Over the years, we’ve heard agency executives reflect on internal business development initiatives that haven’t produced the desired results.

Recently, I was reading some posts on authenticity that did what good posts do – got me thinking.

“Authenticity” does not come up in survey responses when we ask agencies what might be holding internal business development programs back.

What is authenticity anyway?

One way to consider it is the opposite: phoniness, fakeness and the like.  But this is not what I have in mind when I contemplate the challenges many agencies express.

Rather, I’m thinking about how their team is “bred.”

Taking an analogy to the dogs (literally), would it be rational to expect a Labrador Retriever to herd a flock of sheep?

Could a German Shepherd haul fishing nets and retrieve fish?

Both breeds are very smart, and may be capable of learning tasks that aren’t inherent to them.  But would this be making the most of their inborn talents?

Authenticity – Is Your Team Bred For Agency New Business?

Certainly, you may want to offer professional development opportunities to your existing staff.

Possibly, some may eagerly – AND authentically – embrace opportunities to grow through business development responsibility.

However, if business development is just not an inherent talent, a completely equal assignment of business development responsibilities to the entire team may result in lower productivity overall.

As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, instructs, “get the right people on the bus” and “get the right people in the right seats”.

Be sure your business development program has the right resources to succeed, beginning with the right people.  They MAY already be on staff, but make the most of the talent you already have, and let them flourish authentically.

Links to the posts on authenticity that got me thinking follow below.  As you read them consider the concepts they present on “being authentic”:

  • Be genuine; be yourself. Be who you are.
  • Awaken to the reality that the core competency of your firm lies in your services, and that business development may be not only uncomfortable, but unnatural for your talented staff.
  • Authenticity enables a team to do its job without compromising their values or personality. As importantly, it focuses energy where it can deliver the most value.

In agency new business, authenticity is a key element in building strong and lasting relationships.  It needs to be someone comfortable with the process and who can represent your firm with energy, excitement and passion.

Be sure to have the “right breed” for the job.

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Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.