In the last part of our little series on improving the way agencies work on changing and improving themselves, I want to talk about gathering people around to make that innovation happen.

In recent weeks, we've looked at how to find more valuable innovation ideas, how to use constraints to ensure your agency finishes more of these internal projects, and how to make ceremony and celebration part of the process.

Now that we've refined and selected our ideas to work on, it's time to gather round and get them done.

For this, I like the framing of a mission, rather than a project.

That's because it focuses minds on the purpose, the outcome, rather than the activity. There's a spirit of adventure to it, rather than admin.

Like explorers setting off on a mission to discover the new world, to reach the north pole, or to land on the moon. Or scientists on a mission to create a vaccine.

This means the purpose of the mission needs to be clearly transformative. Agency missions are different from 'evaluate CRMs to choose a new one'. That can be handled in business as usual.

Agency missions are about charting the future course of the agency.

Agency missions could be things like:

  • Develop our first productised service offering
  • Find a new sector for us to target, to diversify our risk
  • Design the world's best new-recruit onboarding experience
  • How can we provide career progression within a fairly flat hierarchy?
  • How might we reduce risk of client churn when key stakeholders leave?

Every mission needs a clear leader, and a ground controller — a calm head back at base who supports and guides them. They can recruit the rest of the team to the mission, people with specialist interests and skills who can contribute.

The mission team also needs the guide-rails of a mission framework. The steps that each and every mission progresses through. Having this frees them up from having to think about process, and instead to focus on their creativity and experiments. It also helps build and maintain momentum to guide the mission towards completion.

Honestly, I could fill up this Agency Espresso newsletter for the rest of this year writing about the mission framework and this subject of Agency Evolution, but we need to move on to other things.

So next week we start a new topic.

But for those of you keen to join me in getting deeper into the practical details of implementing this in your agency, I'm going to start a little experiment of my own. See below for the details, and how to join in.

Hopefully you're beginning to get a feel of how your agency's approach to self-improvement/innovation/internal projects could be made even more creative and fulfilling as well as being more productive. Maybe your mind is already sparking with ideas for missions?

Jot those ideas down, and make this week's mission be to first define a clear process that you'll use to support your agency evolution work.

Have a great week,


Steve's experiment: A mini email course

Let's try something new.

I tend to keep this newsletter brief, as a quick shot of inspiration to start the week.

All the meaty practical stuff I put into the Agency Leaders Playbook for members. (The Playbook is the missing manual for agency founders — the guide I wished I'd had when running my own agencies.)

I'd like to share a taster of the Playbook with you, so I've turned some of the Playbook section about Agency Evolution into a mini email course. It'll build on what we've talked about in the last few weeks by looking at how to improve the way your agency works on itself with ideas/innovation/internal projects.

It'll show you how to put in place a clear workflow to find valuable ideas for your agency's evolution, and then get them done. All while ensuring your team feel more involved and you feel happy with the momentum.

Take the 10-day email course to learn the process. It won't cost you a penny, just like this newsletter. And it'll focus on delivering really useful ideas, every single workday for the next two weeks. Plus, at the end of the course, if you've found it valuable, I'll give you a great offer on getting access to the full Agency Leaders Playbook. Deal?

To sign up, follow the link and enter your details. You'll get an email a day for 10 days, with each one packed with practical steps you can take. After the course ends, the extra emails will stop and you'll go back to only getting this Monday newsletter.

Sound like a plan? Let's get started.