thought that I kind of walked on water, which I didn’t, right. I just thought I was super amazing when really – it takes a village to build something amazing. So that’s what I would say. Don’t take things too literally, build relationships with people and make decisions that are… If they’re reversible, act on them quickly, but if they’re not reversible, you’d probably want to deliberate on them a little more.”
My take: There are a couple of points here. First, yes your agency will work better in a team environment. Even if you are the smartest or most experienced person in the room, don’t act like an ass. If you stop and listen to other people you will generally come out ahead. LOL, most of the time.
Second, it is OK to fail. But, try to do it too too fast and own up to mistakes. That said, repeted faliures are not a good thing.