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Corporate Leadership Profile | Javelin Marketing Group
Chief People Officer, Javelin Marketing Group, Leigh C. Ober
Q: In the January 7, 2015 issue of Forbes magazine, contributing editor George Bradt was quoted: “There has been a seismic shift in the war for talent. Those that don’t understand that shift and change their approach to talent management are going to fall into a newly opened crevasse from which they may never escape.” Would you speak to the realities of Mr. Bradt’s predictions and the urgency with which he encourages those in business to change their course?
A: In the past, if an agency or company had a good recruiter, you got great talent. But no more. It truly takes a village. And for us at Javelin, it starts with building a culture of top-tier talent with a shared mission and a focus on co-creating, collaborating and connecting with customers and colleagues. It then requires that everyone engage — as advocates and networkers — to attract people with complementary skills and diverse experiences, people who are resourceful and innovative, and people who are smart and compassionate. Today’s most successful leaders are also talent magnets that attract people who want to work with them and engage people who grow with them.
Today, more than ever, it’s an “and” world. We need people who are thinkers AND doers, planners AND builders, good at what is needed today AND capable of delivering what’s needed tomorrow, versatile AND agile enough to adapt to ever-present change, and, perhaps most importantly, individual contributors AND leaders who are capable of bringing out the best in others by setting an example by doing their best.
When it comes to finding these versatile and resourceful people, we take a look at current staff to see who has the aptitude that we can develop to excel in the emerging roles. We’re seeing key growth opportunities take the place of traditional retention initiatives. People are seeking more growth through new skills and experiences as well as opportunities to do meaningful work. When there aren’t enough of the right people available on staff, we look externally to identify people who’ve demonstrated the behaviors and skills who will fit with our clients and our culture.
Similarly, there used to be a saying that you shouldn’t “fire anyone until you know who is going to do their job.” Succession planning is critical, but if someone is not pulling their weight, is not being accountable or is in any way hurting the team, take immediate action, even when there’s no ready-now candidate. Of course, give the employee a reasonable opportunity to improve or consider them for another role, but don’t delay letting someone go because you don’t have a backfill unless you are absolutely certain that keeping them is more important than signaling to colleagues that you tolerate mediocrity or bad behavior. Your actions speak louder than words. Know what’s right and do what’s right — swiftly.
Q: Why Marketing EDGE?
A: As early as 2009, our records indicate engagement with Javelin Marketing Group (Javelin), both with Pam's service on the Board and ultimately evolving to a deeper leadership support (executive service and leadership through Board Service, committee service, Next Gen Leaders, as well as a corporate-wide demonstration and advocacy for our mission).
Q: Would you articulate why you work with us in such a deep, committed way?
A: Marketing EDGE and Javelin share a passion for developing talent from the early stages of an individual’s career, to prepare them for the workforce and then support them throughout their careers. Engaging at the intersection of academia and the business world, Marketing EDGE provides a unique and useful way to cultivate emerging talent as well as to help participants secure jobs and succeed in their marketing careers. It gives us access to well-educated and well-prepared marketing talent across the country, insights about what they want and need so we can support their success in the workforce, and ongoing dialog with academia, companies and students to align curriculum in schools and companies to ensure our new talent will thrive in the working world.
Q: The Corporate Leadership Program was introduced in 2015. Javelin is one of the Founding Sponsors in what is a completely new mission-driven approach to engaging our corporate partners. What are the most significant ways that the CLP can fit into the overall talent recruiting strategy at Javelin?
A: We are proud to be a Founding Sponsor of the Corporate Leadership Program. Initially, Marketing EDGE was a personal passion of CEO Pam Larrick, but through our agencywide engagement and involvement, there’s a widespread agency appreciation for all the organization does for our industry. We believe the CLP provides Javelin, an Omnicom Group company, an opportunity to deliver on our passion for the marketing industry and our never-ending quest for the best and brightest to join our mission to deliver great work to our clients. By engaging at this extra level of involvement, Javelin can commit to being an integral partner and participant in this select community within the marketing industry. We believe that actions speak louder than words, so we’re investing in our future talent and ensuring that graduates have an appropriate foundation of skills, awareness and ambition that aligns with employment opportunities.
In turn, the CLP can provide Javelin with ready-now candidates to fill our pipeline today and in the future as interns and first-time hires develop into our rising stars, and it can inform us as employers, mentors and champions about how we can best serve as catalysts for emerging talent to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Q: What are your expectations of this sponsorship? How can we at Marketing EDGE ensure your vision and expectations are realized, both for your organization and the industry?
A: One consideration for the future is how we can offer forums like webinars and podcasts that feature academia, students and/or companies to share insights about how we are working together to deliver on the Marketing EDGE mission. Sharing success stories, personal accounts and academic requirements that align curriculum to workplace needs could be inspirational as well as a fantastic way to promote our cause and celebrate our success.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to relay about this program, about talent development, and / or Marketing EDGE?
A: Just a big thank-you from all of us! It’s wonderful that Marketing EDGE is a catalyst for enabling both corporations and individuals to make a difference in students’ lives. Keep it up for the next 50 years!