This is the second of six summer specials of the agency leaders newsletter. In each edition, I'll suggest some prompts to think about when you get some time to yourself to think and dream about your agency. Make sure to rest lots first, but add in a day or two away from work here and there over the summer to just read and think. Creative businesses need their leaders to take this space for thinking or they stagnate.
Reflections on quiet heroes
Last week you sketched out a timeline of the previous 12 months' highs and lows (but don't worry if you haven't yet, you can still think about this week's prompt)
This week, consider those events of the past year and think about the people in your agency who were involved at each turn.
Think beyond the loud voices, the martyrs, and dramatic firefighters.
Who are the ones in your agency...
- who just quietly keep it all running
- whose projects and tasks don't have fires in the first place
- who see a problem and sort it, before it actually becomes a problem
- who get stuck in and help when problems do arise, without it being a drama
- who help others to learn, grow, collaborate and achieve
- who were able to do all their work brilliantly without working late
- who are less likely to broadcast how great they are, but to celebrate the whole team instead
These are your quiet heroes.
In the daily bustle and pressures of agency life it can be easy not to recognise their vital contributions, with the glory taken by noisier self-promoters.
But these are the ones you can depend on for the next stage of your journey. The ones you can gradually give more responsibility and freedom to. The ones who can help lift some responsibilities from your shoulders to free you up for your next stage of growth.
Find them, recognise them, treasure them, help maximise their growth and impact — and give them new challenges and responsibilities to get their teeth (quietly) into.
Summer reading recommendation
The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman.
Hoffman is the founder of Linkedin, and has some insightful ideas on how the working relationship needs to evolve in creative and fast-moving businesses.
From the blog
Some highlights from our posts for agency leaders in the last year to catch up on or revisit, this time on the theme of teams and talent:
- One of the challenges agency founders face is a sense of loneliness and isolation. Identifying your quiet heroes and gathering them around you can be one step towards helping with that.
- How agencies should be the fast lane for career development for great people.
- There are on ramps and off ramps to your agency's fast lane on the motorway. Off ramps have become plentiful in the last year. This post contains ideas to improve your on ramps.
- As you grow your agency you need to 'step up' to new levels of leadership in your role, and therefore you need to build up the next level team around you — which the quiet heroes are great for.
- It's normal that people won't stay at your agency forever. Especially at the moment. But don't lose touch with great people who leave on good terms. Build them into a network of agency friends and they could be a source of client and recruitment referrals, industry insight, or might even come back to work for you again.
Quote of the week
“We entrepreneurs are loners, vagabonds, troublemakers. Success is simply a matter of finding and surrounding ourselves with those open-minded and clever souls who can take our insanity and put it to good use.”
— Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
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