On  March 16 2017 Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP was guest at
 L4T – Leader for Talent –  a series of meetings aimed for Specialized Masters and MBA Students. This insight was written by Cristina Maria Mion, Student of Full Time MBA.

On March 16th, students, professors and entrepreneurs had the unique opportunity to engage in an open discussion with Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP – the world’s leading company in marketing communications services, through the LUISS Business School Leader for Talent #L4T series.

Sir Martin Sorrell approached the conference in a two-way conversation, using his keen ability to recognize global trends, and his vast personal experiences, to answer questions at the forefront of the audience’s mind. The interactivity and personal insights were characteristic of today’s style of communication, and offered an enriching experience for the leaders of tomorrow to engage with an individual who has shaped the business world of today.

Sir Martin initiated the discussion by sharing his perspective on those trends that are defining the global market and the actions of its members. A time characterized by low GDP growth and minimal inflation, rising cost pressure, emergence of disruptive technologies, and a growing number of active investors, represent unique challenges for current and future leaders. The most significant of these challenges was identified to be the pursuit of balance whilst facing opposing pressures. Sorrell highlighted the importance for leaders to balance the increasing demand for short-term returns and cost-cuts, alongside the growing necessity that firms adopt a more sustainable long-term perspective to growth, capital investment, and value creation.

At an individual level, Sorrell translated this into an ability to balance execution and strategy, that is, that successful leaders have the capacity to inspire and develop strategic visions, without losing sight of the technical performance details necessary to bring them to fruition. Sir Martin also shared with the students his personal leadership values which are characterised by a combination of persistence and speed, a refusal to be deterred by challenges, and a keen belief that nothing is impossible. For the future leaders in the audience, this insight was invaluable and brought a renewed a sense of strength to move forward in the pursuit of meaningful change, despite the somewhat uncertain waters of today’s economy.
Sorrell’s own path to leadership was influenced by advice given to him by his father who stated that “you should find an industry you enjoy, find a company you like, build a reputation in that company, and if at a certain stage, you want to go and start something on your own go and do it.” Sir Martin maintained that this piece of advice should be held true for all those pursuing leadership positions today, with the understanding that the path to leadership is neither short nor linear, but instead requires a long-term commitment to the creation of value whilst facing cyclical changes, emerging obstacles, and opposing economic pressures.

The leadership conference with Sir Martin Sorrell was a highly engaging and informative event that offered future leaders the opportunity to not only better understand the aspects that are shaping the business world of today, but how to can respond to those elements and develop into the leaders that will contribute to the business world of tomorrow.

(Article by Cristina Maria Mion, Full Time MBA Student)