What’s Better For Your Ad Agency: “Good” People or Talented People?

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 Ad AgencyThe answer of course is both, but let me explain. Last week I read a fascinating interview with Herbie Herbert, the manager of Journey from their inception until the late eighties or so.  I didn’t read it so much because I like Journey (although I do, I’ll admit it) but because of the background machinations of the music industry and its marketing in those days. Journey fan or not, it’s interesting reading if you like that type of business back-story.

There was a particular quote in the interview that reminded me of a situation a few of our agency clients have gone through in the past year, and undoubtedly many of you have experienced at one time.  First, the quote:

“It’s so much more important to surround yourself with good people than great talent. Because the talent does not-and will not ever- overcome being a bad person.  And the people that have such great talent firmly believe that their talent will overcome any of their bad actions. “

In the case of the clients I mentioned, one of the situations did involve a “bad person” but the other was more a “difficult” person, shall we say, and regardless, both were very talented.  They were both ultimately let go and of course their talent went with them. Tough choice in some situations, a no-brainer in others. In these two examples, however, it was worth it, for the overall health and morale of the agency. They also found other talent-it’s out there.

Use this post as a quick jolt and take a look around your agency.  Do you see a similar situation? Maybe you don’t even need the “jolt,” because you’ve been debating it for a while. This is one of those cases where the recession may be a positive, in that there are a lot of good and talented folks out there looking for jobs in the advertising industry.

It’s never easy to let go a real talent, but as Herbie pointed out, surround yourself with those “good people” whenever you can.  In the long run, it’s probably worth it.

I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.