A Knight and a Chairman Emiritus ponder leadership alternatives with Dubai's business chiefs
A DDB Breakfast Series,
Sir Bob Geldof talking Creativity and Humanity
Capital Club, DIFC, Dubai
Thursday May 16, 2013
Dubai, May 20 2013: Two celebrated achievers stirred conversation among more than 80 of Dubai's C-suite executives over a breakfast at the city's Capital Club this month, (May 16 2013).
Sir Bob Geldof, the Irish rock star, businessman and human rights activist provoked a high-energy debate on the relationship between creativity and humanity, probing the question of their role in business.
Geldof, who was knighted by Britain's Queen Elisabeth in 1986, was joined by Keith Reinhard who carries the title of Chairman Emeritus – or life-long chief – of DDB Worldwide, consider one of the world's leading advertising firms.
Reinhard told Sir Bob and the audience that in his view sustainable business must sit on a foundation of strong corporate values.
Sharing his 30-year experience at the helm of DDB, Reinhard suggested that DDB's own guiding pillars could help other organisations also attain sustainability.
“As DDB grew into the global organisation that we see today, I have no doubt that it is business basics built on a culture of freedom that have stood us in good stead and will continue to be our driving force.
“Indeed, our pillars are so simple that if fully embrace they might well have similar application and effect for other enterprises of all shapes and sizes.”
Reinhard said that no one wants to be controlled and by nurturing a work environment that honours liberty internal energy is released and, properly channelled, is manifested as external output.
“When I speak of humanity, I am referring to care and compassion for people, those who work with and for us, those we serve and those with whom we share the planet.”
He noted that Bill Bernbach - the ‘B' in DDB - had a keen understanding of humanity and laid the groundwork with his original twin hiring criteria - be both talented and nice. “Once hired, Bernbach set his talented, nice team free in workplace and the result was – and still is - superior creativity”.
“As you might expect, people who are both talented and nice, working in an environment characterised by freedom, often want to give of their time and talent to purposes beyond making sales and taking a share,” he said.
DDB's inaugural ‘Breakfast With…..' series is jointly hosted DDB Dubai and the Saudi arm, PDDB with DDB's digital agency, Tribal DDB; Tracylocke, a consumer and shopper marketing engagement agency; and CRM/DM full-service house, Rapp. DDB Worldwide is one of the world's largest and most awarded advertising and marketing networks spanning over 200 advertising and marketing agencies in 96 countries.
Side Bar: DDB Worldwide's Pillars of Freedom
• Freedom from Fear – Talent freezes in the grip of fear. Management by intimidation has no place in a creative organisation.
• Freedom to Fail - If people are urged to explore new territory, their efforts may not always succeed, and if we expect them to try again, they must have the freedom to fail.
• Freedom from Chaos - Talent flounders in an atmosphere of management indecision, vacillation, arrogance and uncertainty.
• Freedom to Be - Each individual has a right to be treated with dignity, to be supported in his or her ambitions for higher achievement.