Advertising Agency Case Study

A small firm with big vision, plans and goals, this family-owned agency had patched together executive roles and responsibilities haphazardly to get the job done over the years.  A phase one company on the growth curve, every one pitched in as the needs arose and served the client well.  Over time, however, as the business results grew and responsibilities to match them mushroomed, the CEO could see the team losing effectiveness and growing resentful.  He called us in to facilitate a leadership retreat of two days duration.

Client’s goals: 

1. revalidate the agency’s vision, mission, and goals
2. reinvigorate the executive team with teambuilding
3. revisit roles and responsibilities and set goals


Our solution was to provide a blended Appreciative Inquiry and BrainStyles™ Leadership and Teamwork agenda at an off-site location for the entire agency (24 associates).  Prework included reading The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry and taking The BrainStyles  Inventory© 2.0.  During the Appreciative Inquiry first 1/2 day agenda, the associates were grouped by intact departmental teams with their leader, e.g. Client Services, Creative, Operations, Media.  Using the Dialog, Discover, Dream, and Design methodology of AI, their deliverables were short presentations of their prioritized goals and commitment for the coming year.


Upon this very positive note, the BrainStyles™ agenda ensued for 1-1/2 days, beginning by identifying each associate’s brainstyle profile (Knower, Conciliator, Conceptor, and Deliberator).  Discovery of an overwhelming majority of Deliberators and Conciliators in the agency roster was illuminating.  The two Knowers (both Directors) became aware of their contribution of goal clarity and implementation logistics.  The Strengths Contract between two executives, the CEO (Deliberator) and the HR Director (Knower), was a “homerun”.  It resulted in shifting roles and responsibilities according to a new appreciation for brainstyle gifts and limitations.  It also opened up opportunities for a staff person in HR with Conciliator gifts to take on more responsibilities related to her strengths.  The CEO declared, “This was teambuilding with concrete results!”

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