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Sophisticated Mongrel

At Strategy Design & Advertising, we know good relationships are the foundation of what we do. As a result, choosing the people to help us build those relationships is of paramount importance.

In this five part series, we asked a selection of our Managing Partners what qualities they look for when they’re hiring new staff. Part one and two covered IQ and EQ (available on our website), but from there we moved in a new direction.

When Strategy’s Group Managing Partner Geoff Cranko first mentions ‘Sophisticated Mongrel’, it seems like a classic Geoff-ism. He uses the phrase to describe a quality that has become central to his hiring process – a quality that always makes a candidate stand out. “Sophisticated Mongrel,” he explains, “is about having the drive to win, but knowing the way to do it right”

The idea that complements Sophisticated Mongrel is in fact a sort of Geoff Mantra: MSH, or Make Shit Happen. “There are a lot of people that talk away about how good they are – but less that actually walk it. Finding people who actually make shit happen? That’s gold.”

As it turns out, it’s an idea that comes up again and again with all the Managing Partners – phrased differently, but the same in essence.

Fraser Callaway – front man at Strategy in Wellington ­– has been described as a businessman with “a designer’s head and an entrepreneur’s heart”. Prior to joining Strategy he launched his own company, Refold, a highly successful kickstarter campaign.

Having been through that process, Fraser can’t help but respect it when he recognizes the same drive in other people. “You have to be able to back yourself. To put your name to something, and go out on a limb to make it happen”.

There are a few words that spring to mind for Fraser – intelligent, confident, driven – but it’s passionate that we come back to. “Someone who has the ability to own their ideas, and drive them without being told. That’s a rare thing”.

For Steve White, Managing Partner in Sydney, it’s about being genuinely keen to throw yourself into something. “You need to really want it. Eagerness and a desire to keep learning – that’s almost as important as being the most experienced person in the room”.

Look out for Building a Creative Culture: Part Four coming next week, and in the meantime look through our website to find more of our thinking.