Charlotte Beers took over as CEO and chairman of Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide (hereafter O&M) during a period of transformation and change in the advertising industry. The after-effects of the economic shock of 1980’s, rapidly changing industry environment and increasing competition, etc. were all having an adverse impact on the company.
Beers recognized the need for a fundamental change in O&M to revitalize the organization. O&M was the world’s sixth largest advertising agency. Beers wanted to fully utilize the existing competencies and assets of the company to chart a new course for the agency. She wanted to bring the company out of the status quo and regain the …show more content…
She used the concept of brand stewardship as a rallying cry against the structural inertia at O&M. This underlined the need for change at O&M and gave a sense of urgency to that need. Beers then proceeded to create discomfort with the status quo in the organization with a view to initiate and maintain a constructive level of stress among the employees. This made the acquisition of new behavioral patterns easier. One manifestation of this was the setting up of WCS to manage global advertising accounts horizontally. However, she was not very successful in refreezing these new behaviors.
Charlotte used the right combination of Theory E and Theory O for long-term organizational developments. She identified a core-team and used that team to set directions from the top and communicate them to the people below. She was simultaneously focusing on building both the hard side (i.e. structure and systems) as well as the soft side (i.e. culture, behaviors and attitudes of employees) of the organization. Thus, from this view as well, Charlotte’s performance was satisfactory.
Even though O&M regained a substantial portion of the lost ground under the leadership of Charlotte Beers, there is still a long way to go. She faces many challenges ahead. Some of these are as follows:
1. Only a minority of employees truly understand the concept of brand