The Temporary King

temporary king

If you read The Times then the back page of the The Game section recently provided a fascinating insight into the world of the football manager or rather, the world of those who appoint them.

They discuss what on Merseyside they call the Messiah Complex – the never ending search for “the one” who will lead them to greatness once more. And it is not just Liverpool of course, turn the page back and you saw a great graphic that illustrated the point perfectly.

Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal 19 years and 7 days whilst the COMBINED tenure of all other Premier League managers is 17 years and 106 days.

What does this have to do with agency new business you may be saying to yourself – well, we’ve likened an agency to a football team in the past and shall do so again. Matthew Syed continues into the theme of the “temporary king” as discussed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough. Various tribes and mythologies invest all power and authority to the “temporary king” who it is believes will have all power over the crops, weather, rain, wind etc. Yes his role is not really about power but hope.

He is revered in the early months and everything that goes well happens because of him whilst everything that goes wrong is because of malign outside forces – there is then a tipping point where he is then sacrificed and another “temporary king” appointed bringing another cycle of hope, betrayal and then redemption.

It struck me as apposite to the role of the agency new business role; whether internal or indeed external.

I lose count of the number of times I have been told “we’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked”. The agency management cannot expect short-term miracles – yes, it may happen immediately and a new appointment is quickly followed by a string of new business wins; but it is just as likely to start with a string of nothing. Even if it DOES start with a string of wins, this may be followed by a barren spell.

Choose the right person (or partner) and give them time to deliver – give them the time they tell you from the outset. If your partner or new appointment tells you not to expect a win for the first six-months, then give them nine.