I thought I would try something a little different for this post. I love telling advertising stories and this is one of my favorite. It is light hearted and may be typical of a different time in the business. It happened to me many years ago.
I was a young account executive at an agency called Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller (DKG). I had an even younger assistant account executive working for me. This was in the days when account managers were actually encouraged to entertain and get to know their clients. My assistant turned in his expenses regularly. However, I noticed that he had put in for a client lunch on the same date and with the same client as I had actually taken out for lunch. I went back and looked at his expenses which I had signed and realized he was cheating.
I went to my supervisor who, like me, was not sure what to do. He sent me to Larry Spector who was the CFO (several years later, the agency became Calet, Hirsch and Spector). Larry was a great financial executive and very smart.
He asked me first if I thought this assistant was doing a good job. I said yes. Then he asked me if I liked him. Again, I said yes. He asked me how much I thought he was exaggerating his expenses. I guessed it was about five hundred dollars, possibly less, a month
He then gave me the hippest, smartest advice I ever heard. He said, “ Tell him you like him and he is doing a good job. Then, give him $1,000 and tell him that he can never again cheat on his expenses.”
I thought that was a brilliant solution. It was a lesson which has stayed with me.