Tracy Call prides herself in being a high-powered agent who never stops fighting for her clients. She has carried this attitude to her own ad agency, Media Bridge Advertising, which she founded in 2010. Since its founding, the company has focused on taking the industry toward the future, leaping over the old-school business techniques that have held the industry back.
After her “Jerry Maguire moment,” Tracy Call focused her efforts to reinventing the advertising industry into a business that is more “effective, efficient, and ethical.” So, with Media Bridge Advertising, she makes sure to practice fairness to her clients. They always try to give you the fairest and most favorable deals. If you want to expand your audience reach, the company will help you come up with the right things to say to the right people. Every dollar you spend with Media Bridge Advertising will return to you at double its value. Media Bridge will also make sure that outlets will also find out the long-term value in working with you.
Tracy Call also makes sure that Media Bridge works with clients of all shapes and sizes. The company also connects every stakeholder involved in advertising, from clients to ad sellers and buyers, advertisers and customers.
At Media Bridge Advertising, Tracy Call wants to create a media landscape that’s fully in the service of advertisers and media, by instilling a culture of “efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, trust, relationships, responsiveness and long-term value.”
For her mission, Tracy Call wants “to help businesses grow, compete and win.” The company plans to lead the industry toward the future, by fostering the evolution of the relationships among all relevant stakeholders.
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Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Tracy Call: The #1 thing that makes Media Bridge stand out is that we care, period. When you truly care, you build up an invisible equity that can change people’s lives. The best example was last Christmas. We decided to sponsor a family for a program called Best Christmas Ever. The family had racked up huge medical bills treating their new baby girl’s multiple conditions. We all pitched in. We bought and wrapped dozens of gifts. And we promoted the fundraising effort to our clients. Long story short, we were all in tears as we delivered a check for over $20,000 to the family right before Christmas. Because we care so much about our clients and treat them like family, our clients responded to our efforts and donated thousands of dollars to a family they didn’t even know. Our total broke the Best Christmas Ever record. Now THAT’S powerful.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Tracy Call: My best recommendation is to start running your company on the Entrepreneurial Operating System. EOS has a tool called Delegate & Elevate that’s the single-best anti-burnout system ever created. On the surface, it’s pretty simple. Every employee fills out a graph with four quadrants: Love/Great, Like/Good, Don’t Like/Good, Don’t Like/Bad. You list all the tasks you do as part of your job, then you categorize them in those quadrants — everything from “I love doing x, and I’m great at it,” to “I hate doing y, and I’m bad at it.”
Here’s the critical part: Most people think that the goal is to move everyone into the “Love/Great” quadrant and keep them there. But that’s actually where the burnout happens. You want people doing what they love and are great at, but once they’re there, you also need to start training other people for those same tasks. Because even when you love something, doing it non-stop every day leads to burnout.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Tracy Call: Since we’re on the topic of delegating, I have to talk about Dan Moshe, our EOS Implementer. When we started running EOS, I tried to self-implement, and it was a disaster. I realized that if I was serious about the investment, I needed to delegate implementation to a pro.
EOS has dozens of tools, but Dan recognized right away that Delegate & Elevate would help us big-time. He’s been instrumental in helping me really understand how to use that tool effectively and consistently, and his commitment to the process is exactly what I need. I’m not a process person. I don’t love the idea of filling out a worksheet and tracking something over time, but it really does work. In theory, EOS is about putting simple, common-sense things into action to drive personal and professional growth. But the key is actually doing it, and Dan has been invaluable in getting us to follow through. Thanks to him and Delegate & Elevate, our people have moved around within the company, found their sweet spots and avoided burnout.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Tracy Call: I could write a book on this topic! What happens with many business leaders — especially in the entrepreneurial world that I know well — is that the same trait that makes them successful eventually becomes a liability and a challenge: the drive to do everything yourself. Entrepreneurs have an idea that they’re passionate about, and they want to build a business that changes the world, or at least their industry. They have a vision, and they want to implement it.
That becomes a problem when they grow to a point where they can no longer do everything themselves. The recurring thought I’ve always fought in my own head is, “I could have someone else do this, but it’ll be quicker if I just do it myself.” That’s the kiss of death. The more you grow, the more humility you need. There’s always someone who can do a task — the marketing, finances, logistics, hiring and firing — better than you can. The entrepreneurs that get over that hump are the ones who ultimately succeed.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Tracy Call: It’s about control. Simple as that. It’s hard to surrender control. It’s easier in the short run to do everything yourself and maintain that feeling of control. But ultimately, it’s a losing game. It’s easier to delegate things that you don’t like or aren’t good at, but business leaders also need to delegate things that they ARE good at, and that’s a lot harder.
I know an interior designer who can walk into a room and immediately see what it can be in the most imaginative ways. She designed our offices, and now she’s doing my home. I’m that way with media buying. That’s the world I come from, and I’m good at it. I can literally see the buy. I know what’s going to work, and I can get it done quickly. But as my company grew, I realized that I had to let media buying go. It was incredibly hard, but I’ll never go back. I have people in place who are incredibly good at it, and I’m totally confident that they’ll do it right.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Tracy Call: First, you need to put your ego and all your insecurities aside. Some leaders feel weak when they delegate, like it’s a form of surrender. Others feel guilty, like they’re asking people to do things for them personally instead of for the company or the client. Some leaders worry about being seen as lazy or uncaring. They worry that telling someone to do something that they used to do makes them look “better” than the person they’re delegating to. You need to let all those feelings go.
The other pivot is looking long-term instead of short-term. Upfront, delegating will definitely take more of your time. You need to figure out who can do the task. You might need to hire for the task. And you’ll need to take to time to teach, train and develop that person. This is the hardest part for some leaders. You tell them, “You know that thing that’s burning you out? You have to spend even MORE time on it.”
Especially in Entrepreneur World, that sounds like a lot of time and resources. But in the end, it will pay for itself a hundred times over. As you grow, you’ll be so happy that those pieces are in place — and that you have a system like EOS to keep them in place.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Tracy Call: LinkedIn is best.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!