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7 Questions on Leadership with Russell Marsh

Name: Russell Marsh

Title: CEO & Founder

Organisation: Blue Mozaic

30 Years in digital and marketing, I started my career as a Senior Creative Director and moved into client services, strategy and then as a CEO before releasing data would change the world. My career then moved into roles as Global Chief Data Officer in a couple of companies and most recently as Global Chief Product Officer and the Global Head of Production in a big media holding company.

I now run my own company helping businesses optimise the systems they have and implementing AI and data tools to drive better margins, revenue and ESG opportunities.

The secret is in how to connect the bits together not in reinventing it over and over again.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Russell's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Holding great teams together. They are like football teams, you need groups of people that excel not single super stars and creating teams that work as a team and holding them together is tough. But when you get it right you just win everything.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My career started as a creative developing CD ROM'S before digital was even a thing. I understood tech and creative and was good at making complex things simple, so could sell ideas, so ended up moving into client services and then eventually as CEO of a big agency.

I then saw mobile and data as the next growth areas so moved into an agency doing CRM and I helped to transform them into more digital company, at the same time started to build big data platforms and worked out how to use the data to drive dynamic content and targeting.

IPG Media brands then head hunted me to be their Global Chief Data Officer where I was doing a similar thing but now with TV data in the mix. I then moved to Accenture as partner doing consulting for a while selling in very large SaaS solutions.

I then went to Publicis as Global Chief Product officer where I restructured and ran the production organisation, 4000 people globally, where I built out joined up AI and technology solutions to create scaled asset creation and then tied this into media and activation data.

I now run my own company called Blue Mozaic helping companies also transform, join up what they have, and implement data and tech to deliver better revenue and margins.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

You have to first look after yourself otherwise you are no good to anyone. Only you can do this and priorities it. So my day starts typically at 7am with exercise and a light but healthy breakfast. I then spend the first hour scanning emails, filing them and writing down what I need to priorities, and then triaging this against other things on my to do list.

Then it's into my day working through what needs to get done. I try to make sure that I'm then done by 7pm at the very latest giving me then time with my family to eat together, chat and unwind.

My evenings are then a combination of socialising, gaming (yes I'm a big gammer), watching my favorite CTV shows, calling family and friends, reading or experimenting with new tech and platforms.

Typically bed by midnight.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

People leave people not companies.

When people feel emotionally disconnected from the other people they work with then they look for something new. To build a great team it's critical that they connect and bond.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Not many books to be honest.

I'm dyslexic and so reading many books has always been a hard barrier for me.

I got way more from videos and conversations with people.

The best advice I ever got was that "business is not about winning, it's about people wanting to work with you".

The one book that has always stuck with me is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson.

It tells the story of two mice and what each does when their world changes and represents how people react to change. I realised that success is about how comfortable you are with change and what you do when the world around you is transforming. If the cheese moves, then go find some more cheese don't just sit and wait for more cheese to turn up!

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Change your job every 3 years.

Do not get comfortable sat doing the same thing "waiting for the cheese". Learn lots of new skills and how to put them together in new ways and you will be way more resilient to change, and be able to innovate when others are stuck with the same old thinking. Valuable people / teams/ companies / countries are the ones that can navigate change fast and create new opportunities.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Everything changes all the time. You can't control that. Your success will be a combination of luck, skills, risk and dogged determination.

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