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For better or worse every generation is in part a direct reflection of the age within which it grew up. Our formative years shape us in more ways than most of us realise. Much of the current day leadership and management thinking, which has permeated our business world todate, was influenced by 3 major global events of the 20th century. WWI (1914-1918), WWII (1937-1945) and WWIII (1947-1991).

Since its founding in 1908 Harvard Business School (HBS) has played a major role in shaping our organisational thinking. Its history proclaims that ‘HBS is nearly as old as the concept of management education itself.’ Veterans turned to business schools to complete fast track wartime retraining programs. Business schools popped up all over the US and the world modelling themselves on HBS. Officer core from the armed services were decommissioned and went on to form the core management teams of organisations who lead their respective fields in post wartime reconstruction projects. This mixture of military and business acumen has moulded much of the command and control driven management structures and strategies which are embedded within the cultures of many present day organisations.

Advertising, PR and marketing services played an ever increasing influential role in driving growth over these periods of rapid growth. The mid eighties saw the beginning of a massive period of consolidation across these industries. The outcome is that 4 key players (Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis) now dominate the sector. Todate Advertising, PR and Marketing Services has been clear about their role in our push driven world. Their role was that of an agent.

However all that is now beginning to radically change. With the internet finally beginning to truly arrive new tools are emerging which are enabling people to connect and communicate in ways previously thought unimaginable. As we move from a push to a pull driven world Advertising, PR and Marketing Services role as agent no longer fits our coming pull driven new world. Many within the sector are now trying to figure out how they need to evolve if they are to remain relevant in a pull driven world. Back in 1998 I was fortunate enough to realise that the sectors role was evolving from one of agent to facilitator. Unfortunately I never got the memo that said the digital age would not really be arriving until 2005. However looking around the internet I was not alone and in good company. A mere minor inconvience. Thanks to weblogs that will not be a problem in the future.


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