Scott Harkey’s ‘Four Agreements’

Fresh off being named Ad Person of the Year, Scott Harkey is helping guide the agency through continued rapid growth and increased national business while trying to stay balanced and be present in the moment. With that in mind, Scott sat down to reflect on his four keys to keep his personal vision, the agency’s vision and the clients’ vision crystal clear.

Simply put, the book The Four Agreements changed my life. Bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz talks in the book about self-limiting beliefs that lead to needless suffering, rather than joy, and how you can transform your entire life by focusing on four “agreements” with yourself. It’s a powerful book that’s been translated into 38 languages around the world, and I can understand why.

The other day I was telling someone here about the book, about the challenge to always do your best, to be impeccable with your word, to not take things personally, and to avoid making assumptions. The conversation made me think: In my life today, in my relationships and with our clients, what’s my version of The Four Agreements?

Have a profound understanding of yourself, and your company. Data by itself is basically worthless; insights to the data are the key. The same can be said of profound understanding. There’s no magic bullet. A stunt or a headline or a campaign by itself just won’t work unless you have a deep, profound understanding of who you are, your company, and your clients.

It all comes down to trust. That’s really the second building block in your personal life, your business life and in relationships. If you don’t have trust in yourself, how can you do anything? The same can be said of your company. If you don’t have trust, you have nothing. Companies die without it. But others build trust by coming out and saying, “We’re sorry. We messed up. We’re fixing it.” It’s like what KFC did with their FCK ad after they ran out of chicken. Brilliant, and brutally honest. Know yourself and build trust with your brand. Without trust, brands and companies can’t survive.



It’s also all about relationships. We’re doing business in five states and down in Mexico, with close to a hundred people on staff. Yet every day, I’m either creating or growing a relationship. That doesn’t stop when you grow, or when your company grows. If anything, it’s more critical than ever: building and fostering great relationships with our employees, with key freelancers, certainly with vendors, and of course with our clients or potential clients. Even with other agencies. That is one of my most important roles, in my personal life and in my business life.

Remember “Jerry Maguire” and Dicky Fox. The person, the company, the brand – it all relates. I love the scene in the movie when Dicky Fox points to his heart and says if that is empty, then this doesn’t matter (and he points to his head). You can have all the smarts in the world but it doesn’t matter without authenticity, empathy, love, and caring about things bigger than yourself.

In business and certainly in the ad business, it’s not all about profit, growth, KPIs and lead generation. It’s not even about awards like Ad Person of the Year. It’s about being honest with yourself and understanding who you are and who your company really is. It’s about connecting with people, building trust, growing deep relationships, and remembering the heart. That’s the goal for my vision, and those are my Four Agreements.

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