Article

Phil Livingstone
Phil Livingstone 4 October 2016
Categories Advertising

New to Agency Life? 10 Ways to Get the Best out of Your Experience

The best agencies re-invent themselves and adapt to change, quickly. There will always be change but the key point here is that change will no doubt come faster and faster than ever. Like an agency (or any company for that matter), people drive the change and it’s the people that embrace this change at the same pace that will prosper.

Agencies are a great place to learn. Fact. Walk into any (good) agency and a wall of noise and sea of colour hits you. There’s a vibrancy and buzz about the place that you just don’t get in other places. It oozes collaboration and purpose.

collaboration-(1).jpg

If the comment, ‘all agencies are the same’, is true (personally I don’t believe it) then surely the key differentiator is its culture. Unique values, rituals or symbols (often proudly displayed across walls of the office and in meeting rooms) stand them apart. Difference, diversity and perspective allow for a unique way of working. There’s togetherness and a bond between colleagues, driven by the desire to simply just deliver good work.

Lifelong friendships are forged, not only within an agency but across the industry. The media, advertising and marketing industry is unique like that. Long may it continue.

teamwork.jpg

The ever changing face of media is driven by our thirst for information, our mobility, our connectivity and a deluded need for sharing anything and everything socially (by deluded, I mean endless photos of cats and your best friends dinner uploaded onto Facebook for example). This behavioural change forces reinvention.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Viktor E Frankl

The best agencies re-invent themselves and adapt to change, quickly. There will always be change but the key point here is that change will no doubt come faster and faster than ever. Like an agency (or any company for that matter), people drive the change and it’s the people that embrace this change at the same pace that will prosper.

After all, the emphasis here is on Personal Development.

If you are eager to learn, here are a few ideas where you can gain the upper hand...

  1. Embrace the myriad of training opportunities on offer (you will regret it later if you don’t). You will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. No excuses, sign up. Agencies provide a great foundation to learn and are great at providing training opportunities, not all companies do, so embrace it.
  2. Step out of your comfort zone – take on new tasks that will challenge you. You learn through new experiences so take on something new. It feeds the mind.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of on the job training. Not all training is classroom based. 70:20:10 training model is 'most effective for learners'. 70 per cent of knowledge should come on the job, 20 per cent comes from observing others, and only 10 per cent comes from formal training classes will be much better equipped to succeed. Listen and learn - often the best fuel to succeed.
  4. Share, collaborate and present your work (internally & externally). Train yourself to communicate better. Present more; you will get better every time. I’m guilty here, I constantly get told to ‘present the great stuff you do’. (note to self: practice what you preach). The key point here is to be proud of your work.
  5. Volunteer for special projects (it gives you access to a wider peer group and increases your visibility amongst senior executives). Enough said.
  6. Support your industry trade bodies and attend industry events. It’s important to support the groups that govern, regulate and stand up for your industry. Support them in return. They are often wise industry elders and experienced leaders who are more than happy to support you.
  7. Keep yourself updated. Read up on trending topics (unique to your industry). Information isn’t coming to you, you need to go and find it. Subscribe to magazines, read blogs, follow mentors/senior leaders in your field. Learn from them (and their mistakes).
  8. Collaborate with media owners, vendors and technology partners – they are your friends and can support you (without any strings attached). Breaking new ground isn’t easy so embrace teamwork and seek help. Try it; you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the result.
  9. Embrace the team around you. Great teams share and support each other. Learn and feed off each other. The best teams don’t need this forced upon them, but do it naturally. Encourage it.
  10. Lastly, form an opinion – then share it, discuss it, debate it. Passion drives passion, so get involved.

So, put forth your best effort and also challenge your colleagues to constantly step up their game. Nobody can fault you for trying.

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