Yesterday, advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell compared creative directors to “chimps,” described advertisers as “mathsmen and madmen,” and outlined the pains of managing successful people.
It was the opening of the first Advertising Week Europe, and the session was called “Winning.”
WPP CEO Sorrell and Sir Dave Brailsford, coach of Great Britain’s wildly successful (and wildly drunk) Olympic cycling squad, exchanged tips and personal questions on successful management.
Sorrell admired Coach Brailsford’s techniques, specifically mentioning the practice of disinfecting his cyclists’ hotel doorknobs before they check in.
Then things got deep: he asked how Brailsford was affected by “being a middle child” and waxed Freudian, asking “Is your mother a dominant woman?”
Sir Martin also alluded to difficulties managing successful members of his senior staff, asserting, “I find that when individuals become successful and powerful they become harder to manage. The better the people, the less co-operative they are.”
Perhaps Sorrell’s relationship with his mother is worth further inquiry — we already know from a 2011 interview that his earliest memory is his mother closing the kitchen door on his finger.
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