Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

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The contemporary business environment is highly competitive and changeable. These characteristics are shared by most companies across various industries, which creates new challenges for managers. Today, leadership is to show a new level of efficacy, as the increased competitiveness and rapid pace do not leave much room for errors. Thus, the selection of strategic plans by the management needs to exhibit a similar level of correctness and ability to respond to the current challenges. In other words, companies cannot allow themselves to have a slow start or make strategic mistakes, as competitors may conquer their share of the market rapidly. Charlotte Beers faced similar objectives as the new CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, one of the world’s largest advertising companies. This paper focuses on her efforts in this position, evaluating them from various perspectives. More specifically, Beers’ leadership model is examined in its correlation with the company’s vision and actual efforts made by the CEO.

What is Beers trying to accomplish as the new CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide?

Charlotte Beers has taken an active stance on the current affairs at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (OMW) since her appointment as the new CEO. According to Jbarra and Sackley (2011), Beers has been highly engaged with the company’s affairs, leaving herself with little or no time to reflect on the experience. OMW remains of the world’s major player on the global advertising markets, with 270 offices worldwide. Historically, the agency’s strategy revolved around the globalization of the advertising market, uniting brands and customers across various regions of the world. In this regard, OMW responded to the dominant tendency of business globalization enabled by the development of technology, transportation, and communication since the late 20th century. Along with experience and traditions, the agency has nurtured a particular internal environment that concentrated on the internal needs and tended to reject outsiders. Charlotte Beers became a refreshing addition to the OMW’s roster, introducing a new perspective on the business.

Nevertheless, the internally centered model of the company did not enable a favorable environment for a new CEO from the outside. For Beers, one of the critical objectives was to change this relationship paradigm and introduce a new perspective. While she acknowledged the business success of her predecessors, she also noticed a lack of shared understanding and rapport within the company. Thus, Charlotte Beers wanted to venture beyond business planning and delegation of tasks. She wanted to build the work process on the basis of shared values and inspire her followers. Beers believes that mutual understanding creates a healthier corporate environment, which, in turn, translates into better company image and performance on the market. According to the CEO’s vision, the bond between customers and brands is both emotional and logical. Thus, her paradigm focuses on creating a connection within both these dimensions. Overall, Charlotte Beers has been attempting to build a real community across OMW and its multiple offices. She wants all employees to remain in sync, working toward better standards of marketing for brands and their customers.

Leadership Model in Use

Since her appointment as the CEO, Charlotte Beers has wanted to be a leader of a united team of experts who pursue the same goal. Furthermore, the “team” aspect is the one that she has emphasized, as she is not satisfied with a simple delegation of tasks without an emotional context behind them. Beers has focused on establishing a common ground within the company so that each employees knows not only “what to do” but also why it is important. On day one, Charlotte sent an introductory video to each OMW employee across the globe to have a specific face associated with her persona (Jbarra & Sackley, 2011). In terms of business, Beers’ priority has been on shifting from the company’s highly commercialized framework to a new, client-oriented one.

The combination of the CEO’s vision and practical actions is reminiscent of the transformational model of leadership. According to Islam et al. (2021), this principle extends beyond immediate work-related tasks. Transformation leadership relies on trust and shared values, and such leaders seek to inspire their followers, as it easier to attain goals when synchronized. Siangchokyoo et al. (2020) concur, adding that the transformation aspect concerns not only the company’s operations but the employees themselves. The followers are expected to change and adapt the to strategic vision of the organization, thus adopting the key principles as their own. In a way, this idea is a partial definition of inspiration and it is exactly what Charlotte Beers has been trying to accomplish. Similar ideas are presented by Ma and Jiang (2018) who place employee creativity on the pedestal of essential attributes of transformational leadership. Beers has been promoting this quality, as well, because she believes in its instrumental value to the quality transformation of OMW’s image and performance.

Process Assessment

One of the key processes instigated by Beers’ leadership has been to create a true team of professionals within OMW. The very notion of teamwork has been an integral part of effective business discourse for several decades. For example, Mehta (2018) refers to it as one of the pillars of commercial success regardless of the specific industry. As per Nurhayati et al. (2018), decades of business practice reflect a direct positive correlation between teamwork and company performance. However, it would be unwise to name any set of people working together a team.

Charlotte Beers appears to see the difference between the two notions, emphasizing the transition from group relationship to teamwork. In the first case, any number of people who work within the same entity can be called a group. Nevertheless, to become a team, they will need to reach a new level of mutual understanding. Teams function on the basis of shared values and common vision, which is what Beers has been trying to accomplish (Welp et al., 2018). The prevalence of conflicts within OWM is a major impediment in this regard, but this outcome is natural for such profound transformations. It appears that Beers’ followers are on the path to become a team, although they have more work to do to be a good one.

Transformation Assessment

Ultimately, all actions of Charlotte Beers as a leader aim at instigating profound transformations within the company. In this regard, her plans comply with Kotter’s eight-step model of change (Kotter, n.d.). The first step as a CEO was to establish a sense of urgency, meaning that the OMW employees needed to feel that the change is vital for the survival of the company. While it was difficult to build a guiding coalition in a such an environment, this stage was partially completed through finding loyal followers for the new course. At this stage, Beers’ critical objective is to remove the remaining barriers and enlist more followers for the short-term wins to translate into sustained improvements that can institutionalized within OMW.


Ibarra, H., & Sackley, N. (2011). Charlotte Beers at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (A). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

Islam, M. N., Furuoka, F., & Idris, A. (2021). Mapping the relationship between transformational leadership, trust in leadership and employee championing behavior during organizational change. Asia Pacific Management Review, 26(2), 95-102.

Kotter. (n.d.). The 8-step process for leading change. 

Ma, X., & Jiang, W. (2018). Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and employee creativity in entrepreneurial firms. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 54(3), 302-324.

Mehta, A. (2018). Enhancing performance in Indian companies through better teamwork. HR Future, 2018(7).

Nurhayati, M., Pramudtio, O., & Ermawati, E. (2018). The Importance of teamwork on business restaurant in medicating effect of work discipline on employee performance. European Journal of Business and Management, 10(18), 42-50.

Siangchokyoo, N., Klinger, R. L., & Campion, E. D. (2020). Follower transformation as the linchpin of transformational leadership theory: A systematic review and future research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 31(1), 101341.

Welp, A., Johnson, A., Nguyen, H., & Perry, L. (2018). The importance of reflecting on practice: How personal professional development activities affect perceived teamwork and performance. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(21-22), 3988-3999.

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