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Leadership Management Blog Posts

Be a better leader and manager to achieve your agency's goals.

Agency / June 22, 2016 10 Easy-to-Use Time Tracking Tools Creative Agencies Can Use In 2017
10 Easy-to-Use Time Tracking Tools Creative Agencies Can Use In 2017

By Jami Oetting

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There is one evil that haunts the days and even the nights of most agency workers: the timesheet.

Employees avoid it at every opportunity, but eventually, time -- or the poor soul in charge of collecting timesheets -- catches up with them. Some agencies have even gone as far as rewarding employees with free beer if they submit their reports on time, which isn't such a bad idea. 

The real problem with timesheets is that they require you to track time on every single thing you do, and no one ... Read More

Agency / June 20, 2016 What Creative Leaders Do
What Creative Leaders Do

By Kevin Roberts

To create a culture where ideas rule, you must become a Creative Leader. There is a premium on originality. Building creative environments, inspiring creative ideas, finding creative solutions -- these are the signatures of peak performing organizations. I call this the SuperVUCA challenge, the drive to create outcomes that are V-ibrant, U-nreal, C-razy, and A-stounding. In a SuperVUCA world, the crazies reign and the speed demons rule.

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Agency / June 8, 2016 How to Build a Business Dashboard for Your Inbound Marketing Agency
How to Build a Business Dashboard for Your Inbound Marketing Agency

By Mike Lieberman

Most of us running marketing agencies come from any background other than traditional business. Some of you are creative types, others have technical backgrounds, and if you’re like me, I’m 100% marketing. So when it comes to business, we’re all learning how to help our companies run smoothly and make money. If we can’t make money, then there’s no point in doing what we do.

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Agency / May 26, 2016 Why Agency Leaders Should Make Themselves Irrelevant
Why Agency Leaders Should Make Themselves Irrelevant

By Jami Oetting

"Irrelevant" doesn't sound good. But it is -- for you, your agency, and your employees. Stay with me here.

If you're necessary to the agency's success, that means your agency is at risk of failure. Certainly its longevity is at risk. No one is indestructible. We all get sick. We all have emergencies. We all need to take a break sometime. Yes, even you. If your agency can't function as expected when you're not around, that's like building your agency on top of a fault line. You don't know when the big one is coming, but you have no fail-safes in place to protect your agency when it does.

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Agency / April 30, 2016 How Managers Can Motivate 6 Employee Personality Types [Infographic]
How Managers Can Motivate 6 Employee Personality Types [Infographic]

By Jami Oetting

How do you motivate people to do better work?

Many managers will point to adding benefits and increasing salaries. Others will say that fostering stronger relationships between employees will increase their desire to produce better work. Some point to improving the skills of manager -- better bosses mean happier employees. 

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Agency / April 9, 2016 16 Motivational Speeches to Inspire Your Next Presentation
16 Motivational Speeches to Inspire Your Next Presentation

By Erik Devaney

Let's face reality: It's hard, if not impossible, to feel motivated all the time.

Some days you just want to put your feet up, eat buffalo chicken nachos, and watch Netflix -- and not even good Netflix, but some crappy movie that you're only watching because you've given up on being productive and are complicit in filling your brain with dim-witted, mind-numbing entertainment.

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Agency / March 12, 2016 12 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful
12 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

By Meghan Keaney Anderson

In a truly beautiful letter to his daughter Yolande, sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois extolled the virtues of being uncomfortable.

Yolande was headed to a new school halfway around the world from the neighborhood and people she knew. It was years before women had the right to vote, and decades before the Civil Rights Movement.

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Agency / March 3, 2016 The Devastating Mistake First-Time Managers Make
The Devastating Mistake First-Time Managers Make

By Jack Skeels

Agencies are filled with amazingly skilled people. Often the most skilled of them get promoted into managerial roles where they are called upon to not only supervise and assess, but also direct and fix.

For many of those new managers, the transition is a confusing one, a kind of no man’s land between expert to enabler. After years spent on perfecting a craft, bringing out the best in creative, tech, or content, we ask them to take on a seemingly impossible task -- bring out the best in people.

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Agency / February 29, 2016 What Investors Look For in an Agency
What Investors Look For in an Agency

By Jami Oetting


Many agencies are the product of one person’s passion.

Their hard work and vision is what takes the agency from being run out of the confines of a garage to a humming office full of talented people. It’s that dedication that oftentimes determines whether the agency becomes a success or a short-lived adventure where the founder learned a "few lessons" the hard way.

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Agency / February 26, 2016 Why Agency CEOs Are Chief People Officers
Why Agency CEOs Are Chief People Officers

By Jeff Swystun

I recently had lunch with an agency CEO. It was revealing because the content was raw and real. In short, he lamented the lack of hours in the day to deal with everything on his plate. There was little I could recommend short of cloning and ruthless prioritization.

