This month’s Learning Focus is on EDI, equality, diversity and inclusion.
We are living through the biggest societal change in decades. Change in terms of attitudes, and behaviours. We have had a focus on sustainability and what that meant for agencies and now we are exploring the topic of EDI which is at the centre of this transformation.
And as agencies I maintain we are the catalyst of change. We are creative, forward looking and innovative. EDI is something that we should be leading on and really bringing into our standard agency practices.
Monthly Learning Activity
I am delighted that this topic will be led by Liz Mayers (LI) from EDI Accreditation. She is hugely experienced, knowledgeable and passionate about this topic having run a consultancy working with businesses to help them overcome this challenge.
Liz will be helping us to focus on three key areas:
- Understanding what the issues are; understanding what is the meaning of equality, diversity and inclusion; what it means for your agency; what it means for you as an individual leader.
- We will be looking at the business case for adopting EDI into your agency. There are strong arguments for this in addition to ‘It is the right thing to do’.
- We’re looking at agency leadership and leadership behaviours, as change like this has to come from the top.
We want to have an impact on your agency business. So this focus is more than simply expanding your knowledge. We want you to take action and that way we create an impact.
Research shows that racially and ethnically diverse organisations outperform industry norms by 35% and gender diversity boosts financial performance by 15%.
Adopting EDI principals and practice will make a significant impact on your agency. This is why we want to help you by creating a policy which is a policy or statement about your EDI attention and intention.
The output for the Learning Focus will be for you to develop an EDI policy for your agency.
Now, that’s something that you can use in proposals, in tenders, to have on your website, to increase your brand employability, and to be seen as a responsible business.
Watch the knowledge videos and
Join us at the Inspiration Circle – 8th June – 9.30am – 10.30am
Join us the Inspiration Clinic – Friday 30th June 9.30 – 10.30
Join us at theBook Club – Tuesday 27th June 4.00pm – 5.00pm
Open to All
Members and non members can join in for the monthly focus so this is open to any agency owner to participate and benefit.
You can purchase a Pass to the learning content and all the associated events and resources for only £40
Sign up now: https://agencylocal.kartra.com/page/Pass-focused-learning
Objective: To Create Agencies for Good
Agencies are drivers of change. They influence peoples thinking and communications they drive agendas.
There is a huge groundswell of agencies being purpose driven, becoming BCorp accredited and generally having fully sustainable agencies. It is taking around 18 months to get BCorp accredited which just shows the demand and the desire to be seen to be purpose led.
Getting this accreditation is commendable, however there are many other agencies that are using their business for good. Contributing in some way to the community, having a view on saving energy, recycling and even becoming carbon neutral. Often these are not spoken about or publicised. Whether it needs to be is a whole other debate.
Here at Agency Local for example, we have been part of B1G1 since conception in 2019. We raise money for local charities, we respect the environment and question our travel, paper and energy usage. We are also committed to being CSR-A accredited this year. There is so much more we can be doing and I know that there are other agency owners that want to do more but don’t know how.
Creating Agencies for Good
This is why this month’s Learning Focus is on this subject. We will be
- equipping agencies with the understanding of what can be done,
- helping them develop a sustainable strategy for their agency and
- assisting them to make this part of how they run their agency moving forward.
We are delighted that this will be led by Richard Collins the creator and founder of CSR-A – (https://csr-accreditation.co.uk/) who help businesses to navigate the sustainable landscape and provide an Accreditation to demonstrate their commitment to developing a sustainable business.
Richard is an Agency founder and owner so understands our world. We also have one BCorp accredited member Martin Knowles and some other purpose driven members ABA Me and You who I know will be joining in to show their support and share their wisdom.
Time to make change
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
Now is the time to look at your agency and work out exactly what you can do to make a difference. This is really for everyone – small agencies, remote agencies, more established agencies with larger teams. Everyone has a role to play and now is the time.
In the recent Benchpress Report 24% of owners of agencies under £1m said that building a business that has a positive impact on the world was their top priority.
