The early days of an agency are all about the energy and ideas of the founders, but there comes a point when that is not enough.

In the Step-up phase the founder involves others by delegating tasks or projects, or allows people who also step-up to run with their ideas. Things happen in an ad-hoc way, and that's fine for that stage. But it means the agency runs a little bit like this:

Everything is done just in time, but takes all of everyone's attention and energy. It's not sustainable. It's the route to leadership burnout and team frustrations as you grow.

In the Smarten-up phase, from about 30ish people, there needs to be a much more solid approach to how the agency works on itself. Everybody needs to understand what needs doing in the business, have a chance to raise ideas, see clearly how they can contribute, and know the way they should approach those contributions. And this all needs to be done with a supporting structure that works in an agency culture.

This is Continuous Agency Transformation.

In this section we set out a range of ideas and processes you can use to build a Continuous Agency Transformation approach: