Dream Team – The agency people conference
• Make your agency a great place to work
• The unvarnished truth about attracting and retaining the people you need to succeed
• Friday 15th November 2019 at the Shoreditch Treehouse
Building and keeping a brilliant team is one of the hardest – – and most painful – things about running an agency.
In 2009 you couldn’t get a job. But in 2019, people expect the moon on a stick.
They want to work remotely. They want unlimited holiday. And if you offer three types of kombucha on tap, they’ll leave for somewhere with four.
People can be strange. And it can seem like they’re getting stranger. More demanding. More entitled, perhaps.
Dream Team is a day of frank conversations where we unpick the truth about what it takes to build the right team to succeed.
Who you’ll hear from
the ‘boring’ way to WORK LESS, BE HAPPIER – AND MAKE MORE MONEY
Two years ago Steen Rasmussen let everybody in his agency IIH Nordic take Friday off. Since then they’ve increased revenue, increased turnover, increased customer satisfaction, and reduced sick days.
But wait – that isn’t the story.
The story is HOW they did this. They made their agency MUCH more efficient by changing lots and lots of small behaviours.
“We basically took all the productivity advice that you’ve read in books hundreds of times… except we actually went and did it” says Steen.
They stopped wasting time in meetings. “We have a timer in meeting rooms. Internal meetings can only last 20 minutes or 45 minutes. If you get a meeting invite with no agenda, you aren’t allowed to attend. When the timer goes off, we agree who does what. There’s a clear action plan on how to follow up.”
They started using the pomodoro technique. “You work for 25 minutes, and nobody can disrupt you. An online board that tracks everybody’s pomodoro, and how long is left. It tells you that you can talk to Henrig in 10 minutes when his pomodoro is finished.”
They eliminated ‘grunt work’. “We recognised that 60-70% of people’s day is doing stuff that you have to do to be allowed to do the other stuff. So we hired assistants to prepare coffee and clean up after meetings. We hired student workers. And things we couldn’t automate with technology we outsourced to virtual assistants in the Philippines.”
This wasn’t plain sailing. They lost some employees. They made some errors that almost killed the company. But now they work less, deliver more, and make more money.
The best part is, all this is probably within your reach.
2. the truth about being a boss
An agency owner got an email from a young employee one Sunday evening:
“I’ll be off work for two weeks, because I’ve decided to focus on my mental health.”
She was stumped. What next?
Obviously she wanted to support her team. But she didn’t want to get taken advantage of. She also really, really didn’t want to get sued – or shamed online.
For years, we’ve told people: “It’s okay to talk about mental health.” Well, that message has sunk in.
It’s good. But where does that leave you as an employer?
At Dream Team, we’ll be talking about all the things you aren’t allowed to talk about on LinkedIn:
How to respond to the creeping “culture of entitlement”.
On one hand people expect to be treated like adults – with flexibility and responsibility. But at the same time, they sort of expect a parent / child relationship – where you provide everything.
What was a perk last year is an entitlement this year
3. how to make your agency run itself
How do you create a high performance culture, where people genuinely feel ‘bought in’ and accountable?
It’s something Simon Wakeman has spent five years experimenting with in his agency Deeson – taking things from Spotify and Buffer, and adapting them to the agency model.
“I’ve tried to do is move from a paternalistic culture to one that’s ‘bottom up’ - where people naturally take responsibility for their work.
“From my point of view as MD it's fascinating. Other than making the commercial numbers add up, it kind of runs itself.”
“What people really want from work is autonomy in their role. We have a small number of leadership teams – essentially coaches – who oversee things day-to-day.”
“People are happy, satisfaction is high, and it’s a really nice place at the moment.”
This is a fascinating and inspiring story, with lots of things you can implement.
4. How to START A PUBLICATION that makes you ‘industry famous’
If you want your agency to have a huge presence in your market, starting a trade publication might be something you should look at.
Andy Oakes runs comms agency Blue Stripe Media.
In December 2018, they launched New Digital Age – a website covering the digital media and marketing sector (the same sector his agency targets.)
Now his team can use their ‘media’ hat to reach anybody they want! They can organise industry roundtables and start all kinds of conversations that would have been difficult if they were just seen as “agency guys”. It’s already won them clients!
Andy will be at Industry Famous to tell us how it works. This tactic is really worth considering if you want to drive sales AND establish your agency as an authority.
5. How to run breakfast briefings that attract clients
Breakfast briefings are great – in theory. You get belly-to-belly with important people you’d like to work with.
But in practice breakfast briefings can be a huge stress. They have a super-high drop-out rate that mean awkward conversations with tiny groups – and they often don’t generate any business.
One agency that’s cracked this is Huddle. They run a series of breakfast briefings called “Brandflakes” that successfully get them having the right conversations with the right prospects.
In this conversation we’ll speak to Huddle founder Danny Somekh:
How do you reach out to people – and get them to actually show up?
Which formats attract people – AND work well on the day?
How do you follow-up so you win business?
This is a great session to pay attention to if you’ve tried breakfast briefings in the past and given up.
When it’s happening
The event starts at 10am and runs until about 4.30pm. There are breaks and opportunities to mix with the other delegates.
We’re feeding you. The food is really nice! Just let us know when you book if you have any dietary requirements. (Veggie doesn’t count anymore.)
There will be drinks afterwards. The Town Hall Hotel has a lovely bar.
our amazing Venue
We’re holding this event at the Town Hall Hotel. It’s an amazing venue in Bethnal Green. We’re using the Council Chamber, a stunning art deco space that still retains its original green leather seats and fold down tables. It’s an inspiring and unusual place to hold a conference.
The dog in the picture is Dizzy, the hotel’s resident rescue greyhound. If you see her wandering around say hi!