Answer: When Vicky joined the agency, it had recently suffered the loss of a major client. The challenge was to stabilize the office, win sufficient business to replace what was lost, and compete for talent. Despite top tier global credentials, the firm was scrambling to establish a reputation for both excellent work and as a great place to build a career. During her first few years, the momentum grew and the firm met its goals. Vicky said new clients came from all sectors. The teams had to be flexible, creative and focused on getting the work done. This was not an easy task.
Despite the pressure, under the leadership of the GM, the culture was positive and supportive. Vicky could set her own schedule and was never micro-managed. It was a great place to work with frequent small perks that indicated the leadership wanted the office to be a “fun” place. There were a variety of in-house events that fostered that culture, along with the professional development opportunities that Vicky was involved in.
The office prospered, becoming one of the most successful in the entire nationwide network. It was an impressive achievement. Considering the market potential of this office, compared with the much greater potential of larger marketplaces throughout the US, there was great interest from senior executives at headquarters about how this was achieved. In particular, the focus was on the team that was responsible for the success that outshone the logical top picks.
A decision was made to promote the local GM to a new role which represented a step up in preparation for an international leadership post. A Senior VP with excellent operational experience and a direct report to the GM, but not a charismatic leader, was promoted to the GM role.
From Vicky’s perspective, that was not a role she coveted. The reason for her stability at the agency varied over the years. As she raised a family her flexible schedule allowed her to do that comfortably. Later, there were other reasons as she developed new ways to continue to mentor staff, as an example. She always enjoyed the client relations and new business aspects of the work.
Ultimately, she had a job she shaped, was appreciated for what she had accomplished, and reported to an excellent GM. But a change in leadership came with a change in culture. Gradually, the office became less supportive of her efforts, more structured, turnover increased while client wins declined. She did not find it to be a fun place to work anymore.