Account Management

AD’s and above, what advice do you have for an experienced Account Sup interviewing for Account Director roles? Key questions to nail? Things to say/convey? Things to avoid doing or saying?

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Biggest thing I see in interviews with people looking to make the jump is they approach talking about the work from a "doer" standpoint vs. a "leader" standpoint. I need to know you can see it from that side, which is a different view. Approach your talking points as if you are already in the title to show you have the chops.

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Totally accurate - at that level your responsibilities to the client, the team and the agency overall are completely different than just ‘delivering the work’. Your strength in building relationships, selling the work and understanding of the agency revenue model (time = money) are all key factors in that transition.

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Agree with all responses above. Making the shift from AS to AD is a big one. As stated above, it’s showing thought leadership along with excellence in execution. When you can show that your clients, colleagues, and jr reports are now coming to you for your ideas or thoughts on a subject not just to get something done. It seems like a subtle shift but in reality it is a significant one. Also remember leadership is not something that comes with a job title. You can be a leader at any level. Good luck!

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Everything above plus actually speak strategy in an interview setting. Lots of sups interview for director roles, but you realize they aren’t ready when they can’t speak to their client’s business. What is the health of your client’s business? What business problem are you solving for and how are you solving it? What insights led to this? Many sups get stuck in production-land for years and don’t have (either) the opportunity to lead strategically or aren’t able to. Also, be prepared to be able to write a compelling deck. I’ve seen more and more agencies requiring a deliverable to demonstrate your thought process and writing abilities. Nothing sucks more than an AD who can’t write a deck.

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Sup to Director is a shift from herding cats to being able to lead and direct cross-functional teams. You already know how to make stuff happen, but your new role is to keep everyone on mission and on task while building and maintaining a relationship of trust with more senior-level clients. You will be asked for your POV on a wide variety of things from strategy, research, and creative direction to channel selection, competitive analysis, and production. It will be good for you to be able to demonstrate that you are decisive, strategic, and play very well with others across departments.

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Another question I get a lot is what's my management style. I believe the answer should always be"adaptive". ADs need to dial up or down their style to get the best out of a team member, a creative director, or a client. You need to be able to work at everyone else's level, at any given moment without losing your direction. Sometimes tough and telling people what needs to happen. Sometimes being collaborative and coming in with solutions. Knowing the difference of when is what makes a good AD

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