Meet the Expert: Michael Frohlich

Tenacity, luck and learning from your mistakes will help you to success, thinks the UK CEO of  global advertising and marketing giant Ogilvy. Plus – you need to put a number on what you are trying to achieve.

Michael Frohlich

How did you become successful?

For me there  are three things that make a successful leader. The first one is having tenacity. So: just going for it and to keep on pushing and pushing. The second thing is luck. You’ve got to have a little bit of luck.

But then I think the third thing is learning from my many, many mistakes and that’s something I look for in people. Make a mistake once – that’s fine we all make mistakes. But learn from that mistake. The second time you make that same mistake is pretty unforgivable because it means you haven’t learned from that.

What do you think is your greatest achievement in business?

It’s the teams I bring together. I work with a phenomenal team at the moment and I’ve worked with brilliant teams all the way through my career. Part of the success of businesses that I’ve been a part of is to have brilliant people around you.

So if I look at my close team now they’re all better than me. They are way more talented than I am.  They’re all exceptional people, I love working with them and I suppose what I bring is a framework and a glue to them. But for me, continually the most important thing, the thing that I’m really proud of, is the teams.

What is the one essential business lesson every entrepreneur should know?

This is a lesson that I was taught by someone I used to work with and it’s quite simple: the story is always in the numbers.

It doesn’t matter who your audience is, what you’re trying to communicate, or what you’re trying to do. But the story you’re trying to tell has got to be in the numbers. You’ve got to have a quantifiable number, a numerical value of what you’re trying to do or communicate and that’s how you get your story across.

Having a metric of success that you as an entrepreneur are trying to move towards – a goal – is key. You’ve got to always have the foundation of a a number which makes whatever you’re saying more substantial. 

Expert Impact is about mentors; have you had mentors?

I’ve had a couple of mentors during my career. It’s funny, some of the people that I see as my mentors probably don’t even know that they are a mentor to me.

There are various people who’ve been in the industry for a long time that I work with who I see every so often informally and chew their ear off and just talk to them, use them as a sounding board and I find that very, very rewarding. Even if I see them once every six months, I always know that I can reach out to them if I need to. But it’s not a formal mentoring thing, it’s just that they’re good! 

Why did you want to become part of the Human Lending Library?

This is going to sound really corny but I wanted to give back. I have over 20 years experience and I wanted to be able to help where I can.

What I get out of it is an unbelievable amount of energy. The three Human Lending Library sessions I’ve done … they are extraordinary entrepreneurs and business leaders with business models which are brilliant. The energy you get in meeting  (particularly young) entrepreneurs who are doing something different … I feed off it.

If you’d like some mentoring from Michael or any of our other Experts, click here. You can watch a longer version of this interview on our Instagram page.