Ovitz’s Four Commandments

I’ve begun reading Who Is Michael Ovitz? It’s a memoir about Michael Ovitz and his journey, including how he founded and built Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the powerhouse talent agency. He’s known for having an outsize influence in Hollywood and being a shrewd negotiator. CAA’s four commandments stood out to me:

  1. Never lie to your clients or colleagues
  2. Return every call by end of day
  3. Follow up and don’t leave people guessing
  4. Never bad-mouth the competition

I noticed that numbers 2 and 3 are related—they both deal with how to communicate. The fact that communication makes this short list twice speaks to its importance in Ovitz’s industry. And it’s true of every industry: how we communicate (especially with customers and partners) can have a material impact on outcomes. I like that Michael makes effective communication a priority, and I’m sure it was a big contributor to CAA’s success given the centrality of relationships in the industry.