Welcome to another Going. Ahead. With Gage interview! I had the privilege of interviewing Anita Bose, Head of Client and Business Development at W2O Group, who also leads the W2O Marketing Team. She shared insights on being a leader and how her teams operate. I hope you all gain some valuable insight and enjoy the read!
What are you doing to ensure that W2O Group is at the cutting edge?
From a new business standpoint, I’m focused on making sure we have the best approach to address the strategic and creative needs of our current and prospective clients. We obviously have an amazingly bright group of people here and a model that allows us to stand apart, as an analytics-based full-service marketing communications firm. But it’s really on us to make sure that our new business plans and proposals demonstrate our smarts, our world-class creativity and our ability to execute flawlessly to make sure we are meeting all of our client’s expectations.
As we get larger, which is the critical piece, we need to be able to scale our new business process to drive that rapid growth. It’s about coming up with the most innovative and efficient processes that allow us to scale rapidly.
Secondly, from a marketing perspective, I’m focused on using our own marketing expertise to increase attention towards ourselves, as W2O Group, our operating companies and our branded offerings. We tell our clients how to drive attention on a daily basis, now it’s time for us to do it for ourselves.
The last piece would be my amazing Chicago office team. I’m working with all of them to make sure our office becomes a central hub for the company. We have a big anchor client right now, AbbVie, but Chicago has other major global brands here in multiple industries, and our goal is to spread our wings and gain greater visibility and additional clients beyond healthcare. We are very excited to see what we can accomplish here!
What are 3 words you would use to describe our culture?
High-spirited, fun-loving and risk-takers. I think that what I’ve taken away in my short time here is that there is this gregariousness and exciting dynamic to our culture that I love. Even though we are all in different offices and along this long hallway, it’s really all about having this energy and determination to get things done. And making it fun at the same time!
In a few words, describe what your team does for the company:
My “team,” I guess, is anyone who works on new business or marketing. I think it’s really about driving the rapid growth of the company. Finding opportunities, seeing where we as a company can stand out, how to best showcase our great work, great teams and culture, and how to find those great companies that we want to work with.
Thinking of your most successful current employees, what characteristics do they share?
I think it’s interesting in this day and age with all these different technologies, tools and social media, that one of the toughest things to master in any business is being able to communicate effectively. I think that that’s the single most important thing in my mind when hiring a staff member. We are in the client service business and we are always trying to get clients to buy our communications recommendations and that requires us to articulate our understanding of their business and why they should follow our specific recommendations and approach.
We need to be able to present it on paper and speak it out loud. It takes a lot of hard work with all the things rattling around in your brain and all the good ideas that you have to get that good stuff down on paper in a way that makes sense. It’s a fundamental skill and everyone needs to be good at it.
How do you empower your employees to go that extra mile?
To me, it’s all about making sure, no matter what level an employee is, that everyone understands the big picture. We really do a disservice if we just give someone a task and ask them to do it. We need to explain why that task is important and how that fits into the overall objective. I think that really motivates people – people need to feel and want to feel that they are a part of something bigger and that they are making a difference.
What motivates you to get up and come to work every day?
That’s such a great question and it changes all the time during the course of your career! I would have to say that the W2O team in Chicago is so fun and dynamic that I have no problem getting up and coming to work every day. They all motivate me to work hard and play hard. This new city that I live in and have adopted as my new home really helps as well – I really love Chicago and I’m so excited to be here!
If you had to choose 1 company value that represents you, which would it be and why?
#MakeItHappen – partly it’s my job but it’s also kind of how I’m built. I get things done and I always have. My mantra is that you figure out the shortest road home to get the best results and mobilize a team around it to get there.
What is the most difficult leadership decision you’ve had to make in the recent past and what did you learn from it?
There’s so many because being in a leadership position is all about making tough decisions, but I’ll be specific to new business. The great thing right now is that we as an agency are in high demand and we are getting huge numbers of new business opportunities sent our way. What that means is that we need to have a lot of discipline on what we go after and what we don’t. One of the most difficult decisions lately has been saying no to business opportunities because some of them are great companies but it might not be the right fit for us at this moment. No one likes saying no, but we are focused on “scoring” these opportunities and thinking strategically about our rationale for pursuing specific opportunities going forward.