We will be discussing the topic in detail at the Inspiration Circle and Inspiration Clinic gatherings. However it will be more than discussion – our aim is that everyone will go a away with an actionable plan to being a more ethical agency.
Key takeaways will be
- Understand about the UN sustainable goals and increase your knowledge as to how you can use your agency for wider good
- Audit where you are now on your Business for Good Journey
- Understand the relationship between profit and purpose
- Build a Sustainability strategy for your agency
- Create an action plan to use your agency to make a real contribution
This is so valuable in the development of any agency I really wish that this was not only for Agency Local members. If you are a non member and want to join in let me know.
Here is to us – marketing and creative agencies – creating a better future by developing Agencies for Good.
Change is everywhere. It’s all around us every day.
The important thing about change is not the change itself but how we deal with it.
What do we mean by change?
We all experience change in our personal life and in our business life. There are two categories of change
- Change done to us – outside changes that impact us
- Change done by us – changes we initiate.
We have a great deal more control over the changes we initiate.
We need to react to changes done to us to maximise the opportunity or minimise the impact.
Below are examples of some changes in these categories – this is not an endless list and I am sure you can add many more to these.
||Change done to us
||Change we initiate
|Installing a new system
Letting employees go
Product development & Launch
Winning a new client
Children changing schools
What we eat
Agency Owners – you are Change agents
The whole purpose of an agency is to provide services that will CHANGE your customers in some way. You are change agents.
So understanding change, how to implement it successfully should be a paramount skill to be able to deliver your services efficiently and effectively.
Creating a vision, managing resistance, managing people along the change journey. You many not think of it as ‘change’ however it is exactly what you are doing day in day out. Developing a new brand to change a business – building a new website to change how they communicate – copywriting to change they way the talk to their audience – these are all examples of how you as a marketing agency are implementing change.
Dealing with change
Whether it is change done to us or by us there are two important elements to consider when dealing with change. Amanda Page talks about the Emotion and commotion of change.
Firstly the outcome. How do you get the best possible outcome for you / your business and for others? Having a knowledge of change, how it works and how can effect it are vitally important.
The second is the emotional side – the impact it can have on ourselves. How we manage change emotionally has a big bearing on our mental health.
Knowledge of Change
This is why we are focusing on change at Agency Local this month. We are looking to ‘skill up’ our members to be able to manage and cope with change better. This is a wonderful skill to have as an Agency Owner, it will help you manage your business through the natural changes that happen as a result of trying to grow your business.
Having an understanding of how change works is the starting point.
Having a model to work with when managing change is really important. Amanda page has outlined the Change Cycle in her learning video.
Understanding the impact on others when change happens is vital. This allows you to effect change through others (most change is driven by other people), knowing how you can take them on the journey with you is key to success.
Amanda has also shared her 6 Trade Secrets for Change which will transform how you lead – again this is all part of the learning content available in the members portal where Amanda explains each one in a short 3 min video. They are:
#1 Future proof your people. Your vision starts now!
#2 Vision + People = Direction. Make it real!
#3 A compelling reason to change. We all love a great story!
#4 Resistance is futile. Embrace it!
#5 The brain and change. The perfect match!
#6 Ways to measure change. Strive for progress not perfection!
The book of the month in the Agency Local Bookclub has been recommended by Amanda and is called Beyond the Wall of Resistance by Rick Maurer. This will add yet another layer to your understanding.
Turning knowledge into actionable skills. The Outcome of this month’s focus on change.
The aim is to equip you with skills to manage change. The starting point is this new found knowledge – however knowledge alone will not have the desired impact. Transferring that knowledge to a new skill in your business armoury is when the impact will happen.
The Inspiration Circle is the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice.
When this is put into practise I am expecting three main outcomes:
- Increase your confidence to manage change
- Increase your resilience to change – to embrace change
- To achieve better results and better outcomes when managing change.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amanda Page who has worked with Agency Local to orchestrate this month’s focus. Amanda runs Change Tempo a change consultancy and she is happy to work with individuals and teams to better understand, manage and lead change.
