It’s People, Product & Profit for Saurabh Varma, Leo Burnett Group CEO

06 Jan,2015

Sometime yesterday (Jan 5), our inboxes received this mail from a reasonably reliable source. It was written by Saurabh Varma, CEO of The Leo Group in India.

 

We reproduce this as is:

 

Dear Team,

 

Welcome back. I wish you all a brilliant 2015.

 

I wanted to start the year by reminding everyone of our Ambition – to be among the top 5 creative agencies in the world by 2017. Raj has set us this worthy target and we are all united in our pursuit of this single minded goal. Everything we do will be to reach this singular goal together. Overall the building blocks of our approach are guided by the 3 Ps. People, Product & Profit. In that order.

 

You would have noticed that in 2014 we have moved massively on the People front. We are hiring what we call ‘the +A types’. People who want to reach the stars and they want to do that in the most positive and optimistic way possible. These are people who focus on the task at hand and do not let their egos get in the way. Their focus is the quality of our product and the need to solve our client’s problems. They know that to win we need to collaborate. They understand that to create symphony you need many different specialisations working seamlessly. The hiring of leaders like Neha, Kaizad, Sachin & Prajato, Harshad, Antony, Oindrilia & Rakesh in 2014 reflects our resolve to get the right kind of people who are future ready. You will see a lot of fresh talent getting infused in our Group in 2015. Many of these changes will start getting reflected in the next few days. A closer look at these leaders will also reveal that we are hiring a different breed of talent. Talent who can think beyond the 30 second TVC. We are really serious about winning with integration and these leadership changes will help us move rapidly in the new direction.

 

I request you all to focus on the 4 Cs as you look at levels in the organisation. The first C is Curiosity. We want to be child-like in the way we live our lives. We want you to leave your tables and explore the world around you. Nothing will give us more pleasure than people taking all their leave. Sacrifice is in, but the right kind. Hard work is appreciated but not if it comes in the way of us experiencing life. You have our commitment of continuing with this new year break again, next year. Our hope is that next year we are even better organised to take this opportunity to slow down, relax and refresh. So please be curious in 2015. The next C is Champion. Great work stirs resistance. We need champions to help us sell great work. We need people who will not let the incredible idea just die. We all need more champions across the organisation who will challenge the work, shape the work and sell the work. The third C is Craftsman. Leo talked about that restless feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough. We want to live that spirit in our everyday life. We want to reach for the stars, everyday. No matter what you do in the Group, we want you to chase perfection. Average is out. Greatness is all that matters. Finally the 4th and the most important C. Citizens. We live in a world where an idea is shared and created by many. The spirit of knowing that we are all in it together is the fundamental to the organisation we are trying to build. Please populate the agency with people who embody these 4 traits. 2015, will also be a year where we will move forward and create a more performance driven organisation. We need to understand that Growth is everyones job. Growth gives us freedom. Freedom to reward our people. Freedom to train our people. Freedom to create a better destiny for our people. We will reward people who drive growth. Every senior leader will have clear KPIs. Creative leaders will have to deliver on 7+ work. We will need to use our understanding of clients to create and sell them work they need rather than the work they want.

 

On the Product front, Raj and I are both excited about the momentum we have created. Work on KBC, HE (man’s day), Kindle, Imagica & Anchor shows that we are moving steadily in the right direction. With our marquee portfolio of brands, we hope to create incredible momentum in the next few months. Our People changes will help us create this new kind of work. We need to challenge the status quo in the industry and I urge you to be bold in the way you approach communication. Raj and I both think that our clients are ready for this change. They are asking for it. This is our moment and we have to seize this opportunity. Please use the specialisations at your disposal to create new work. Overall we need work which is true to ‘imaginative populism’. Work which is shared. Work which becomes part of peoples everyday lives. Work which our families are proud of. Work which delivers on the Purpose of our brands. Please create content. Please create branded utility. Please use the power of technology to create platforms which are always-on. Please try different things. We urge you to take the risks. We will support risk and failures. We are ready for change.

 

On the Profit front, I promise you a brilliant 2015. Last year we as a group won 37 clients. Many of these wins came in the last quarter. These wins will come into play through the year. Our leaders are committed to zero complacency. We will not slow down. We will build on the incredible momentum we have created. We plan on both organic growth and new business wins. In 2015 we hope to pitch less and win a lot more. Prospecting will play a critical role in the way we approach our pitches. Please be ready for a lot of action.

 

My ask for you is to be brave. Challenge status quo. Be positively paranoid. Win as a team and celebrate your wins. Let 2015 be a year of some outrageous parties.

 

I remember a beautiful quote, ‘The secret of our future is hidden is our daily routine’. Please get your best to the office everyday. Let us together create and shape a new destiny for the Leo Group in India.

 

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