In most well run companies objectives are very clear. Plans are made up that lay them out clearly. And they are cascaded down through levels and departments. Middle management will have a clear understanding of them, and more importantly, what each Manager has to deliver for the company to hit its goals. In order to monitor progress and to make adjustments as required, there are quarterly revisions.
In the Agency world things are different and much looser. This is a hangover from the days when they made lots of money.
Typically, The Managing Director will have the whole picture. He will be responsible for growth and profitability and he might also have a creative quality objective. But from his level on down things get very murky.
The Head of Account Management might have specific objectives that relate to billings or he might be told to “not lose any Clients and win some new ones”. The Head of Creative might have specific creative quality objectives or be told to “win x number of awards”.
There are also very few formal instances within the Agency where progress is monitored. That’s why performance reviews are difficult-things tend to have spiraled out of control.
The next level down is generally flying blind. They have very little idea of the specific overall objectives and often don’t understand their role in achieving them. Instead of working as a Team, they tend to step on each others toes.
I am not making this up.
You cannot run a company like this, even a “creative” or “ideas” business.
Agency Management needs to lay out clear goals, both in terms of growth and profitability and in creativity. Then they must cascade them down. Every middle manager must know what he must do and how it helps the Agency achieve its overall goals. And there must be regular revisions to monitor progress and make adjustments.
You can only hit your objectives if you know what they are.