‘People are our assets’ is the clichéd proclamation heard often in agencies. The unimaginative way we utilize the people in the business is the ‘Liability’. The balance sheet is now perfectly balanced. Now, it is not difficult to understand why bean-counters dominate the agency business (or any business for that matter) It is also not difficult to understand why exceptional talent is leaving the agency business (besides money…er, the beans)
Agencies love to typecast and slot people in various silos - Advertising, Digital, Direct and so on and functional silos like Account Management, Creative, Planning or whatever. For multi-faceted people with overlapping skills, these silos are akin to a coffin. They feel trapped. They choose to move on. I also think that these silos are the reason why agencies rarely provide a truly integrated marketing solution (the USP of all agencies) for the brands. It is left to a CP+B or an Anomaly to provide breakthrough solutions regularly.
Giles in this interesting analysis on T-shaped people has talked about the overlap in skills amongst people and how agencies need to reinvent in order to do well.
Model T or Model S, agencies will not lose anything by experimenting or evolving their own model and thereby making the best use of multi-dimensional people. It is also high time agencies became creative again.