It’s time we focused on business growth from within

Fold7's Marc Nohr looks at leadership and personal growth

Leadership and personal growth will be one focus at this year’s Business Growth Conference. We spoke to Marc Nohr, CEO at Fold7 and Chairman of the IPA’s Commercial Leadership Growth, about his take on this.

You can also listen to Marc Nohr in a podcast with our Director General, Paul Bainsfair, or book tickets to the IPA Business Growth Conference.

“When we talk about business growth, we often focus on factors outside our own business or sector. However, if we only think about the external levers we can pull to create growth, we are missing a big part of the equation.

Growth comes from within, as much as from without. Our growth and that of all the people we work with is one of the biggest drivers of commercial success.

It’s something I’ve long felt to be true and held as part of my personal philosophy. Then, last year, I worked with Brian Bacon, Chairman and founder of Oxford Leadership, who will be speaking at this year’s IPA Business Growth conference.

Brian is a student of human nature with a polymath’s knowledge of evolutionary biology, mythology, Zen Buddhism, and business theory and practice. An incredibly wise man he has the rare ability to connect the psychological with the commercial. So it’s no surprise he consults to the boards of blue chip companies and governments around the world. Working with him helped me to identify the components of successful leadership… and growth.

His philosophy, which has influenced my own, is that growth comes from the inside out. That the organisations we work in are like living organisms. Growing them requires the pre-conditions for growth, like planting seeds in fertile soil.

And, since organisations are made up of people, their growth is a critical pre-condition. We too often miss this point when we define commercial growth as the remit of 'business development' or client services. Of course, these are important levers, but they are too narrowly defined.

For me, we achieve this personal growth when we make it our mission in life to develop continually, and iterate ourselves in every sense - physically, mentally, and spiritually. When we are learning and acquiring expertise in this way, we are fulfilled and energised. At the most basic level, this can only radiate positively to our clients. On a deeper level, it enables us to achieve a clear sense of purpose. As leaders, it helps us to develop our people, teams and clients.

The advertising industry is going through massive structural change. It is imperative that we equip our people to grow and to adapt. Personal growth is not a recreational pursuit, it is an integral part of our commercial success, and that of our clients. Like the companies we work in, if we aren’t growing, we are shrinking.

I will be reinforcing this point at the conference on 10 July. The idea of personal growth leading to business growth are relevant in any industry, but particularly so in ours, where we rely so heavily on people over machines. But although we are a remarkably people-focused industry, we are guilty of forgetting to apply this to commercial growth. Now is the time to redress any imbalance.”

Book you place at this year's Business Growth Conference, with early bird tickets available until 14 June.

Last updated 21 January 2022