We had a wonderful turnout for our new Inspiration Circle event last week.
This is all part of our renewed focus on ‘action based’ learning to improve agency businesses. By ‘Action based’ I mean not just coming to an event and leaving with some information but coming to an engaging session and leaving with actions designed for ongoing improvement.
The focus for this session was on time management, a thorny issue that the majority of agency owners can relate to. Our objective for this session was to work out how people could get 2-hours back a week.
We had an initial discussion reflecting on our relationship with time Which resulted in some interesting themes especially in relation to the challenges that time puts on us.
- inability to say no
- knowing when to delegate
- feeling of burnout
- having time to yourself (well-being time)
- how distractions and shiny things interrupt us
- the buzz we get when we tick something off our todo list
Short Form Learning
Then we discussed what people had taken away from the bitesize learning videos that were shared before the session. These included the Time Management Matrix, the Pomodoro technique, and and and some time management tips and practical ideas.
(For any member not at the event these are still available in the Members Portal)
The final part of the session was for everyone to share their 3 actions that they will implement in order to get some time back by being more in control of their time.
Here are selection of some the wonderful ideas:
- Schedule time to de mails in the day – and stick to it
- Prioritise tasks using the Time Management Matrix
- Turn of notifications when focusing on a task
- Do the important and urgent tasks in the morning
- Block out time in calendar for specific tasks
- Add space between tasks to refresh and recharge yourself
Everyone that attended was sent a short video of them articulating their three actions and were encouraged to Buddy up with the person but they were in the first breakout room with.
Buddying up and checking in on others is a key part of turning learning into action and action with accountability which results in a much higher chance of implementing the actions.
Post session attendees where invited to rate the experience of the Inspiration Circle.
100% rated it as 8 / 10 or more – with 50% respondents rating it as 10 /10.
Some comments were:
“I have to say that was one of the most enjoyable and informative sessions i have had a for a while, great to see everyone and thanks for the tips.”
”Loved this event! I’ve come away with clear and simple actions that I can actually achieve.”
“It worked very well and everyone was engaged, more of the same.”
Next month we are focusing on how to manage change especially through people. This is a fascinating topic and I am sure the Inspiration Circle will be hugely valuable. Please do join in.
Agency Local is a development and learning community.
Our purpose is to help agencies to become better businesses and their owners better leaders.
This can only happen through continual development both of business knowledge and leadership skills.
You are time poor
We appreciate that most agency business owners are often short on time as they are focusing on customer demands and delivering services to clients. It seems that it is always the development that gets bumped.
We got it – it is not urgent – however it is very important.
Ways we learn
We have been looking into the ways people learn in an attempt to make the events and the learning available as impactful as possible.
People don’t typically learn a great deal when they are talked at. This is surprising as the education system is mostly lecture / class based and most business events are webinars and seminars where someone is ‘talking’.
Agency Local has typically delivered these style events.
However, the true power of information is when it is properly understood, used and applied.
Most traditional events are not action oriented and they don’t keep people’s attention. Humans average attention span is 14 minutes – so any longer than this and the event is wasted or there needs to be ways in which to reinvigorate the ‘attention’.
A new style of learning
In order to create the maximum opportunity for proper learning and to maximse time, Agency Local is making a few changes. Maximum learning comes from discussing a topic, getting other people’s viewpoints, and sharing ideas. Undertaking exercises and scenario based situations promotes much higher levels of learning.
Combine this with practical focus on ‘action’ – i.e. commitments as to what action you will be taking as a result of the discussion and vitally being held accountable to actually seeing those actions through to completion.
Short form on demand learning
It starts with bite sized learning approach. We will be providing information in the format of short videos – typically no more than 15 mins each – often much shorter.
These will be made available ‘on-demand’ so you can watch these at the time most suitable to you and your busy schedule.
Inspiration Circle events
These events are where the power happens – we will be discussing, getting involved in practical examples and practicing what has been learned. These events are a forum for discussion, sharing and challenging.
To drive further value to our members, these highly effective learning and development events will be offered as part of their membership and commitment.
