A company’s culture isn’t a poster tacked up on the break room wall, it’s something employees should feel when they walk into a room.
At least that is how Chris Juhl, CEO of GroupM feels. As the executive explained to iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman on his podcast, Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing with Bob Pittman, the power of culture is an economical differentiator in the business world.
“It's assuming positive intent at every turn,” said Juhl. “I want everyone at GroupM to feel like this is a place where their expression is welcome, where creative ideas are welcome, where they can disagree with management, where they can speak up, and where they are trusted.”
The GroupM CEO was tasked with the challenge to unite his company when he was asked to lead the global advertising agency in 2019. According to Juhl, what was a collection of various advertising groups needed to be brought together under one vision.
“One of the first things I did was get the management teams together and say, ‘We are going to do things differently. We are going to trust each other,’ he said. “We are going to build a strategy together, and we are going to share that strategy with all 35,000 employees.”
One thing Juhl and his management teams nailed down as a focus for the company’s future was an investment in technology. While many of the digital advertising agencies under the GroupM umbrella had a strong presence online already, the CEO said they wanted to make sure the company was proactive instead of reactive.
“The future of this industry, in media, is becoming more technology driven and it looks more like software than manual planning and media deals,” Juhl said. “That means investing hundreds of millions of dollars in doing it once, not doing it in 60 different methods, with different partners in every market around the world. Getting people aligned in that type of thinking requires a singularity of culture and how we are going to hold each other to account.”
Listen to “Christian Juhl: ‘I have to predict the future just slightly better than everybody else,” to hear the full interview. Every week, catch the newest episode of Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing with Bob Pittman, to hear the latest business advice from the world’s most successful industry leaders.
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