Take Your Creative Agency to the Next Level in 2014!

“Good is the enemy of great” is the opening line of Jim Collins’ book Good to Great. At the heart of it, Collins is reminding us that if we want to be great we have to keep pushing forward. In creative agencies, it can be especially difficult to get to the next level because of all the competing demands and impending deadlines. But, there is more to do beyond that. Here are a few great tips to help take you take your agency to the next level in 2014.

1. Ignite Your Creative Fire

With the day-to-day hustle of running a creative agency, it can be challenging to keep the creative fire burning. Project deadlines, client briefs, timesheets, financial management all compete with the creativity that you need to nurture to keep your agency cutting edge. One of the best things you can do to reignite your creative mojo is to shake up your routine: come into the office through a different entrance, arrive early, stay later, get your coffee from a different coffee shop, park farther way. It sounds simple but you will be surprised by the different things you notice and the inspirations that come to you just by shaking up your routine.

Also, carve out time in the morning to do the creative projects before diving into operational work. For most people, checking their email is the first thing they do when they arrive at work, which is very routine and does not fuel the creativity fire. Try carving out time in the morning for brainstorming meetings or set aside the first hour of the morning to do creative writing, or work on that big project – checking your email only after you have had that creative time. Changing up your regular routine and allocating creative time first thing in the morning can revive your creative spirit and also set a productive positive course for your day. And really, your email can wait an hour or two.

2. Drum to the Rhythm

One of the best ways to up the anti in your agency is to build a rhythm that continues to beat whether you are there or not. Try implementing a daily huddle where your team shares successes and news relating to your company values and places they are stuck that can be discussed off-line. Make sure to keep the meeting brief, no more than 10 minutes. Also, have the meeting standing – this keeps it short and also keeps people engaged. Once your team has gotten into this rhythm of a morning meeting, the meeting should happen regardless of whether management is there or not.

3. Review, Redo, and Renew

Always take the opportunity to look at how you do things and be open to finding new and more productive ways achieving your goals. One of the best ways to do this is when bringing on new hires to your agency, ask them to question everything and then be open the making changes. What you will likely find is that the new team member will be asking “Why do you do it that way?” and the answer is usually “I don’t know, but that’s the way we do it.” It’s easy for your team to become complacent and ultimately blind to quirks and inefficiencies in your firm. Utilize the fresh perspective of new hires to your advantage!

4. Get Clear On the Road Blocks

One of a leader’s most important jobs is to clear road-blocks. If a leader did nothing else but clear road-locks they would achieve great things. So, to take your agency to the next level first brainstorm with your team to create an inventory the road-blocks – no road blocks are too big or too small. Ask your team members “What is getting in your way?”, “What if you could change one thing, what would it be?”. Then compile the team’s road-blocks into a prioritized list from most important and easiest to remove. Then get busy removing the blocks! Keep the list posted in a public area so everyone can see what the blocks are and then cross them off the list as you push through those barriers.

What are you going to do in 2014 to make your agency more productive and to take it to the next level?

Jehanne Burns | fp. Inbound Specialist

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