Why A Change In Agency Leadership Doesn’t Always Mean Trouble Ahead

I recently attended the 4A’s Management Practitioners Forum, and one of the panels focused on how agencies develop senior management teams and handle leadership succession. It reminded me of a dynamic that we often observe between clients and agencies when agency turnover, particularly at the highest levels, occurs.

Many times the press will pick up on a change in senior leadership and clients will go into panic mode— assuming that this means the agency is in flux and a sign of trouble ahead. However, what we’ve found, and what was echoed in the panel, is that while senior turnover can often be interpreted as an agency shake-up, more often than not, it’s actually an artfully orchestrated succession plan.

So what can agencies and clients do to avoid undue panic when a new agency leader takes the reins…seemingly out of nowhere?

For clients, when you hear of a change in agency leadership, learn more first. Don’t jump to the conclusion that the change is in response to a problem at the agency and will negatively impact your business.

For agencies, communicate to your clients what went into the transition from one leader to another. Letting them know how a new leader has been groomed will help assuage their fears that the change is a negative and build their confidence that it is instead a strategically planned move that will benefit all.