Technology is not the solution. It is not the answer for empowerment, profitability and elevated team performance.
PEOPLE come first.
Blinked. Suddenly, it’s 2020.
Exponentially competitive markets and continuously evolving environment does not necessarily bring new challenges but certainly, expose those who have not yet solidified and matured their agency enough to survive the next decade.
We talk about “scaling” the business to grow, but let us keep in mind that having “SCOPE” does not mean having MORE. It means having the “just right” amount of revenue, people for the anticipated scale - aligned with core values to shape the foundation and ensure that our creative culture is set in rock solid concrete.
Before the year 2019 ends, look into a very simple 3-step A.M.E. approach for a “quick start” on a thriving “just right” right-sized agency. The right blend of agency acumen, operational maturity and technology fueled by a people first mentality and a well-honed agency culture will boost your performance and have positive impact throughout the entire business.
Agency owners should be able to quickly answer crucial assessment questions to help understand where the business stands today and what the future landscape look like. Here are a few to get started:
- What problem does your business solve?
- How do you generate income?
- Is your business profitable?
- What parts are NOT profitable?
- Positive cashflow each month?
- What is your pricing strategy?
An assessment will help identify current ingredients on-hand. Items that you need to discard and essentials that you need to acquire for the magic “SCALED” recipe.
Auto-mature (automation and maturity)
Agency leadership face four levels of maturity throughout the business journey:
Level 4 - Optimization
Level 3 - Proactive business KPIs
Level 2 - Proactive projects
Level 1 - Manual multiplicity
Agencies stand at Level 1 when they commit to understand and SCALE the agency to the “just right” business scenario that embraces values and culture. This Level means manual management with beautifully complex crafted spreadsheets, multiple software, post-it notes, firefighting deadlines, reactionary mode and still uses emails to collaborate and/or seek customer approvals. In 2020, customers (internal and externals) are expecting streamlined cool-ness when working with an agency.
PROACTIVITY gives you the ability to manage the project, people and look at your budgets and actuals in real-time. Levelling Up to Level 2 is already a huge improvement for the business,
PROACTIVITY will once more mature your business to Level 3 when we can analyze specifics KPIs by teams, divisions, departments and a global understanding of the people-currency on-hand.
Level 4 is where your nurture and optimize your core ingredient, your people, to think about being the best that they can be, to elevate themselves to their very own next level, to learn, to want to have an impact and feel fulfil with their daily work. This is a huge win with our generational landscape as Millennials value flexibility and self-optimization over traditional benefits.
Culture is a commitment to excellence and the right “scaled” focus means greater efficiency and increased performance. A culture of creativity focused on flexibility, professional development, and influencing your teams to make a difference and leave their mark on the agency and brands are key trending differentiator in the workplace.
Culture is not delegate-able.
It comes from the top and it has a direct impact on your performance. Combined, Culture (how we do things) + Engagement (how people feel about how we do things) are two key foundational elements that has to come from the CEO’s office.
People first. Technology second.
Murray is the managing director of global agency solutions at Deltek.