23 Years as a Creative Agency MD

Next up as part of our sharing the Wisdom Series is our chat with John Argent, Managing Director of Six.

The purpose of our series is it to continue to share what it’s really like to be a part of the sectors we operate in. We like to showcase incredible achievements of those around us and we provide a platform for those with experience to share their expertise and wisdom with their peers as well as the future generation. That’s what we are always about.

As part of this, we asked John Argent what ‘key things’ he’s learned and could pass on to those within his sector, those working in the same profession as well as the next gen of talent.


After moving from London to Bristol in 1994 with a business degree and a number of years’ agency experience under his belt, John teamed up with creative Steve Sackett. 23 years on and with a much bigger team around them, Six (formerly called Studio Six) has a variety of large clients across the automotive, education and financial services sectors including BP, Lloyds Bank and UWE Bristol.

Now, John, in an attempt to capture some of the wisdom you’ve gained during the past 23 years of managing brand and creative agency Six, what are some “stand-out things” you’ve learned as a professional that you could share?

1. Hard work earns the right to be lucky.
It’s hard not to trot out the same old predictable pearls of wisdom, however if they’re true then they’re worth repeating – so here goes with No.1. Gary Player famously said that the more he practised, the luckier he got. We have enjoyed extraordinary good fortune over the years for which I can’t claim specific brilliance on our part. That said we shouldn’t apologise for being in the right place at the right time and then being able to see and react to opportunities that come along. In these ‘enlightened’ times of ‘fairness’, a good work ethic is neither evil nor a weakness…I am sure we all notice and appreciate it when we experience it in our daily lives – and as an agency I am quite sure clients have in turn been happy to see and reward those agencies that demonstrably go the extra mile for them.

2. Back yourself, do the right thing…and good things will happen.
We never know it all, and nor do our clients but if we work with integrity and with sound principles things will work out in the long term. Agencies hate to say no, however the few times we have declined to pursue a tempting opportunity (through lack of required scale or expertise), our standing with those clients has in fact risen and they have sought other ways to reward us with the right kind of work.

3. Teamwork is best – and keeps you sane!
Just as none of us know it all, neither can we do it all, so building and having a great team around you is not only good business, that’s where all the real pleasure and job satisfaction ultimately manifests itself…and sustains us through the dark days!

4. Be generous – what goes around…
This is rarely about money, but your trust, thinking and time and what might be really helpful to others doesn’t really cost us much at all. People who are worth knowing are only too happy to reciprocate and if they don’t, you know to move on and not to waste your energy on them in the future. This is easy enough to experiment in a controlled way, and you can test your skill at judging people if and when you then ask for help and can see who steps up.

5. Embrace bad experiences – they are far more educational!
We never like it when things don’t go to plan but boy do we learn so much more from those mini disasters! Things like, who we can rely on, what we should do next time, what definitely not to do and we become just that bit wiser and more useful to others going forward!

6. Be hard on the role, soft on the person.
Great advice from Sue Tumelty of the HR Dept has served us well over the years as we seek to provide a firm but fair, caring and ultimately fulfilling environment in which to work, learn and develop.


Thank you John for sharing.

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