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Men at Their Best: Matt Scheckner

(Image credit: Unknown)

In This Series

Who do you most admire in the industry for their contribution to a positive workplace?

Someone who has done a phenomenal job is Ogilvy, who have just moved into the Sea Containers building. They had a great home court advantage, and they’ve created something that really works environmentally for their employees. I think they’ve veered away from the standard, generic, bland, could-be-a-law-firm type of look, and instead they’ve embraced their environment. They’re on the river and have lots of common spaces, lounges and interesting meet-up areas. They’ve also got really good, healthy stuff for everybody to eat – they’ve just created an environment that is very conducive to productivity and creativity and as clients visit they'll come off really well.

Who sets a great example for handling pressure in the workplace?

How you react when things don’t go your way is a critical measure of a senior leader’s ability to manage and lead. Not everything will go your way – learning to deal with it happens with time and somebody who’s been around longer will do a better job in those situations. One of the things that we need to get back to as a business culture is the notion of looking people in the eye, sitting down face to face. The technology that means you can stay connected 24/7 often replaces that now. You’re a better leader if you’re spending more time in the field with clients, customers, colleagues, partners; and I think there’s no replacement for that.

What’s the best advice you’ve received on stress management?

I’m definitely a hip-shooter, but I think a good piece of advice is “Take a deep breath before you hit send.” I think just being really transparent is probably the best piece of advice I ever received. Nobody wants to give somebody bad news, but if something doesn’t go right, there's a real loss of accountability nowadays – nobody wants to admit they’re wrong. I think that creates more stress and more problems. Sometimes it’s OK to say “You know what? I got that wrong. That was my mistake.”

Who has helped you most with maintaining a work/life balance?

Someone I really admired was a guy named Bud Greenspan, who passed away a few years ago – he really invented the genre of the sports documentary and did all the official films for the International Olympic Committee for many years. Bud said: “90% of the time, people like to talk about the 10% that’s bad, but I spend 100% of the time talking about the 90% that’s good.” I think there’s a real lesson there. I also worked for a guy named Don Smith who also passed away unfortunately. He was a publicist for the New York Giants, and he taught me to always keep your sense of humour on the frontburner, and if you’re not laughing for a good part of the day, or making other people smile then you’ve got the wrong motivation. There’s a great value in Adweek Europe because we make a great deal of people feel good about the business they’re in.

Who has been responsible for the best office environment you’ve experienced?

I think Kathleen Saxton at The Lighthouse Company has created a really terrific culture. She’s as driven as anybody I know, but I think she just really gets the importance of environment and culture, so definitely her.

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