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Want to Attract Top Talent? Be the Fun Table
Your people are your brand and culture that will attract more talent
Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article about one of the longest-serving agents in Hollywood. At 90 years old, Fred Specktor is the oldest working agent in Hollywood. He’s “lived through several Hollywoods, including today’s.” His clients include Morgan Freeman, Danny DeVito, and Helen Mirren.
Specktor works at Creative Artists Agency, Hollywood’s top talent agency. But that wasn’t always the case. It may sound like an “American Dream” movie script he’d seek for his famous clients to star in, but his first job in Tinsel Town was in the mailroom of talent agency MCA in the 1950s.
Besides being a fun read about a person who, after a half century still loves their job, and all the changes he’s experienced in Hollywood’s evolution, I was struck by one story in the WSJ profile and the lesson it provides for leaders who want to build a strong team and lasting brand:
“In the late 1970s, he attended a wedding reception that would change his life. The groom was George Shapiro, a talent manager known for working with Andy Kaufman and Jerry Seinfeld. The usual Hollywood crowd was there; William Morris, where Specktor then worked, had a table at the reception, and so did CAA.
The William Morris guys weren’t having as much fun as the CAA guys. Specktor wanted to be at the fun table.”
This last sentence struck me as an invaluable lesson for leaders. Everyone wants to work at the fun table. When your team attends events, what do others observe and think about the culture they create at the event? It speaks volumes about their workplace culture. And it attracts top talent who want to be part of that culture.
Even small interactions with your team at personal events like a wedding are an opportunity for your brand to draw more talent to be part of your team.
Fred Specktor, who has scouted and advocated for top Hollywood talent for decades, saw something at that wedding that drew him to CAA, where he has stayed since 1978. As a result, he helped make CAA the top talent agency in town.
What would have happened if the CAA employees at the wedding had been just as boring as his current employer’s table? Specktor may not have ever joined CAA, and some of the amazing actors and movies now considered classics may never have been made.
This week, consider the culture you’ve built at your organization or for your team. Is your culture known for being a great, fun, inspiring place to work? Do others see your team together and think, “Wow, I want to work with them!” If so, congratulations! Keep doing what you’re doing.
If not, consider how you can create a culture that attracts top talent. Your team members are your brand and culture ambassadors. If they’re happy working for your organization, their happiness will draw even more talent that wants to work with the best and be at the fun table.
Start by making sure every employee has the opportunity to grow and thrive. Ask them what it would take to make your organization the best place for them to work. Then implement as many of their suggestions as possible. Your employees are the best representatives of your culture, whether they’re at a work-related event or not. So make your culture the “fun table” and start attracting the Fred Specktors of your industry.
Work happy. Live happy. BE happy.
The way we work and build teams is rapidly changing. Leaders often feel unprepared to navigate the transition. As a conscious leadership coach, consultant, and communicator, Meredith helps leaders and their teams create new ways of working and relating so they can prepare for the future by consciously co-creating it.
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