At Firestarters the other day I was very keen to talk about the trust we need to place in the people at our agencies. If we we want to be able to innovate and remain valuable we need to trust in the people who nurture the relationships with each other, other agencies and our clients.
This shouldn’t be merely one-way traffic of course. With the rights of empowerment come greater responsibility – to try to be better, to be persistently curious (and curiously persistent as Simon has it), to have the appetite to catalyse change as opposed to wait for it to be handed down.
In short, to be firestarters within your own organisation.
These are the sort of people who will create the future agency OS.
They are the sort of people who will try and learn rather than fear getting it wrong.
The sort that ask for forgiveness, not for permission.
These are the people who can make a good agency great.
They are self-starters, self-learners, and inspired by everything.
I imagine they write, talk, tweet, discuss and debate on all manner of topics, both during and outside their working hours.
They bring themselves to work and find themselves in the work.
So I find it strange that many of these brilliant people are also the sort of people who, when they go public with their ideas and innovations (and it’s almost impossible not to these days), will tend to say something like this:
“These views are my own. They do not represent the views of Agency X. If I offend anyone, particularly clients of Agency X, then it is I to be angry with, and rest assured Agency X will hold me totally responsible, possibly firing me if that’s what you really feel is necessary.”
Alright, so the last (and long) sentence is ever said out loud, but I suspect it’s the subtext.
I do understand this, but a little part of me feels very sad when I see/hear it.
And it’s wrong.
I think we need to disclaim the disclaimer.
It’s a small point, but I meant to mention it on Tuesday night.
Your views ARE the agency’s views. The agency’s view is constituted precisely of your views and those of the people you work with.
The values of your agency are generated and sustained by the ‘wisdom and inventiveness’ of the people who create the agency’s work, as much as by the people who started and run the business.
The culture of your agency is being endlessly re-made, now, by you.
It is not something you merely inherit and are empowered by, but something you are responsible for defining and protecting.
As Martin said on Tuesday, good luck!