Airline pilots are required by law to spend a certain amount of time in flight simulators. These machines allow them to simulate most every possible contingency and practice their reactions. After each simulation, they are provided feedback on what they did well, and also on their mistakes.
If they are ever faced with a real flight emergency, chances are that they have done a simulation on it. They know exactly what to do to save the life of the passengers and if possible, to save the plane.
The concept of flight simulation translates well to advertising. Agency personnel are regularly faced with Client emergencies. They can relate to product quality, budgets, timetables and a host of other things. Faced with these pressure filled circumstances, big mistakes can be made and they will cost the Agency dearly. And unlike airline pilots, Agency folks will often lay low and hope the problem goes away.
It never does. It just gets bigger. As do the consequences.
The key insight however is that situations similar to any of the ones mentioned have been faced before. They have been properly handled. There are best practices that can be taught.
In order to avoid the big mistakes that destroy profitability, create “simulations” of different issues. Have Account Management people work through them and highlight the typical mistakes that are made. If possible, lay out a set of best practices for each situation.
The more comprehensive the simulations, the less chance there will be for a profit sapping disaster.