Over-specialisation kills

I’ve banged on (in this blog and relatively recently in Communication World) about how over-specialisation has done a lot of damage to organisations’ ability to engage their people.

What has happened is that the engagement efforts of many organisations are broadly driven by an agenda based on the heritage/skill set of the manager or the consultant/agency.  In short, if you ask an HR-heritage person you get an HR solution; if you ask a statistician, guess what? it’s about tracking engagement drivers in your data set.

Recently, I’ve met with several of Publicis’ agencies around the world and we’ve agreed that this is actually true at the strategic level. Agencies themselves have become over-specialised. 

So if a client wants to “join things up” — for example, if they want a data-informed approach, featuring, say, face to face workshops, but aligned with brand – the chances are they need more than one agency to support them.  This can’t be fun for them.

So, maybe the pendulum is swinging back toward full-service providers rather than micro-specialists.  Or at least providers with robust “loose ties” to the hyper-specialists needed to get the job done.

Multi-specialists, this is your time.


One thought on “Over-specialisation kills

  1. Kevin,

    How right you are. I have seen the same issues in my travels. Like HR wants to create a separate “employer brand”, developed by an HR agency without involving Marketing or Corporate Communications. And of course there is a long heritage of the Advertising department creating a branding campaign and not bothering to explain it to employees…

    Agencies need to get over the need to say that they can do everything–even if they are generalists, there are some things that are best left to experts. And corporate clients need reach out beyond their silos and tap internal knowledge.

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