Be Magic...Not Kobe....Or Why the Account Manager is Your Go-To Guy

Nov 07, 2019

Be Magic (Not Kobe) or...Why the Account Manager is Your Go-To Guy

By Tom McCoy, Vice-President, Client Service


Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to be said for Kobe. He’s a rare breed of athlete. Confident and prolific, generational go-to guys don’t come around all that often. But when it comes to account managers, I’d take Magic over Kobe any day.  Partly because it serves my purposes. 

I’m not Kobe. I don’t need to handle the ball all the time, nor do I need to be the guy to take every game-winning shot. Said another way, I’m not an extrovert. Yet, even the introvert can thrive in the agency environment. 

I’m also not a creative or a media buyer or a strategist. I’m not the main event. As an account person, I’m involved in everything, but I don’t produce anything that the public will see. And that’s ok by me. 

The key professional character trait any agency account person can learn from Magic is to concentrate on their assists column over points. Agencies across the world are packed, door-to-door with account people who clamber to be the loudest voice in the room. 

What if that focus shifted? 

What if account people instead focused on setting up their peers, clients and everyone else on the team for success, rather than worrying about how to make themselves look good?

I believe account people and, for that matter, people in general would be more successful, more well-liked and more effective. To really labor the analogy though, Magic was deadly in every position on the court. He was what I like to refer to as an “expert generalist.” A 6’ 10” point guard who can play center in the NBA finals is a rare breed indeed. 

So how can we possibly emulate Magic? He could handle everything, he put others first and he was also a really fun guy. 

That’s a tall order. 

To me, the key to it all is being curious. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also opens an account person up to a multitude of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! 

Prioritizing learning outside of the core areas of expertise and interest makes for a more well-rounded account person. One of our company values is “To teach is to learn twice.” Simply put, we are always learning. 

Make yourself uncomfortable. Try something new. Take a Curiosity Day! At our agency that means a paid day off of work to explore something you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the chance. 

What does all of this mean to you? It will mean you can play more positions on the court and set up your team for success. 

And it will make you indispensable.  And that’s a big win. 

It may even land you a front office job one day (awkward face emoji).