If you're like most of us you occasionally look at your agency and wonder why it isn't better. I find myself evaluating where we are compared to where we should be on a pretty frequent basis. Becoming significantly better does require patience, but it also requires some fundamentals that are key to any improvement. For example:
Do I have the right people? This isn't as easy to know as you might think. You can have the right people in the wrong positions. Knowing how to manage people's weaknesses and strengths is an important step in knowing where you need to improve. Think about the accounts you have and their needs. One person can be a disaster managing one account and a genius on another. Chemistry between clients and your personnel is a key to success and yet so many times agencies ignore the obvious. Don't be afraid to match the personalities properly. You'll have happier clients and employees.
Do I have the right clients? Most success stories have a defining moment, that big break that gives an agency the chance to prove itself. Usually it happens with a client that allows you to be seen on a national stage or gives you a particularly good opportunity to do your best work. Many agencies have built their reputations on accounts that have had little to do with their bottom line. Are you looking for clients that will give you your big chance? They don't just happen along. They are the common denominator for all the agencies that have succeeded in becoming leaders in our industry.
Do I have the right attitude? Are you the best agency in your city? That can be a real problem if you want to be the best, period. A little humility can go a long way toward becoming better. Have a short-term memory for your successes and move on to the next goal. On the other hand don't let disappointments defeat you. "The Little Engine That Could" is a great children story because of the moral it teaches all of us. It can be easy to be satisfied with who you are, don't let it happen. There is always room for improvement.
Do I have a dream? If you don't, none of the above matters. And if your dream isn't followed with a definitive plan for accomplishment, then it's just a dream. If you haven't done so lately, sit down and write out what your dream of success is and how you plan to achieve success. Keep a journal. Set up a calendar of dates to do a check on your progress. Don't wander aimlessly letting whatever happens guide your next steps. Grab the rudder.
Honestly, there is no excuse for failure if you are determined to succeed. Whether you own an agency or just work for one, you should be asking yourself these questions and planning your course accordingly. If you can't look back each year and see clear improvement and growth in your abilities, the reason lies within.