Being an ad agency owner, I’m sure you’ve realized, takes in much more than just the advertising part of your business. No matter the size of your agency, there are times when you’re faced with “non-advertising” issues – some in fact being life or death – that takes you beyond being the leader just because you’re the owner, but into a realm of a brand-new frontier that stretches your emotional limits: true leadership.

Imagine if your agency’s office had to close for three weeks due to a building fire and you had 10 minutes to evacuate? Imagine your city being shut down due to a hurricane. Employees homes were flooded. What would you do? Imagine the death of partner or a team member. Could you become ‘consoler-in-chief?’ How do you train, prevent and handle sexual harassment or discrimination claims?

Among the over 51 agency members of CEO Stars, someone has experienced an unexpected crisis that has tested their leadership abilities and as a result, have shared their own disaster plans. In addition, our agency members have reached out to help fellow members with deadlines and other logistics that minimizes their business interruption.

What I’ve learned over the years is that although you may be an ad agency owner, you’re only a true leader when you’ve been tested with the unexpected. Share on X