A central part of being an agency owner should be on a journey of continuous learning and development.

Discovering new ideas, understanding the latest thinking, getting other people’s perspectives; these often lead to bringing new ideas and developments that will improve your agency. 

The perennial push back is that “we don’t have time for this”. My view is you don’t have a reason not to! As a business owner you have an obligation to improve your business and yourself as a ‘leader’.

Yes, you are a leader – a leader of yourself and your business. 

Learn through the Book Club

One great way to achieve this is by reading. There are some astounding business books out there. This is why we have a book club as part of Agency Local. Open to all members this is a wonderful way to expand your knowledge. 

I always struggled to read – well actually to find the time to read to be more precise. But if I am really honest it was not about time, it was more about motivation.

Over the last year I have read some truly brilliant business books and learnt so much from them. The Book Club has really provided me with the motivation to read the books and to learn. 

But it is not just me – here are some comments from a couple of the Book Club regulars

“I absolutely love the Agency Local Book Club. It’s got me reading business books – something I would have previously avoided. We have great discussions about the books in our group that lead onto all sorts of other topics. I’ve learnt so much from the books and my wonderful friends at Agency Local.”

Helen Kirkby – HK Graphics

This was my first experience of a Book Club and to turn up pushed me out of my comfort zone as a ‘creative visual person and not a wordsmith’ but how valuable it has been and inclusive.The books open your eyes to points of views and ways of working that really help in creative businesses. The books have led to ACTION! 

Paula Allibone – The Way Forward 

Looking back to 2021

I thought it would be a good time to look back over the books that we have featured in the Book Club this year. 

We have had a variety – from those focusing on ‘Leadership’ through to some really useful ‘marketing’ books  

Paula has summarised as: 

“From Hitting The Wall – to our Dec book Dare to Lead the books open your eyes to points of views and ways of working that really help in creative businesses.

The books have led to ACTION! Creating a Vision Board for life, to understand how to create meaningful content for social media, how to recognise how we limit ourselves so we do not achieve our Genius and how to change this and finally in our last book to think about choosing courage over comfort and aim for progress not perfection!”

The Power is in the discussion

We review the book of the month at the Book Club meeting. Everyone is welcome to these whether they have read the book or not. If you have not read the book you will got so much out of the discussion around the topics, theories and views expressed in the book. The power really is in the discussion. 

Local Authors 

The stand out for me was being able to feature two books by local authors – Ash Taylor and Martin Knowles (with the help of Lynne Kennedy).

Not only did we read their books – we had the authors of guests at the Book Club giving members the opportunity to ask questions and pass comments directly to the authors themselves. A wonderful experience all round. 

Here is a summary of the books of 2021 – with brief key points from each book. 

January – Hitting the Wall – Ash Taylor – Ask the Author session 

  • Create a clear vision 
  • Dealing with the downs in life – come out stronger 
  • Leveraging strengths and weaknesses 
  • Learn from failure and keep the numbers 
  • Experiment and expand

February – Rebel Ideas – Matthew Syed 

  • Think outside the box
  • Inclusive culture generates better creativity – Cognitive Diversity 
  • Be more collaborative – collective intelligence 
  • Get rid of ‘echo chambers’

March – They Ask You Answer – Marcus Sheridan 

  • Complete guide to inbound sales and content marketing 
  • Focus on the questions your customers ask and …. write about it
  • Put your website at the center of everything you do 
  • Leverage different content types especially video

April – The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek 

  • Provides a view on the bigger picture
  • Better to play the long game
  • Lessons applicable to life not just business
  • Having a purpose (Just Cause) is key for your business
  • Create a culture of Psychological safety to form effective teams
  • No more competitors just ‘worthy rival’
  • Have the courage to lead

May – Untangle your Sales – Lynne Kennedy & Martin Knowles (Ask the Author session) 

  • Modern view of sales – all aspects of sales and sales management
  • Sales myth busting – loads of them! 
  • Practical advice around planning people and implementation

June – Who Not How – Dan Sullivan 

  • Focus on achieving results – not effort
  • Ask the right question – Who not How 
  • Define and delegate the vision 
  • Collaboration is critical for business – better quality relationships 
  • “Alone we can do so little – together we can do so much” – Helen Keller 
  • Transformational leadership

July – Contagious – Jonah Berger

  • Build word of mouth in a digital age 
  • Develop ‘Social Currency’
  • Social incentives – desirability 
  • Social Talk – develop triggers to spread the word 
  • Leverage emotion to drive action

Aug – Holiday Season

September – Radical Candor –  Kim Scott

  • A new management philosophy 
  • Relationships not power 
  • Open Communication 
  • Blend between care and challenge 
  • Growth management mindset 
  • 360 Candid feedback

October – The big Leap – Gay Hendricks 

  • We operate in one of 4 Zones 
  • Most people operate in ZOne of Excellence 
  • We need to operate in our Zone of Genius 
  • There is an upper limit problem – fueled by limiting beliefs and self sabotage 
  • How to discover your zone of genius and stay there 
  • Einstein time

November – Dare to Lead – Brené Brown 

  • Modern leadership handbook. 
  • Vulnerability does not equal weakness
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable 
  • Be courageous and learn how to fail – courage is contagious 
  • Know your core values and live them 
  • Be Trustworthy 
  • Strive for progress not perfection

December – break 

We will be reading more books in 2022, more learning, more discussion and more development. Please join us!