I often talk about successful agency founders working at a 'higher altitude'.

This is like you climbing to the top of a hill, away from the work in the fields — so you can see further, with a wider perspective.

Up here, there is time to think, plan and dream.

This is where you design your business rather than just administer it.

Where you are proactive rather than reactive.

But founders tend to find two challenges with doing this in reality:

  1. The daily demands of the agency keep pulling them back down to ground level
  2. When they finally get a chunk of uninterrupted time at the top of the hill, they find they don't quite know where to start. What on earth should they even do in 'high altitude' time?

Sound familiar?

To help with this I did lots of research with founders, combined what I learned with my own experiences and practices, and developed two frameworks:

  1. SPARK AgencyOps: to help founders get the daily work of their agency working so well, it frees up their time for more high altitude work.
  2. FLAME Agency Leadership: to guide founders in making the most of the time at the top of the hill. So they know what to focus on, when they get high altitude time, to make them highly effective founders.

These two frameworks now provide the structure for The Agency Leaders Playbook.

In this Agency Espresso newsletter, I spent a couple of months recently dipping into topics around the SPARK framework — Sales, People, Action, Results, Knowledge.

For the next few weeks we're going to delve into the FLAME model, to help you think about, and plan, your high altitude work.

The five parts of FLAME Agency Leadership are:

  • Focus: ensuring everyone understands what the agency does and why, what their part in that is, what the priorities are, and how to measure progress.
  • Liberation: removing impediments, reducing complexity, improving openness, and freeing people up to do their best work.
  • Alignment: improving communications, gathering knowledge, building relationships, nurturing the culture, enabling better collaboration, developing communities.
  • Momentum: building a rhythm in the agency that drives it forward, reliably and sustainably.
  • Evolution: designing the agency to continuously learn, adapt, and improve.

If you rotate your high altitude leadership time between these five areas over the course of the year, identifying leaps forward or just marginal gains, then you will significantly improve the agency every year.

So, are you up for exploring each of these five areas in the coming weeks and powering up your leadership work?

Today, schedule in at least a few hours for high altitude work in each of the next five weeks.

Then, each Monday morning with your coffee I'll give you some ideas of how to use it.

Let's go!