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Symptoms of Agency Denial: 10 Warning Signs a Firm Is in Trouble


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A key element of leadership is understanding where your firm is now. If the agency seems resistant to change, you may be in denial. The future of marketing belongs to those agencies that discover how to embrace change. Only in this way can they truly prepare for the future.

Leadership is critical for lasting change. But leaders can't lead if they don't face the truth!

Published in: Business, Education
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Symptoms of Agency Denial: 10 Warning Signs a Firm Is in Trouble

  1. 1. Symptoms of Denial 10 Warning Signs a Firm Is in Trouble Understand when it’s time to take a serious, in-depth look at the way the agency operates – when a simple hire or fire won’t create significant improvement.
  2. 2. Symptom 1: All the focus is on past success Toys of Christmas Past by Paul Townsend More time is spent talking about the good old days. Case studies are starting to look dated. There is nothing new to show. There is little to get excited about.
  3. 3. Symptom 2: Risk taking is not encouraged Staff is afraid. New ideas just fizzle away. Punishment is doled out for the smallest infraction. Fear of failure drives decision making. "Taken at Trash " by Melusina Parkin
  4. 4. Symptom 3: Politics are the rule Positions and titles become increasingly important. More private one-on-one meetings. Motivation is questioned. Issues addressed by trying to manipulate staff.
  5. 5. Symptom 4: Employees guess at what management wants No big-picture direction from management. Focus is on granular-level tasks. Information flow is all back-channel. Staff has difficulty actually getting any work done.
  6. 6. Symptom 5: Decision making in the hands/minds of the few Agency becomes more insular and siloed. Decisions are bumped up to the next higher authority. Work delayed until management reviews. Anyone who speaks up is viewed with hostility.
  7. 7. Symptom 6: Appearances are all-important Agency seems focused on distractions, busy work. Managers squash feedback. Bad news is swept under the rug. Nobody is accountable.
  8. 8. Symptom 7: Programs du jour are the menu Change programs started and abandoned without achieving anything. Every new management fad imitated. Off-site retreats produce little results.
  9. 9. Symptom 8: Micromanagement is the culture Resistance to delegating any work. Management expects regular reports on miscellany. Smaller and smaller faithful “in” the know. Everything is a priority.
  10. 10. Symptom 9: Energy level is low Management finds it easier to brush staff experience aside. More meetings, no decisions. Staff taking more breaks, chatting and wasting time online. Absenteeism rising.
  11. 11. Symptom 10: Business as usual There is no vision for the future, no plan for growth, and no hope. Agency mission statement hanging on the wall seems lifeless and phony. New ideas are squashed.
  12. 12. Get Out of Denial  Establish a Clear Vision/Mission  Motivating and energizing, yet doable, actionable  Leadership Must Commit Fully  Ensures resources, decisions, momentum and action  Ensure Everyone Is Involved  Incorporate all operational components and organizational levels, no sacred cows  Involvement/Ownership  Leaders and change agents actively engaged  Have a Plan  Develop it/work it/track it  Our experience in working with agencies of all sizes has uncovered many examples of denial, or barriers to change  Leaders need to shift their focus to inside the agency and address tangible issues often overlooked  Agencies often make the mistake of addressing a single issue, such as staffing, as opposed to taking a more holistic approach to problem solving and long-term planning  We encourage agencies to conduct a broader, more in-depth assessment of their organization to uncover the underlying issues affecting performance
  13. 13. Sanders Consulting Group  Operating over 30 years, helping over 5,000 agencies  Known around the world as the leading new business consulting firm  Working with some of the best managed agencies on the globe  Selected as the new business training provider to the largest agencies in the world  We show you how to win, not just play the game Visit e-mail: Call 412.897.9329 Bob Sanders President Sanders Consulting Group New Directions For Agency Growth
  14. 14. We see our role as trusted advisors helping you to chart a new path for your firm that leads to success and perhaps moving to the next level. We believe that anyone can adjust to the industry realities and survive. But if you embrace them, you can soar.