Torrence Boone Talks Talent

Enfatico Chief on Recruitment and Retention

By Published on .

Kelly Eidson Kelly Eidson
Earlier this month Torrence Boone, CEO of WPP's Enfatico, came to speak for University of Texas' ongoing Thought Leadership in Advertising Lecture Series. He told us about the philosophy of Enfatico and the agency's ideas on where the future of our industry lies.

It struck me that Enfatico is a massive exercise in organizing talent. It has lofty ambitions to "crush silos" that agency people often complain about. Enfatico is a huge undertaking, so I asked Boone to explain how his organization handles recruiting and keeping the best people. Here's what he had to say:

Enfatico likes to find people who don't necessarily come from an advertising background. They want people who have an entrepreneurial spirit and are looking to do things differently. They don't want people who are allergic to risk, or those who don't play well with others. Collaboration is key to creativity, so they look to hire people who "have it in their DNA" that they work best in a team. Enfatico's biggest draw is its culture, and the fact that it's something new that people want to be a part of.

Boone says Enfatico likes the philosophy of Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. In a nutshell, Zander argues that organizations should "give everyone an A" when they come in the door, because people are more creative and perform better in a group when they can focus on the project at hand, rather than how they'll be judged by others at the end. Boone said that Enfatico still evaluates employees and expects results, but encourages its people to set their own goals as the standard they'll be held to.

After Boone's lecture, some other students and I had a fairly heated class discussion about the agency and its mission. Enfatico has made some lofty promises and has set the bar high. My opinion is that it's premature to criticize Enfatico before the shop is a year old, especially when most of the work it's produced so far is not directed at an American audience. Rome, after all, was not built in a day. They certainly are talking about change a lot, and they're going to have to live up to it if they want to be taken seriously, but isn't this what all start-ups go through?

I'd love to hear any thoughts you guys have on this. There's obviously a lot of debate about Enfatico, but I think it's in the industry's best interest that they're successful, especially in times like these. As always, it's all going to come down to whether they get the results for Dell.
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