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11.8.19

The One Hire Every Agency Needs

Adam Greenwald

The One Hire Every Agency Needs

Starting with an agency at its infancy, I’ve had the privilege to learn a wide range of skills and hold varying titles-community manager, project manager, account executive and business associate; each helping to prepare me for my most recent role, Chief of Staff. Yes. At an ad agency. And if I could argue, I would say that this is the one hire your agency didn’t know it was missing. And therefore holding you back from moving the needle forward.

Increasing Headspace

No matter your agency’s size, 15 or 1,500, one thing is true for each: the headspace for your C-Suite is vital to the success of your agency. At any given moment, an agency’s CEO, CCO or [insert any other C-suite role here] has an army of different people vying for their attention within your own walls. Add to this the meetings they need to schedule, follow-ups they need to remember and, oh yeah, the actual work that needs to get done. And this is where your Chief of Staff steps in.

The most critical aspect of a CoS role is being able to suss out opportunities to: Be the watchdog for their calendar. This means proactively going through their upcoming week and inserting buffer time for them to break from the back-to-back meetings and dive deep into the work they need to move forward. Take on responsibility from your C-Suite, therefore allowing them to focus their energies towards those activities that provide the most return to the agency.

Executive “Jack of All Trades”

These opportunities sometimes reveal themselves as small activities: coordinating lunch, scheduling a few meetings or booking their travel. However, sometimes these opportunities are part of a larger strategic project or initiative that your C-Suite is moving forward. In many of these moments, big or small, the most important virtue for who is driving this work forward is trust. Your agency’s leadership would prefer to do this work themselves. However, they also only have so many hours in their day.

They must trust that whoever they’re handing the ball off to will be able to carry it without their oversight. A successful Chief of Staff remembers that the last exit row seats provide more legroom compared to Delta Comfort, can craft an RFP presentation overnight and will also be the one to push back on their C-Suite (when needed). Each of these activities takes tasks off their plates and affords that much needed extra headspace mentioned earlier.

Trusted Middle-Person

Lastly, I’d love to revisit something mentioned earlier: Remember that army of different people vying for the attention of the C-Suite? In my 5+ years within our industry, I cannot stress the impact of this enough. Take a look at the calendar of your CEO during a typical week. More times than not it’s filled with back-to-back meetings, and therefore limited time to make impactful dents in the work they have.

A Chief of Staff is able to chat with the employees within your organization on behalf of the C-suite; guiding conversations and providing strategic and constructive feedback — removing unneeded meetings on their calendar and moving everyone’s work forward.

So, a Chief of Staff at an ad agency? A role that is consistently providing more time for impact, growth and success? Might not want to sleep on this role.