If you are an agency CEO or if you marvel at the responsibility they take on, then you know that it is overwhelming. CEOs have to be a master of the balance sheet, superior in business development, aware of technological developments, substantive in interaction with clients, savvy in the press, excellent public speakers, tireless in the pursuit of growth and profit, and role models for the agency’s brand.

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Agency / February 23, 2016 We Documented Our Agency’s Mistakes Every Week for a Year. Here’s What We Learned.
We Documented Our Agency’s Mistakes Every Week for a Year. Here’s What We Learned.

By Ross Beyeler

Every Friday, our team comes together for a weekly reflections meeting. It's our "touchy-feely-kumbaya" moment where everyone has an opportunity to open up and share what's on their mind. Primarily, we try to focus on three things: what went well, what didn't go so well, and what we learned. We then document those lessons, and once-a-year, we review the key themes.

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Agency / January 20, 2016 The 11 Stages of Inbound Marketing Agency Growth
The 11 Stages of Inbound Marketing Agency Growth

By Mike Lieberman

It's the beginning of a new year. And today, your agency feels shiny and new. You've renewed your resolution to conquer the world.

But come February or the close of Q1, you’ll settle into your previous bad habits, and the world won’t look so inviting. The same issues you had in December will reemerge, and you’ll be talking about the same challenges over and over again.

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Agency / January 17, 2016 Are You a Micromanager? Take This Quiz to Find Out [Infographic]
Are You a Micromanager? Take This Quiz to Find Out [Infographic]

By Lindsay Kolowich

Ever heard the term "helicopter parents"? They're the hyper-present, overbearing parents who take pay excessively close attention to their kids' experiences and problems.

Well, helicopter parents are to their kids what micromanagers are to the people they manage. While being engaged in your colleagues' lives is important, micromanaging their every move can backfire.

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Agency / January 8, 2016 10 Employee Feedback Tools to Track Your Team's Engagement in 2017
10 Employee Feedback Tools to Track Your Team's Engagement in 2017

By Jami Oetting

Finding and retaining top talent is the No. 1 challenge faced by agency executives, according to a survey from ClickZ

That's why so many agencies are renewing their focus on company culture and employee engagement: Once they find a highly skilled, valuable employee, they want to keep him or her, especially in a time when competition for talent is only increasing.

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Agency / December 18, 2015 Is IQ Meaningless in Business?
Is IQ Meaningless in Business?

By Lindsay Kolowich

What determines success in the business world?

Is it your leadership ability? Negotiation skills? Unique perspective? What about your IQ?

While it's likely that most businesses don't require employees to take an IQ test as part of the application process, IQ tests and scores have long been used as a measure of a person's intelligence and predictors of their success.

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Agency / December 17, 2015 Want to Reach Female Consumers? First, Fix the Women in Advertising Problem
Want to Reach Female Consumers? First, Fix the Women in Advertising Problem

By Jami Oetting

Women manage more than half of personal wealth in the U.S., drive up to 80% of all purchasing decisions, and control $20 trillion in consumer spending each year.

Yet, the power of the female consumer isn’t reflected in the offices of either brands or their agencies. Reports estimate the percentage of female CMOs at anywhere between 8% and 30%.

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Agency / November 19, 2015 This Is How You Build a Customer-Centric Company
This Is How You Build a Customer-Centric Company

By Jami Oetting

Who is responsible for the customer experience?

If you can list one specific person in your client’s company and you can actually get consensus on this from either your team or your client's team, then you’re doing better than most.

According to a new research report conducted by Boston-based agency Almighty, they found that in one global software brand, 83% of respondents said they had a leader who was responsible for customer experience. However, each of those respondents listed a different person as that leader.

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Agency / November 18, 2015 The State of the Agency in 17 Charts
The State of the Agency in 17 Charts

By Jami Oetting

You might trade client (horror) stories with a few other agency execs you know. You might belong to an agency group where people share metrics and financials. Maybe a more established firm shared a few documents and lessons from their high-growth period with you. But where else do you go to truly understand the top issues concerning agency leaders and their team members? 

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Agency / November 18, 2015 Lead With Intention: 3 Key Areas You Need to Focus On
Lead With Intention: 3 Key Areas You Need to Focus On

By Anese Cavanaugh

Leading a business and working with clients can be a bit like playing whack-a-mole: There’s never a finish line, new things pop up all the time, it’s never going to all get done, you will (hopefully) always have more requests than you can handle, people need your leadership (even when you don’t feel like leading), clients and employees are going to demand everything and anything, you’re going to have to keep innovating, and your team is always going to be growing, morphing, and evolving.

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Agency / November 16, 2015 How to Become an Indispensable Agency [SlideShare]
How to Become an Indispensable Agency [SlideShare]

By Jami Oetting

The number of marketers who no longer work with an outside agency increased by 13% in 2015, found a report from the Society of Digital Agencies.

