How to Improve Small Agency Employee Performance

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Who says you, as a small agency, can't afford to give your employees access to great training? One of the things we do is read books. "The Tipping Point," by Malcolm Gladwell,
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"Purple Cow," by Seth Godin, "Juicing the Orange," by Pat Fallon and Fred Senn, "Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This!" By Luke Sullivan, "The Houdini Solution," by Ernie Schenck: these are some of the books that I've read and re-read to benefit from the knowledge of those who are wiser than I am. I buy copies of the ones that will help my agency achieve its goals and pass them out to my employees. A couple of weeks later we order some pizza, sit down and talk about what we're learning.

Not surprisingly more comes to light than the contents of a book. We also talk about our own challenges and how we can overcome the obstacles that keep us from great work. We learn that others overcame the same obstacles we have through perseverance.

I'm paraphrasing Mark Fenske who said that most agencies (even bad ones) have creative talent that can do "pencil-worthy" work. It's the opportunity that most lack. Perhaps Fenske's right, they don't have the infrastructure to keep great work alive, but I think there is also an element that lies within that keeps one from achieving one's best. You must give yourself permission to be great. What I mean is that you have to give yourself permission to believe you can be great. You have to overcome the idea that your heroes are superheroes. Their power is not beyond your reach. You must see that your heroes put their pants on one leg at a time. They're human. They hit and they miss. They're not magical beings. They just don't quit. Let your people hear their heroes and they will learn to believe in themselves. Seminars are great if you can afford them, but if not, hold your own. Read a series of books by our greatest marketing or creative minds with your employees. Go through some awards annuals together. Review your last six months work and discuss where the work went right and where it went wrong. Just invest time with your staff to learn how to get better.

Take a look at your staff. Are they as good as they should be? Are they better than they were last year? If the answer is no I suggest you take the blame. Own the job of helping your employees become all they can be. The point is, keep your people thinking about improving and they will improve. Another great thing will happen at the same time; they'll learn that you care about them.
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