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Creativity Needs a Drill Sergeant, Not a Muse

Stan Richard’s insistence on strict rules may seem at odds with running a successful, creative advertising agency but his company has created some of our time’s most memorable ads. 

What’s the Latest Development?

While the advertising industry likes to cater to its creative employees want for a relaxed and leisurely workplace, complete with office pool table, Stan Richards, founder of the The Richards Group, has long insisted on strict rules. While his vision of the advertising world has adapted to changing circumstances, he still insists that drudgery and creativity are not mutually exclusive. Even today, his employees keep detailed time sheets that account for every 15 minutes of work. 

What’s the Big Idea?

While Richards’ business has suffered some setbacks during the transition to the modern advertising world—where new and agile companies can outmaneuver older, more established ones—his insistence on hard work and accountability has saved the company’s bottom line. “Creative people, in advertising as in other fields, have a primary goal: to make something great. To do that, it helps to have a leader who cares even more deeply about making your work great than you do.”


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