During your career as an agency founder, you're likely to have the same job title the whole time.
Founder. Owner. Director. CEO. MD. Whatever. You get the title on day one, and keep it for years.
But that disguises the fact you're really giving yourself a series of promotions at key points of growth.
You start as a practitioner, a team member. Then you become the leader of the team. Then you become the leader of the leadership team. Then you eventually become the mentor to the leader of the leadership team.
All while building the team and leadership structure behind you that does your old jobs.
But because the promotion isn't a clear step up, many founders can miss that it's happening.
That becomes a major source of frustration for your team, and a major source of stress for founders.
Because, by growing your agency, you've been promoted by default on reaching key stages. But if you don't embrace that promotion and move your focus up too, two things go wrong:
- A gap opens up between the responsibilities of your new role, and what you are actually doing
- You keep on doing the work that's supposed to be being done by the leaders and managers who are developing in your agency to take over your old roles — stepping on their toes, blocking their development, and suggesting you don't trust them. This will also overload you.
So a key part of growing as a leader as you grow your agency, is to learn to leave behind what you did before.
At some point you need to hang up the tools of the trade of being a practitioner to become a leader of the team.
And at a later point you need to hang up the tools of managing a team of craftspeople to fully lead what has become a bigger business.
Yes, this 'leaving behind' is hard. But if you want to fall back in love with leading your agency again, it's vital to honestly appraise what you should be letting go of to free up your time and attention for your current role.
What level have you been promoted to by default now? What have you been holding onto? What do you need to let go of?
Don't hire me
Hey, I'm Steve Parks. I've been an agency founder and then board member for years, but now recommend you don't hire me.
That's because, instead of just sitting on two or three boards, I want to help as many agency founders as possible.
To do that, my Convivio colleagues and I have spent the last year working to create the Virtual Advisory Board.
- The Agency Leaders Playbook is the place to turn when you need answers and ideas as an owner and CEO. The missing reference manual on how to run a healthy agency business.
- The Monthly Board Pack give you the agenda, guidance on running the meeting, and two briefings to run productive discussions and workshops on key issues. That way you get a steer on what to be thinking about and discussing at high altitude in the agency.
- Agency Radar helps you see what's ahead that could affect your agency and its clients, so you can prepare for risks and see the opportunities.
- Office Hours gives you a monthly chance to chat with me and other agency founders to discuss, get a steer and get support on what you're currently thinking about.
- Plus there are workshops, book summaries, and more.
It's like having an incredibly supportive non-exec, but at 10% of the cost — because it's spread across more agencies.
It's £225/mo, with no long-term commitment. It'd be daft not to try it eh? :)