Paul Yole in Cannes: 5 take-outs from day 5

Paul Yole Cannes 2015.jpgPaul Yole has been blogging from the Cannes Lions Festival for the past 9 years. This year he is highlighting 5 points a day for his daily coverage.

Someone asked me yesterday if I'd seen any real highlights this week. I said that although there have been some good sessions, I was still waiting for the one that was worth the entire cost of the trip.
 
I may have seen it today in the form of the 72andSunny forum talk entitled 'How to grow the people you want to hire.' It was delivered by CEO John Boiler, Director of Talent Sedef Onar and Maria Scileppi , the Director of the agency's development program, 72U.
 
There are two reasons for my enthusiasm.
 
First, it gave me confidence that, judging by 72andSunny's 350% growth over the last three years, a lot of the talent initiatives we've put in place at my agency seem to be on the right lines.
Second, and far more importantly, the presentation gave me some brilliant insights and ideas that I can take back to Australia.
 
72andSunny now employs 650 people of which 342 have been hired in the last three years. 35% of those were from within and they have the lowest staff turnover in the industry. According to Boiler, their strategy was to "double down on the personal development of our people."
 
You can read about the agency at https://www.72andsunny.com/about
 
Here are 5 things I learned.
 
1. The environment we work is more diverse than ever, so you need to be a unicorn
Great talent can be made so you need to "unleash the creativity in everyone, regardless of discipline." Basically, if you're required to make some really different things, you need really different people. So you need to find people who are brilliant in their speciality but can become a hybrid.
 
Onar describes your craft as your Outer Game, which can be apparent in your work. But what will set you apart is a good Inner Game, which is hard to find in a portfolio. Typically, these people will display a number of consistent characteristics such as:
·       Working for the outcome, not the ego
·       Thriving in a group
·       Being radically optimistic
·       Operating with calm urgency
·       Being a lifelong learner
 
2. Your leaders need to display the required behaviour
In my experience, there is nothing that will derail your culture more rapidly than your leaders displaying inconsistent and/or off-culture behaviour.
 
At our agency we've coached our leadership group to have frequent honest conversations if anyone is dropping the ball. At 72andSunny they even have a life coach on staff. You also need to develop what 72andSunny call an "expansive culture". For example, once an idea is passed by internal review it is posted on a wall for comments and suggestions. As they say, "It doesn't mean shit until it's on The Wall". At this point, they say, "when it's on your desk it's yours, when it's on The Wall it's ours."
 
3. You need a toolbox to develop the right people
As well as the life coaching and expansive culture I mentioned earlier, 72andSunny has annual reviews that are forward looking rather than retrospective so the reviews can be used for growth.
 
72andSunny.jpgThey also believe in fueling new challenges for their people. If someone displays a trait that can be used elsewhere that person can be transferred and trained up, such as the facilities manager who wrote such good and humorous emails they made him a copywriter.
 
4. A dedicated trainee program can pay dividends
72U is a program that is neither a school nor an internship.
 
It is more based upon providing creative opportunities they couldn't get anywhere else. This is their web site.
 
They look for people who enjoy collaboration, are optimistic and happy, curious, solution oriented, generous and life long learners. They also look for good emotional intelligence.
 
The curriculum is changed every year and so far two thirds of the graduates have found permanent employment at the agency.
 
One of their current projects is building a public park in Venice, LA out of recycled materials.
 
5. You need an internal mission too
It's great if you can clearly differentiate your agency by what you offer uniquely, but an internal mission will provide focus and drive for your culture. This needs a strong commitment by everyone from the top down.
 
72andSunny talk about building a platform for personal growth and creative self-expression. They try to teach curiosity, they make it safe to take risks and every Friday they have a beer and talk about what they could have done differently over the previous 7 days.
 
If that appeals to the right kind of 'unicorns' then clearly the agency will be able to develop great work.
 
And that's what it's all about.

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