The trend of moving work in-house is nothing new but some of the reasons are different. Namely the need for ongoing campaigns and continuity of promotions, the (real or imagined) lack of digital talent in agencies, and the growth of data has sparked CMOs to consider what activities they are outsourcing and the value or ROI of this practice.

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Agency / November 11, 2015 How to Protect Your Intellectual Property and 4 Other Legal Issues You Can’t Afford to Ignore
How to Protect Your Intellectual Property and 4 Other Legal Issues You Can’t Afford to Ignore

By Jami Oetting

You didn’t get into the agency business to debate contracts, agreements, and clauses.

But the reality is that failure to understand the common legal missteps and mistakes in the industry can cause more damage to your business than any unhappy client or employee.

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Agency / October 24, 2015 The Consequences of Social Media Shaming [Video]
The Consequences of Social Media Shaming [Video]

By Lindsay Kolowich

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Believe it or not, in the early days of social media, Twitter was a healing place.

People used Twitter as a platform to share their shameful secrets with the world, and to connect with one another when they realized they were no longer alone. It gave voiceless people a voice -- and became a place not for shaming others, but for radical de-shaming, de-stigmatizing, and building up a strong network of support.

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Agency / October 21, 2015 The 4 Biggest Issues Keeping Agency Owners Up at Night
The 4 Biggest Issues Keeping Agency Owners Up at Night

By Julie Kukesh

As a principal consultant and classroom trainer at HubSpot, I have the opportunity to deliver in-person training and custom consulting engagements for agency owners. One of the aspects about my job that I love is the hallway conversations where an agency owner will take advantage of break time, lunch time, or any downtime to bend my ear on something specific to their business that’s been on their mind.

I become an unofficial “business therapist,” and it's in this privileged position that I hear first-hand the top concerns of agency owners.

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Agency / October 19, 2015 How Bad Management Is Taking Your Agency Hostage Every Day
How Bad Management Is Taking Your Agency Hostage Every Day

By Jack Skeels

3:00 PM — “Sheesh,” Josh mutters as he plops into his desk chair and opens the Illustrator file that was on his morning list of things to do. “I guess I’ll be setting the alarm and locking the doors again tonight.” 

This wasn’t the dream job the talented 25-year-old designer thought he had stepped into at Red Sidecar agency six months ago.

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Agency / October 9, 2015 6 Essential Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Own Agency
6 Essential Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Own Agency

By Gregg Crystal

Whether you've been in marketing for a few years or a couple of decades, the choice to launch your own agency is never easy. Plus, there's no lack of competition -- there are an estimated 61,000 agencies in the U.S.

You need to approach launching your own business with a plan and with an understanding of what matters when building a successful agency

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Agency / October 7, 2015 Get Your Agency Bought: 3 Tips for Building a Business Worth Buying
Get Your Agency Bought: 3 Tips for Building a Business Worth Buying

By Jason Swenk

We’ve all got those “someday” wish lists. We imagine retiring to our ski cabin in Colorado or a beachfront condo in Florida. We dream about the vacations we’ll take, and the sights we’ll see, and all that extra time we’ll have to learn to sail, or cook, or golf (better). There are all those projects we’ll finally get to: start a garden, brew craft beer, and download all those digital photos trapped on memory cards.

But, if you’re an agency owner or entrepreneur, sometimes those days seem far out of reach.

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Agency / October 2, 2015 So You Want to Start an Agency? 11 Things That Actually Matter
So You Want to Start an Agency? 11 Things That Actually Matter

By Ed Leake

The idea of agency ownership might seem like the "promised land" for many marketers, but that's not always the reality. 

I'll get to the point: Running an agency is hard slog. It demands risk-taking, requires long hours, and in reality, makes less time for yourself, friends, and family than you’d perhaps like.

Even with the heartache, headache, long hours, and tough decisions, I can tell you one thing with frank honesty -- I love my job. I love my business. I enjoy working with my team. I relish the reward of it all, and quite frankly, I’d never look back.

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Agency / September 29, 2015 19 Signs You're Emotionally Intelligent (And Why It Matters for Your Career)
19 Signs You're Emotionally Intelligent (And Why It Matters for Your Career)

By Lindsay Kolowich

Why do some of the smartest people hit a wall in their careers where they can't seem to move up any further? And why do people who aren't as knowledgeable or experienced in a field become extremely successful leaders in organizations?

What sets people apart from their peers isn't cognitive intelligence or a specific skill set. It's their emotional intelligence: their ability to identify and monitor emotions -- their own and others' -- and to develop and manage productive relationships.

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Agency / September 15, 2015 What to Look for in a Co-Founder: 10 Agency Execs Weigh In
What to Look for in a Co-Founder: 10 Agency Execs Weigh In

By Jami Oetting

Many people choose to travel the entrepreneurial path alone. But for some, the idea of finding a partner who can provide emotional and professional support, share responsibilities, and help get the work done is a more attractive avenue. A partner can provide another perspective, help you to make big, complicated decisions, and serve as an avid listener when things get tough.

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