Marc Nohr is a portfolio Chairman, NED and thought partner to CEOs. Marc has worked with many of the most famous brands in the world – from Apple to (London) Zoo. Best known for founding creative agency Kitcatt Nohr (which sold to Publicis in 2011) he went on to lead and advise agencies and groups around the world garnering over 100 creative, agency of the year and leadership awards and two industry Fellowships. He has also contributed significantly to the voluntary sector, most recently as Chairman of London’s Jewish cultural centre JW3. More recently Marc has joined the executive coaching faculty of Oxford Leadership alongside his Chairman and NED roles in the marketing services, consulting and leisure industries.
1. What values are most important to you as a leader?
It’s behaviours that interest me more than values, but life has taught me that integrity, generosity and curiosity lead to relationships of trust and mutual support, as well as a learning and growth environment.
2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I have too many to mention but I’ll namecheck two. Namely my father who wore his heart on his sleeve and championed his kids more passionately than any agent I have ever met. And a mother who escaped the worst horrors of the holocaust and decided to devote her life to helping others.
3. Best piece of advice you have been given?
Find partners as different to you as you can. It was a piece of advice given to me before I started an agency and although I didn’t realise it at the time, it proved to be the best advice of all. The agency that bore my name (and the names of my 3 partners) was at its best undefeatable, attracted the best clients in the market and was a university of talent. By having four very different leaders, the agency managed to be greater than the sum of its parts.
4. What would you tell your younger self?
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It’s an old maxim but I have increasingly understood the importance of context as I’ve grown older. And it links to a second piece of advice which is the importance of responding rather than reacting, which is only possible if you take time to understand what is going on first.
5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?
The imperative to forgive other people and ultimately, forgive yourself. This liberates you from the burden of guilt and blame – both fairly useless feelings – and creates the space in which you can learn and grow.