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Interview: How Roy Spence Leads With Strengths

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About the Leader

Roy Spence

Roy Spence Co-Founder & Chairman, GSD&M

  • Strategic®
  • Arranger®
  • Maximizer®
  • Relator®
  • Responsibility®

“You have to believe in what you're doing. You have to have passion not for what you want to do but what you love to do.”


"You need to think about not the 20 things you need to accomplish but the one thing."

Leaders, according to Spence, could concern themselves with a myriad of details, but not all details are equally worthy of attention. To win as a leader, Spence identifies the single most important issue or detail and centers his efforts, preparation and planning around it."


“You've got to be the conductor.”

When leading creative teams, Spence strives to be the person in the room everyone else trusts. He wants to create an environment in which ideas flow freely, and after each creative session, the Arranger in him wants everyone to feel positive and satisfied with the experience and their work.


"We're not trying to burn a bridge. We're trying to build one."

Spence's Relator helps him establish strong connections with people, even when his intention to do so is not immediately apparent. However, over time, he has learned the value of building bridges while "keeping your eyes wide open."


"I don't want to let anybody down."

Spence traces the urge to never let people down from early childhood to the present day, starting with his parents and sister but then developing into the urge to not let down his teams, partners, clients, presidents or country.


"At some point, the idea god will come and say, 'Here's the idea.'"

There's a price to be paid for understanding the problem you're trying to solve, says Spence. And there's a price to be paid for doing something genuinely original. If you're willing to pay the price for both, you'll find the truly insightful idea you're seeking."