Post event we will be adding in a layer of accountability – working with ‘buddies’ to ensure you get the benefit by implementing what will really help you.
We feel that this is the way forward. On Demand learning followed by practical application.
This month we are focusing on Time Management and then the next two months we have the following learning focuses:
Managing change effectively through people
I am really excited by this and hope you are too.
You can help make a difference.
We have a real challenge in the workplace generally around mental health – how to approach the subject – how to deal with it – how to avoid it. This is also true in the marketing agency world.
There is no getting away from it – it is a difficult and sensitive subject. We are dealing with human emotions here and normally very strong and powerful emotions at that.
As a community I believe that we have a responsibility to address this challenge, and I would like as many agency owners (Agency Local members and non members) to come together to discuss and work through the challenges.
Mental Health operates on three levels:
1. Agency Owner – Being a leader of a business (however small or large) can have a big impact on you personally. The responsibility, the challenges, the impact on time and personal life. Your own personal health and wellbeing is imperative.
2. Workforce – As an agency owner you have an obligation to look after your employees and your workforce. Often Mental Health issues are not overtly visible, sometimes the culture means the workers do not feel comfortable to open up, they don’t want to be judged or to be seen to be weak. You define the workplace – it is upto you to create the right environment.
3. Others around us
Mental health is just you and your workforce. It applies to everyone around you. In business terms – others you interact with – colleagues, suppliers, partners, associates as well as you friends and family.
Agencies handle this area in different ways. I believe that there are four types of agency workplaces:
Ignorance – Are not aware of the impact of mental health on themselves, their workforce and their suppliers and partners – they simply don’t know about it or address it in any way.
Ignore – Are aware of the challenge and situation but choose to nothing about it
Intention – Have realised the situation and that it is an issue but don’t know how to deal with it.
Action – those that are taking steps to create a safer workspace where the issue is in the open
Unfortunately there are not too many in the later category. Our aim is to move Ignorance and Ignore into a state of Intention and to move those in Intention to Action.
May is Mental Health awareness month and in the UK we have Mental health Awareness week in May 9th – 15th.
At Agency Local we are dedicating the month of May to this subject and we have 4 objectives:
Raise awareness of mental health and the issues around it
Have the open discussion to increase understanding
Highlight practical ways to help yourself
Create guidelines to help agencies on the journey to creating the right workspace
This needs to be more than awareness, more than discussion – it needs to be focused on Action.
That is why at the end of May I hope to publish Guidelines for Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Agency Workspace.
We have lined up a series of events on each Thursday throughout May. We have invited knowledgeable people to come along and share their knowledge and expertise.
I need your help, in terms of your input, your ideas, your views and your knowledge to work with us all to shape this agenda.
I would like your participation at as many of the events as possible.
I would like you to bring along other Agency Owners to join in the discussion
I want to hear your thoughts and views
We have the following calendar of events
5th – Round the Campfire – Special event to hear real life stories and discuss triggers and causes.
Awareness of the impact of Mental Health challenges.
12th – Ask the Expert – Self care and personal wellness
Talks from four experts on looking after yourselves.
19th – Insight Event – Creating the wellbeing workplace
Keynote speakers will be talking about how we can create the right environment within our agencies.
26th – Workshop – Developing the Wellbeing guidelines for the agency workplace
The output for the month – we need your input to develop guidelines and best practise.
Lindengate – Charity Lindengate Mental Health Charity,
The Special events will be open to all. The normal Agency Local events that are chargeable to non members will remain chargeable however 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Lindengate.
We will be asking all members and non members to make a donation to support this charity.
Firstly they are an amazing charity in the Mental Health space.
Secondly, Agency Local Member and longtime supporter, Owen Hughes and his wife, Charlie are cycling London to Paris to raise money for Lindengate so we will be supporting them and the charity. Charlie, also works for Lindengate. So it’s a win – win – win!
Just Giving page to make a donation.
We look forward to you participating and helping to make our sector a stronger and healthy area to work.
More information can be found here.