The most productive agencies do not over-complicate their processes – they chart a course and follow it.
Here are our tips to bolster agency productivity.
Leo Burnett once said; “Keep it Simple. Let’s do the obvious thing – the common thing – but let’s do it uncommonly well.”
More and more, there is an undue premium placed on complexity when it comes to managing and developing operational procedure. The day-to-day is overshadowed by grand strategies and shiny new systems. Excellence is rarely associated with the practical. Many agencies now waste resources attempting to reinvent the wheel, because invention outshines old-fashioned hard work and well-honed skill.
A belief in an undiscovered cure-all system, solution or strategy alleviates our obligation to work hard at the obvious and practical. In reality, the most productive agencies do not over-complicate their processes—they chart a course and follow it—at full speed. Agencies employ operational-overhaul as a solution far too often when in reality all that’s necessary is some fine tuning. Next time you get the urge to reinvent your operational structure, consider the following first:
Articulate Future Goals and Define Metrics of Success
Analysing the past has its merits, but only in the context of planning for the future. Plans should be laid in real-time facts and figures: resource allocation, marketing and pr, cost control, expected revenue, etc. Set realistic targets and articulate expected outcomes. Establish accountability within and outside the project workgroup. To quote Stephen Covey, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Collaborate from the Ground Up
Collaboration thrives on trust, transparency and openness—all elements that make group interactions more fluid and predictable for the parties involved (this is a good thing). All parties involved should aim for the same targets, address the same challenges, and share the same results—together. “Synergy” may be a mocked relic of bygone business vernacular but it was a powerful concept because it was a real, powerful thing, before we called it synergy.
Proper analyses and good documentation are required for making strategic improvement to your processes and systems. In the most successful agencies account services personnel have a strong sense of scope, relevant financial metrics, and how their project data translates into information-driven decisions. Successful agencies utilise embedded and collaborative work procedures that provide standardised, timely, and goal-relevant reporting to the organisation’s critical decision-makers.
Planning On the Clock
Translating a valuable idea into a profit laden invoice is an art every agency must master for economic survival. Accurately planning profitable outcomes requires a firm grasp on expenditures, which naturally includes time and effort.
Resource allocation, for any single project, should be directly correlated to the project’s profit-generating capacity. Assessing profit capacity effectively, often requires an almost scientifically precise labor distribution method which may necessitate fine-tuning your organisations scheduling mechanism.
Own Your Business Tools
Administration for administration’s sake is futile. Where extra admin time and complexity is to be invested, ensure the return on that investment justifies the worth. The best implemented tools, are those that are straightforward, well understood and offer a value to the business in every click.
In closing, continuity and simplicity are largely undervalued in our industry. Spending a little energy streamlining your operations and getting the right tools in place leads straight to higher profitability, less wasted time, reduced administration and happier teams.