Having built one of the fastest growing international agencies of the past 20 years, and risen from senior account executive to global CEO in under a decade, I’ve developed a strong sense of what’s essential for a fulfilling career. Here are my top tips:
23% of people leave their job because they are bored and want a new challenge, but some challenges will move you on a little bit, and some challenges will give you 5+ years growth. Look for the more significant opportunity. I made such a decision at age 23 and was challenged for 17 years.
Developing new skills
You can linearly develop your career (get better at what you already know), or you can build your skill set through broader learning. One of the best ways to do this is through working in an environment where you can personally be involved in the development of a growing business rather than being a cog in a wheel.
One of my favourite expressions is growth equals opportunity. LinkedIn is great. Check out prospective companies and look at whether they are adding headcount and clients or are they stagnating or shrinking. Much better to be part of a rising tide.
Is the agency private or public? Public companies answer to shareholders and have little choice but to be driven by financial metrics that may conflict with looking after employees and doing great work for clients. Private companies often have more flexibility to invest in the future rather than looking at quarterly results. We are building Tyto as much for ourselves as for our clients and employees because we believe in a better way.
How does the company treat and think of its clients and its employees? We started Tyto with a mission to be a perfect partner to all our stakeholders because we felt too often agencies are complacent about clients and employees and take them for granted. One sure way to figure this out is to look at how much a company brags about itself rather than its clients and its employees.
Client engagement level
PR is in a rut. It wants to be seen as more strategic, but we are own worst enemy as most agencies are built on pyramid models bulked out at the bottom with account executives. We are creating a flatter, more senior structure because we want to have serious commercial business relationships with our clients. Not transactional tactical relationships. Think about the type of client relationships you most enjoy.
Work should be fun. One of our favourite quotes is “if you are wasting time having fun you are not wasting time” (Tim Ferris). A great place to work should feel fun all time. Not in a ha-ha way but in a thrill ride roller coaster way. Every day should feel like a zesty freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, not a cup of bad cold coffee.
Compensation and rewards
If you think you are the best at what you do, then you should be paid well. But salary is only part of the picture. Bonuses and incentives are important. Often in big firms, they are like a lottery ticket. We pay bonuses quarterly, and they are transparent and proportional to business performance. Also, the only way you ever make serious money in PR is if you own a stake in an agency. Do the companies you talk to offer the opportunity for you to take a stake in the company?
Such as what you might ask? Well, we give people the opportunity to work where they want. We give them the best technology. And we take them to a warm European city three times a year to work a week with international colleagues together under one roof.
If this reads like a shameless plug for Tyto, well it is. If these points resonate with you and you have a burning desire to do something for yourself and your clients that can be transformative then get in touch.