Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:
In season three of Mad Men, Sterling Cooper’s rainmakers — including Don Draper and Roger Sterling — are planning to leave the ad agency and to take as many clients as possible with them. They’re in the firm’s Manhattan offices on a Sunday morning, plotting their exit, when the knowledge dawns: they don’t know where the client files are. They stare at each other, aghast. Fans everywhere screamed, “Joan! Get Joan!!” And indeed, the hyper-competent office manager, Joan Holloway, joins the men in the next scene, finds the files, and later recreates Sterling Cooper’s smooth-running routines in a new agency.
Sekou Bermiss, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, had the same response as the fan base, but from a different perspective: he was well into a research project examining which executives in ad agencies do the most damage when they leave (and add the most value…
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