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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
2021
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Now displaying: August, 2021
Aug 30, 2021

All agency owners strive to be great leaders but that can be a daunting task when there are so many things that demand attention on a daily basis. And understanding what defines a great leader and how to learn and implement those skills can be equally overwhelming. When it feels like the focus needs to be external on building the company and growing client relationships, time dedicated internally to processes and staff development is often rushed, minimized, or pushed to another day.

Author Deborah Coviello has studied what it takes for a CEO to elevate not only their companies but also their people for long-lasting impact. Defining an agency’s “True North” creates the guiding star to ensure the entire team is moving in the same direction. She also believes a focus on people development sets the foundation for the greatest success.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Deborah and I look at various elements that create a great CEO. We talk about the need for clear processes that have the future in mind, the importance of prioritizing proactive internal growth, and how any team member can be a high performer if you have the right conversation with them. We also discuss the insights an agency owner can gain by taking time away and why mentors and coaches may hold the key to a CEO’s success.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Rethink Leadership

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The elements that make up a “CEO’s Compass”
  • How a company benefits from defining their “True North”
  • Why the right processes are critical to success
  • The need to rethink leadership to prioritize doing something proactive to grow your company internally
  • What are we doing that’s right and wrong for growing our emerging leaders
  • How to improve the way we give feedback
  • The importance of finding a coach
  • The insights gained from three words: continue, start, and change
Aug 23, 2021

As we continue the push into a post-pandemic world, many agencies are taking a hard look at how they approach business and what they want this new future to look like. Many are implementing long-term changes inspired by what the last 18+ months has taught them. Others have been inspired to make changes toward a more focused vision. Success with these changes starts with becoming crystal clear on what kind of agency you want to be.

In over 300 podcasts, I have never repeated or reposted an episode. Until now. Episode #100 entitled “Are You A Wonderbread Factory or An Artisanal Bakery?” is probably the single most common episode people mention when they bring up past episodes. The response has been so positive and consistent that it felt like a perfect episode to revisit as a guiding light toward defining your agency’s next chapter.

In this solocast, I discuss the spectrum of how agencies can do business, from the creative-driven, custom-designed artisan way to the numbers-driven, one-size-fits-all factory approach. There are pros and cons of both sides, and many agencies live somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. But having agency clarity about where you are and where you want to be is the surest way to ensure the kind of success you are striving for.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why this topic seems more relevant today than when originally recorded
  • How agency focus sets up agency success
  • Defining the two ends of the spectrum of how agencies can approach business
  • The pros and cons of running a wonderbread style agency or an artisanal bakery
  • How to approach shifting your agency’s focus
Aug 16, 2021

An agency’s success or failure is reliant upon the owner’s leadership skills to a certain extent. There are many elements that ultimately create an agency’s legacy, but the strength of the leadership is one of the cornerstones that holds it all together. Most teams are built with people who have come up and through the agency world, so by the time they step into a leadership role, there’s a risk that they’re doing it the way everyone else has done it. If you want to have a next-level agency, it might be worth the effort to reexamine and sharpen your leadership approach.

Ryan Carey is a ranger-qualified army vet who now heads up White Label IQ, our presenting sponsor here at the podcast. His background and experience have given him unique insights into leadership that allow him to come at agency life with an inspiring perspective.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Ryan and I explore military-inspired leadership and how it can benefit agencies. These worlds might seem vastly different but they both share a need for clarity, communication, trust, respectful disagreements, and unflappable dedication to the team. We talk about all of these things, sprinkled with Ryan’s true-life stories from the front lines, with the hope of challenging and improving how you think about leadership.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The need to ensure clarity on a client’s definition of success
  • Tips for avoiding micromanaging your leadership
  • The need for clear processes
  • Why it’s important to not get complacent, even when succeeding
  • Absolute vs Participatory Leadership
  • How to respectfully disagree
  • The importance of trust
  • Challenges of splitting-focus
  • Military experience that benefits agency success

“As you continue to develop a project with a client, you’ve got to continue to ensure it’s aligning with where they’re wanting to go because they’re learning too in the whole process.” - Ryan CareyCLICK TO TWEET“In leadership, it’s easy to get into a micromanaging scenario, especially when it’s client-facing.” - Ryan CareyCLICK TO TWEET“I think it’s very easy to become a line item on an expense report and not a benefit to the company.” - Ryan CareyCLICK TO TWEET“The more that you build trust with people, the more that they’re going to be able to say something when it matters.” - Ryan CareyCLICK TO TWEET“People can do amazing things and when you give them leeway and trust, they can take that very far.” - Ryan CareyCLICK TO TWEET

Ways to contact Ryan Carey:

Additional Resources:

Aug 9, 2021

Whenever I fly, I wear a t-shirt that says “Be Good To People.” It’s a simple message that I sincerely believe in but the response to the shirt, especially during the pandemic, has been something I wasn’t expecting. It has inspired people to quite literally reach out and touch me with a pat of gratitude for the reminder.

We are overwhelmed, exhausted, confused, and scared, all things that can bring out the worst in people, so a reminder that kindness exists, is possible, and can feel almost revolutionary. The generous response to my previous solocast about anxiety has inspired me to take a closer look at the message literally stamped on my chest, in hopes of finding ways to expand on self-care in a way that more fully benefits our teams and clients.

In this solocast, I’m talking about the various ways we can be good to ourselves, our team, and the clients we serve. We’ve all been in survival mode and now it’s time to remember who and what we were surviving for. This is about relationship care.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Recognizing the ongoing challenges created by the pandemic
  • A call to take better care of yourself
  • A reminder to reconnect with the people that inspire you
  • The need to think about your team
  • The power of learning opportunities
  • Tips for enhancing client relationships
  • Relationship care as a holistic approach
Aug 2, 2021

There’s no denying that the call for diversity, equity, and inclusion has never been louder. In the middle of it all, agencies are trying to embrace change internally at the same time they are guiding clients on how to incorporate genuine representation, making us students and guides at the same time. It can be uncomfortable, awkward, and overwhelming, especially to dominant communities who have no real-world experience with marginalization.

Nikki McCord turned her political science degree into a career dedicated to influencing change and policy. When she started her own consulting firm eight years ago, she chose to focus on three things: strategic facilitation, board governance, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). She does so from the crossroads of compassion and urgency.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Nikki and I dive into all the difficult topics, starting with why she didn’t want to do this podcast. We talk about the ways agencies get stuck when trying to diversify, the costs and ROI of DEI, how to handle the necessary discomfort of open conversations, and the roles we all need to play in order to create a better world for everyone.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Where we get stuck in the pursuit of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • The costs associated with DEI
  • How to handle the discomfort of diversity discussions
  • The ROI of DEI
  • The need for dominant communities to be a voice for change
  • What to be thinking about in the quest for a diverse agency
  • The importance of management buy-in for DEI
  • How to begin a DEI integration
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