One of my co-founders, in an agency that'd grown to have offices in multiple countries, prided himself on the speed with which he could be in and out of each city for our board meetings.
Meanwhile, I'd add an overnight stop and have at least half a day free just hanging out and working from any spare desk in the office. I'd wander round, stop for a coffee, share lunch and just chat. What're you working on? How's it going? Any current pet projects? What do you want to be working on? What do I need to know? Anything bugging you? And so on.
I would always learn some pure gold in these chats, make useful connections between people and projects in different countries, and gain vital knowledge to feed into our strategy and planning.
And I'd generally be able to share back a bit about what was going on elsewhere and what the agency's plans were, too.
I didn't need to dash back to my office to get on with my work because, as the boss, talking with people was my work.
An agency, more than any other kind of business, is all about what's in people's heads.
Ways of working? Priorities? Culture? Strategy? Knowledge about clients, the market, new technology?
It's there, in people's heads.
But also, it's slightly different things in each head. And that's how problems begin.
So one of the key parts of stepping up to be the boss is becoming a mindful and proactive communicator. Actively receiving and transmitting. Spreading ideas and knowledge around.
By gathering and radiating in this way you get better information to lead with, and nurture alignment in the agency.
What time and opportunities can you create this week to just stop by and chat with people?
Gather and radiate.
Have a great week,
P.S. I've been doing a bit of gathering recently, to understand how to better communicate what our mission is at Convivio, and how we help founder-CEOs to have healthy agencies (always tricky to communicate something that can't easily be compared with existing things). Thanks to everyone who's had time for a casual chat. Watch out for some changes coming to our messaging at Convivio.com this week.
P.P.S. In particular, we've updated our entry level plan to be the 'Virtual Non-Exec' plan, highlighting that it's like having me as a virtual non-exec for your agency. I want to support more agencies than I could do if I was only a normal non-exec, so we've developed this virtual approach to enable many more agencies to take part (and it becomes extraordinarily good value as a result).