This is the first 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 in the rearview mirror
Think back over the last twelve months. Start all the way back at last summer and step forward each month until now. What were the highs and lows in your agency? Sketch them out on paper or the wall as a timeline. Draw Emoji to reflect how you felt at each stage during the year.
What was the hardest time? What have you learned from that to serve you better in the future? Make notes about the lessons you want to integrate into the way you want to lead, and the way you want your business to run. Then, seriously, set fire to the original note. Have a little private ceremony where you burn your note of the worst part of the last year in a firepit, on the barbecue or however you like. Watch it burn. You got past it, and it's gone — but you have the lessons it's taught you, to make you stronger.
Now, what was the high point in the year? What was it that you and your team did so well to make that happen? How could you design your agency to do those things more, and without extra intervention from you — just making it part of the culture and the process? And, after the fire ceremony, treat yourself to something special to celebrate that high in the last year. Let yourself bask in the pride of what you and your business achieved.
Holiday reading recommendation
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
An epic and inspiring tale following the lives of two young men who come from hardship to landing their dream jobs in the creative industries – and then leave to launch their own business. There's often more truth in fiction than non-fiction, so let yourself be absorbed into this story of two creative entrepreneurs, and learn from their journey.
From the blog
Some highlights from our posts for agency leaders in the last year to catch up on or revisit:
- You're the centre of a circle, not the top of a triangle. How leaders of creative agencies should think about their position in their business.
- Punching yourself in the face. After taking the time to look back at the past year, maybe you'll recognise these thoughts about the cause of much of the pain in running an agency.
- Taming your animal brain. Whether business has been tough or booming, every stage in the last few years has been unpredictable intense, and exhausting. That's led to us leading with our instincts
- What have emotions got to do with leading an agency? If you recognise some of that 'shooting from the hip' and reacting emotionally from the post above, this article is the beginning of a short series about reflecting on, and mastering, your emotions at work.
Quote of the week
"You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward."
— Søren Kierkegaard
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