Get the right people on the bus
"Go find the people that didn't know the bus was there!"
Christopher Kenna | Founder | Brand Advance Group
> How would you explain what “get the right people on the bus” means?
> What do you think about this ‘advice’?
> Would you give this advice to other people?
> If not, what alternative advice would you give to agency leaders?
> Who do you think should own the vision in an agency?
> Christopher Kenna's favourite interview question
How would you explain what “get the right people on the bus” means?
Getting the right people on the bus means having the right people to take your vision forward. That changes for different people. But the key question is are these people all facing the same direction with the same end goal? Are they all going to achieve what it is that you want them to achieve? Are they going to work together? Are they from a diverse mix of cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds and bring diverse voices that can really fix a client's problem well and differently.
What do you think about this ‘advice’?
I don't like anything that sounds old school and sounds like it was made 50 years ago. I guess it makes sense: Get the right people on the bus. But it just doesn’t feel positive.
What do you mean by the right people?
Are you talking about their background?
Are you talking about their education?
Are you talking culturally?
Would you give this advice to other people?
No, that exact sentence would never come from my lips. But if I understood the meaning of the originator correctly, you can't bring a vision to life without having the people that believe in it and have the knowledge, expertise, whatever it might need to make it happen. So I would say something similar, but not exactly in those words - it just sounds a bit old school.
If not, what alternative advice would you give to agency leaders?
Rather than “Get the RIGHT people on the bus” I would ask:
Who's on the bus already?
Who's never caught that bus?
Because those are probably the people that should be on it. They're just not on it right now.
Agencies are asked by their clients to do better work than the year before, than the day before. The only way you can do that is with people. Some people might not even know that the bus is there, where it stops or have the belief they can get on it. But they can bring something different, magical and special to the work that you do at your agencies. Therefore have a look at who's on the bus now, when you think you've got them, get them off again and go find some people that didn't know the bus was there!
Who do you think should own the vision in an agency?
Everybody. I'm saying that through from experience. Because if you had asked me four years ago, I thought I had to own the vision and everyone else just had to do it. Now I know that's not leadership and that it doesn’t work. If everybody else is just doing what they're told, then it's not really a vision, it's just a demand. My background is from the military, so I had to change demands to visions, infusing and making everybody have the same passion. So yeah, the vision sits with everybody.
Christopher Kenna's favourite interview question
I love it when I get to the end of an interview and especially if the candidate has been nervous the whole way and then you're like: “OK, what should I have asked you?”
And they light up!
“You never actually asked me about this…”
Or they tell you stuff about themselves.
Things they've achieved.
(Chris jokes in his Mancunian accent)
Some are talkers though - don't ask that question to someone from Manchester, because they won’t shut up!
Christopher Kenna's bio
Christopher Kenna is chairman and founder of Brand Advance Group // CEO (North America) which encompasses Brand Advance Group EUROPE & BA Diversity Media USA, a Startups.co.uk top 100 company the last 3 years (2021), and connects brands with diverse audiences globally, through insights, media and creative.
Brand Advance Group was named (Campaign 2021 - media Business of the year) & (The DRUM - Diversity & Inclusion Company of the Year 2021).
Christopher is a director at UK Conscious Advertising Network (CAN) and US country lead for (CAN), and as a mixed race, out gay father - he is a strong advocate for diversity and representations within media and advertsing. He is also on the advisory boards for ITV, WFA, Tiktok, London MetPolice and the V&A Museums.
An award-winning entrepreneur having received the Innovator of the Year Award at the second annual Ex-Forces in Business Awards and was recently named on EMPower’s 100 Ethnic Minority Executives 2020 and OUTstanding top 100 LGBT Executives.
Humble promo of Christopher Kenna and the Brand Advance Group
We talk a lot about authenticity and being "genuine", but how often do we come across a person who can really claim to be the same when they're at work, at home, with friends, with family, etc. I've not known Christopher long, but I sense that he just is who he is in every situation - and people can take it or leave it. That's true authenticity, something that can be really hard to achieve, in a world where people are increasingly afraid of rejection and ridicule - hat off to Christopher Kenna! His company Brand Advance Group are also tackling an important topic and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Christopher and his agency.
Daniel (Polymensa founder)
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