Learn­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence

Campaign Middle East - - NEWS -

This time last week I was in Scot­land. I went home for a fleet­ing long week­end to be­come god­fa­ther to a friend’s son. The fact that I was asked to fill that aus­pi­cious role should be a fair in­di­ca­tion that there is a se­ri­ous short­age of re­spon­si­ble adults right now. But it’s too late for Cameron or his poor, mis­guided parents to change their minds now. I am fully signed up to be a mag­net to his moral com­pass till he comes of age.

Luck­ily there is a new batch of grown- ups com­ing on­line, and we have pro­filed a lot of them in our Faces to Watch se­ries. In this is­sue it is the turn of PR and me­dia agen­cies to have their bright­est and best show­cased. Again, I ask for for­give­ness from those whose names didn’t make the cut. I’m sure they will gen­er­ate enough news in their ca­reers to make it to these pages many times over in the fu­ture.

What­ever age they are, from early 20s to 30 on the nose, the Faces are all learn­ing. They are learn­ing faster than we oldies do, and there is more for them to learn as the industry morphs and twists and turns and de­vel­ops and writhes from its own grow­ing pains.

The Faces give plenty of ex­am­ples of what frus­trates them, and much of it is the same stuff that frus­trates us di­nosaurs: dead­lines, timesheets, cau­tious clients and the likes.

On page 9, Publi­cis Me­dia chair­man Alex Saber writes about some of his life lessons, which af­fect industry new­bies in two ways. First, ju­niors can learn from the mis­takes of those who have gone be­fore. Read what Saber says, lis­ten to your el­ders and take note. But se­condly, he ac­knowl­edges that we learn from our own mis­takes more than those of oth­ers, and it is es­sen­tial that peo­ple be em­pow­ered to make those mis­takes, learn from them and grow.

They will need to learn how to cope with those clients, how to hit those dead­lines, how to fudge those timesheets them­selves.

Right at the very top of the industry, Sir Martin Sor­rell is out as CEO of the world’s big­gest ad­ver­tis­ing group, WPP, which he built. He is a sort of god­fa­ther char­ac­ter in his own way, and many of our read­ers work for com­pa­nies bought with an offer they couldn’t refuse. And Sor­rell’s de­par­ture will no doubt sig­nal an­other huge shift in the industry, an­other step change in how our world works. The world won’t stop, but it will change.

And we oldies can pass on our wis­dom, in a god­fa­ther­ish way, to our one- day suc­ces­sors. But we can’t guar­an­tee they will lis­ten. Nor should we ex­pect them to. It’s their world they are grow­ing into, and they need to find out how it works. It is they who will run it.

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