How to manage creative people

Winston Fletcher, of Bozell UK Group, having learnt the lesson that you should never try to 'manage' creative people (or at least not to their knowledge), gives some valuable advice on how to go about it

Winston Fletcher

'When you were here I had no idea what you did, but all I know is that it's not being done now and I miss it.'

This was Tim Delaney, chairman and creative director of leading London creative agency Leagas Delaney, talking to his then ex-CEO Bruce Haines. Haines has - unsurprisingly, in the light of Tim Delaney's flattery - since re-joined Leagas Delaney.

Almost ten years ago, in 1988, I published a book called Creative people: how to manage them and maximise their creativity. The UK's leading advertising trade magazine, in a moment of atypical creativity, had the bright idea of asking three top British creative directors to review it. All three dumped on it. Naturally I was upset. ('Bad reviews should ruin your breakfast, but not your lunch', said Kingsley Amis, but I'm not that battle-hardened.)