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Carrie & a splash of Christmas sparkle with Moray Maclennan

A lucky few of us entered Golden square on Tuesday searching for the renowned home of M&C Saatchi. The reason for our trip was not to shop, inspect their Christmas window display or indulge in any festivities but instead to have lunch with the Global CEO Moray Maclennan.

We were ushered to the top floor for Turkey & Cranberry goodies and a view over the magically festive Carnaby Street (it felt slightly like a scene from miracle on 34th street in a ‘London’ way).

Moray greeted us by opening up about the pressure to be inspirational and funny but he needn’t have worried for we had 2 remarkable and unforgettable hours (the setting certainly lived up to the live inspiration). He took us through his 80’s, 90’s and naughties…the charm, banter and gravitas are impossible to capture in words, but hopefully some of his lessons might be slightly easier to bring to life.

So what was the 80’s about?

 When you are a fledgling in your career

work harder, think deeper and care more

He spoke about the way ‘a business can run you’ and you need to try and step out of that and scope what the business is about, and what you can offer. Moray encouraged us to have an unrivalled passion for what we do – he said you need to get closer to the products and services you work on than anyone else. Our mission as scholars is clear – we must develop a near obsession with what we do. I say that as an obsessive pet lover who regularly visits our factories to panel petfood – it is something not many do but his words made me realise I should do it more, not less.

During this time Moray learnt to be generous to others, he played this out by encouraging us all to be confident but never defensive. We were all challenged that we would know a ‘skater’ – someone who floats on the work and graft of others but is not someone who truly delivers – obviously something to avoid as he describes such people as extremely ‘so easy to spot’.

And the 90’s?

The theme of leveraging your strengths has been reiterated by everyone I have met at the Academy – Penny Ferguson, Katherine Tulpa, Sue Farr and many more. Moray reiterated the need to leverage what you are awesome at. In the 90’s Moray spoke about realising you need to find the things you are going to be phenomenal at.

We were encouraged to develop good antennae and ‘cue sense’. We must strive to understand the long term game and how all of the actions we take can drive the end result.

At this time he spoke about the importance of working hard and making people want you to succeed. He spoke about people wanting him to do well – a hard thing to balance with drive and a noticeable competitive streak.

He spoke about hard times being strengthening as one realises ‘this is as bad as it can get’. Moray encouraged us to balance the strategy we have in our heads with the practicality of delivering results.

The magic words for me being ‘if in doubt do it’. It reminded me of the inspiring Nike statement that still makes me feel like I can run, jump and almost fly with the way it riles my competitive spirit.

We learnt so much in the ‘90’s’ time of our lunch. We learnt to take the stabilisers off and let our people take complete responsibility & to distil decisions into the simplest choices.

 By the time we hit the 00’s – the naughties –  we were talking about having no doubt in what you and your business stands for. The way that M&C Saatchi present that is awe inspiring for any brand.

I was also struck by his belief that work can be serious fun. We all have the days that we could stay overnight because we are energised, excited, delivering and having some bloody good banter. I truly believe bouncing to work, loving what you do & achieving great results are a result of having a blast at work.

 The Moray experience was littered with his questions back to us – it is rare for someone to be interested let alone seem to genuinely care.

 So our festive Moray cocktail was a colourful and inspirational mix of learning, serious advice & banter – with topics ranging from Hugh Grant, to bugging rooms & even a splash of Nigella Lawson. So big thanks to the awesome Academy for setting it up, the wonderful fellow scholars – and of course Moray for a wonderful day. The excitement will continue in 2011 so let’s see what more marketing magic it brings.

Stay Curious


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One thought on “Carrie & a splash of Christmas sparkle with Moray Maclennan

  1. Nice one Carrie O, I enjoyed this. Was particularly struck by the notion that ‘a business can run you’ – even if, or especially if, you’re a hard grafter with a strong work ethic. It has been a real learning for me over the last year to recognize the importance of regaining control of your own work life and development, and not letting the business dictate it for you.

    Wish I could have been there, sounds like another classic Academy luncheon!


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