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:
- "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.
- "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.
- "how should we do it?": We need to translate big ambitions into deliverable outcomes that plot a route for the journey we are on.
- "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.
Notable this week:
- Because the Climate Crisis is so important, we've opened up one of last year's Agency Senate reports to be publicly available. It's all about what the most respected agencies are doing to respond to, and take a lead on, climate change.
- A guide to how to adapt your style of leadership to be more like a coach, than a fixer — something most of us need a nudge on. From First Round Review.
- The most sensible article I've seen on an issue most agencies are experiencing — why it's so difficult recruiting and retaining people right now.
- One remote-only company has published two really useful articles sharing what they've learned, which will be useful for remote/hybrid agencies, or even those that just see remote work extending temporarily as the pandemic rumbles on. The art of remote communication, and the evolution of virtual retreats.