The one constant in life is change. And agencies don’t half experience change by the bucketload. Our business model sees us constantly juggling client requirements, people requests, market trends and company goals.
Now, throw technology as your chosen sector into the mix – a resilient industry that’s intent on never sitting still – and you have a heady concoction that isn’t for the fainthearted.
Shock announcement: I don’t like change.
Given a choice, I’ll dig my heels in and stubbornly refuse to budge. People close to me will testify to that.
Since taking on Bamboo, I’ve learned the only constant in agency life is the one thing I’m uncomfortable with. Leaning into this discomfort and accepting change for what it is – an uncontrollable force – has been my most significant learning in the past few years.
After all, my purchase of Bamboo was forged amidst a profound personal and professional event. My dear friend and business partner passed away, prompting me to step up overnight, take the reins, and eventually buy our company.
Fortunately, very few B2B tech marketing agency owners and leaders will experience the same event. Though, it constantly reminds me how quickly life and business can transform.
Change needn’t be scary
Learning to lead an agency in the tech industry means acknowledging the change you are comfortable with and situations that your team can help with. This requires self-reflection and mapping out the agency leadership aspects that could unsettle you.
I’ve learned I thrive under specific scenarios:
- Improving how we look after our team by treating nothing as sacred
- Welcoming new clients and wishing those leaving us all the best on their next journey
- Chasing down a pipeline target, whether instigated by me or external forces
- Emergencies that require a cool head
Conversely, when you run an agency, you can face:
- Personal critique and unfounded feedback that you disagree with
- Business ambiguity and more arduous months commercially
- Outgrowing partners who are no longer suitable for your business
- New people coming into the team and those deciding to leave
My advice – seek help. This is what running an agency is really about.
No one person can or should do everything, and what causes you conflict, anxiety, or stress could be someone’s ideal challenge to solve.
Diversity of experience, mindset and background is an agency’s secret weapon and what you should be driving towards as a leader.
People can develop impressive solutions when given authority, accountability, trust and encouragement.
Why B2B technology doesn’t sit still
How do you actually adapt to change?
Let’s take everyone’s favourite topic – artificial intelligence (AI) and how it’s affecting agencies, technology companies, society and individuals.
The best agencies adapt, but they adapt in the right way.
As proud geeks, we could have gone all-in on AI when it arrived in the mainstream. Or, we could have buried our heads in the sand, scared for our livelihoods and craft.
What we did – and this is often the case for any change you face when leading an agency – is planned effectively and used our best asset: the collective brainpower of our excellent team.
- Speaking to clients, gathering their views, plans and comfort levels
- Discussing as a team the threats and opportunities this new technology brings
- Appointing an internal champion to research interesting software and tools
- Reflecting and observing, putting risk management at the heart of any decision
- Adapting our message, focusing on the emotional intelligence and humanity of our team
- Launching a Responsible AI Charter to offer complete transparency of any future AI use
- Constantly reviewing our approach, accelerating and decelerating when needed
At any one-time, leading agencies are focusing on many spinning plates. Business is about making long-term decisions and considering the consequences. That’s what our clients trust us to do with their content, brand message, digital campaigns, and LinkedIn presence, and it’s what we do internally with our internal machine.
Leading an agency in technology requires composure, confidence, communication, and care. These four Cs are ultimately how you navigate change effectively. Enabling you to protect team harmony, stay close to your clients and deliver sustainable growth without distractions.
Maybe change isn’t so bad after all…
If you need help with change or want to know more about how I run Bamboo PR, you can find me on LinkedIn.