Account management at your service

Loads of great stuff was invented in the 80’s.

IBM made the first home personal computer, Apple created the Macintosh, Jerry Bruckheimer/Don Simpson invented the ‘High Concept’ format immortalized by Top Gun & Top Man started selling black leather ties with cocktail shaped iconography on them.

Another great invention from the 80s is the SERVQUAL model & it contains 5 basic fundamentals to being an account man:

1) Reliability: the ability to perform the promised service dependably, accurately & consistently over time.

2) Responsiveness: speed, flexibility, promptness & willingness to help.

3) Assurance: the knowledge & courtesy of staff & their ability to inspire trust & confidence.

4) Tangibles: physical facilities, equipment & staff appearance

5) Empathy: caring, individualised attention to customers.

All of these elements can be looked at with regard to developing ongoing relationships with clients. Most often for the ongoing betterment of a client/agency partnership & the build of the sort of trust that takes good work to great.

But, of course, having these basic in place are the hygiene factors. No-one notices when they go smoothly – but they sure as hell do when they don’t. And so this brings us to – what I think even more today – is the most important aspect of account management in the agency: the team dynamic.

Teams can come in all shapes & sizes. And that should be celebrated.

In my opinion, great people tend to manage themselves & don’t need active management to be successful. If the conditions are right then you stand a chance of not just getting the good players – but having them play successfully together too. Here’s a summary of some of the things I try to keep in mind:

1. Clear, engaging direction.

Superb teams, far more than ineffective ones, have a clear & engaging direction. A sense of why the group exists & what it is trying to accomplish. A unifying vision & reason to get out of bed every morning. And a reason to sleep soundly at night.

2. A real team task

A self managing team requires work that is designed to be done by a team. Spending time together as a whole team is critical.

3. Rewards for team excellence.

4. Basic material resources.

5. Authority to manage the work.

This means that the team & not just the leader are empowered to make decisions.

6. Team goals that fit the organizational objectives.

7. Team norms that promote strategic thinking.

The best high performing teams are comprised of individuals who have an outward awareness and understanding of the context/environment they are operating in – not just the task at hand. The task has to align with the why/the higher calling & reason for giving their all.

Otherwise it’s ‘just’ a job. And n0-one in our business wants ‘just’ one of those…

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