Agencies are great at developing strategies for clients, but often neglect their own.

After two years of reacting to a crisis, that needs to change. If you've started 2022 with a resolution to be more proactive and actually map out a strategy for your agency, you're not alone.

First, we need to be clear about what we mean by strategy. Decades of expensive management consultants with publishing contracts and a need to develop their own proprietary trademark-able frameworks have over-complicated the thinking here.

A strategy at its simplest is:

Out of all the possible things we could do, what shall we focus on, how should we do it, and how will we know how it's going?

So that generates four levels of things we need to work on:

  1. "all the possible things we could do": We need to think as widely as possible to generate options for potential things the agency could do.
  2. "what shall we focus on?": We then need to design 'filters' for the business that enable us to sift all these options and decide what to focus on. Not just for now as we develop the strategy, but continuously as new opportunities arise.
  3. "how should we do it?": We need to translate big ambitions into deliverable outcomes that plot a route for the journey we are on.
  4. "how will we know how it's going?": We need a way of monitoring and reviewing the progress towards our outcomes and deciding how to adapt our approach as needed

If you can structure discussion around these four elements in your leadership team, it will be a great step towards having a clearer strategy for your agency.

A newsletter to improve your agency's health

Research, expertise and insights so your leadership time has the maximum impact

We will never share your details with anyone else


Notable this week:


We run facilitated programmes for agencies on the journey between 10 and 30 staff, and between 30 and 75 staff, with a framework of tools and approaches to help you get over the specific speedbumps in these phases and grow healthily. You get access to all our resources for agency owners, plus support from us and an agency coach to implement them.

For agencies larger than 75 people we develop bespoke programmes, including for strategy development.

Email me if you'd like to find out more about these programmes and explore how they might fit your agency needs, or you can book a zoom call directly via my Calendly

If your agency is fewer than 10 people — or you have more than ten, but you're not yet ready to join one of our full facilitated programmes — you can become a member at our entry Start-up level, and get access to the Agency Leaders Playbook, the Briefings and more to explore for yourself.