As I get older and put even more miles on my PR clock, I actually find that this job gives me more and more pleasure. Or 'nachas' as my Grandma used to say. ‘What is 'nachas'?’ I hear you asking yourself as you read this. ‘Does he mean a type of tortilla chip?’ as my spellcheck kept on insisting I auto-corrected the word to. ‘What does a tasty Mexican snack food have to do with PR anyway?’ you then probably thought.
'Nachas' is an old Yiddish term meaning that you are happy and proud of someone else's accomplishments and achievements, especially if you played a part in that. It’s that inner satisfaction that you get when you feel really good that something has turned out well for a person that you like or love, and respect. Yiddish is a wonderful old language that used to be spoken mainly by eastern European Jews, like my grandma, in the early 1900s. It's virtually dead now, but a few great words have been passed down the generations. 'Nachas' is one of those words. I get a lot of nachas from my kids, I always have at every stage of their lives as they have grown up. And in this business, increasingly, I get a bucket load of nachas on a regular basis, not only from watching and observing current staff every day, but from seeing and hearing about the success and progress that a whole host of ex-Frank employees are having.
The thing about starting an agency that you never think about at the time of founding it, is the impact it will have on the lives of the people that work in it. You start something because you feel it’s the right thing to do, there's a market gap, you can be good at it, you have a vision and a goal, and it will be more fun than working for someone else!
But you don't necessarily think when you open for business about all the people you are going to employ who will get their experience with you and then in turn and over time, go off and shape and frame the wider PR industry.
In the 16 and a bit years of Frank there have been hundreds of people who have worked here. Many of them have gone on to have fabulous careers outside of PR too, doing all sorts of entrepreneurial stuff, in this country and beyond. But a lot have stayed in PR and communications, both agency and in-house, and are the some of the best people in this industry today.
Obviously you want to keep your most talented people at your agency forever, but in reality that is never going to be possible. As long as you keep enough of them for as long as you can, then you can't get too greedy!
As I've been doing this job I have got to realise and be motivated by the fact that actually one of your most important roles is helping to grow and develop people, so that they can go and prosper in their careers after your agency, not only within it. I feel that if you love this industry, as most of us do, and if you're passionate about its future, then helping people learn and flourish so that they can go on to even greater heights outside of your business is the best thing you can do. Of course, make sure you hang on to the ones that are also going to be part of the journey with you, but sit back and enjoy some of the characters you have helped form go off and fly.
Like most agencies, we value and put a lot into the formal aspects of training to develop our people. But we've always had a commitment and attitude to other, less-measurable, things that I think have helped create some fantastic talents. For example, we've always been almost obsessive about trying to scout, spot and nurture young talent and then give them chances to do stuff that they'd usually have to wait years at other agencies to be trusted to do. We've always believed that instilling confidence in people is fundamental and there's no better way of doing that than by throwing someone in the deep end, without letting them sink of course. We also, informally and because we genuinely enjoy it, end up mentoring employees and ex-employees who perhaps we see a little of ourselves in, or who we just respect and admire for their natural abilities. Either way, we've always spent a vast chunk of our time just being interested in Frankers and passing down knowledge, advice and support when possible.
When I look round this industry today I see old Frankers running agencies, starting up exciting new ones, being creative gurus and planning experts, getting heaps of respect as industry commentators and PR textbook authors, winning awards and generally making an impact in a business I have loved since my first day in it. And I really get a lot of nachas out of that.
Article written by Frank PR founder Graham Goodkind
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