In his autobiography.

Confessions of an Advertising Man.

David Ogilvy recalls how he was once invited to a corporate meeting.

To compete for a major account.

David Ogilvy.

David Ogilvy.

By the way.

Is considered to be one of the most impactful advertising minds that ever lived.

And when David entered in the chairman’s board room on this occasion.

The chairman said this:

Mr. Ogilvy, we are interviewing several agencies.

You have exactly fifteen minutes to plead your case.

Then I will ring this bell and the next agency waiting outside will follow you.

Ogilvy quickly asked:

How many people will be involved in the decision?

The chairman replied:

The twelve members of the Committee here today”

To which Ogilvy responded:

Ring the bell.

As he rose from his chair.

And left the room.


David Ogilvy understood the huge shortcomings of decision by committee.

He knew that this approach to decision making almost always resulted in a sub-optimal solution.

And in my 20 year career as as a brand builder and marketer.

I know it too.

The Science.

In behavioral science.

There is a well-documented propensity for small committees to drift toward ‘extreme’ decisions.

That is, a group of individuals acting as a committee often makes a decision that none of the individuals acting alone would make

Even when given the exact same information.

Yet, even with this insight.

Decisions are made this way everyday, impacting the growth and trajectory of brands.


We don’t need committees.

We need leaders.

On the agency or advisor side.

And on the client side.

Leaders that actually do lead.

Leaders that are not afraid to commit to a direction.

And move forward.

Seek them out.

So seek them out.

And when you find a leader like this.

Or when you become a leader like this.

That is when the magic happens.

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