We just got home for a whirlwind family vacation that included NYC, Paris, and Portugal. I was very familiar with the first two destinations but none of us had been to Portugal before so it was fun to explore a new place.

One of the many things that surprised me about Portugal was finding bamboo growing in the less urban areas. It was unexpected and when we discover something unexpected today — we google it! As I was reading about how bamboo was brought into Portugal because its warm and windy climate is the perfect growing conditions for the plant, I was also reminded of bamboo’s strength.

Bamboo, it turns out, is designed for strength, unlike other woods. Because of it’s internal microbiological structure, each stalk can withstand more stress and can bend with the pressures, giving it a higher tensile strength than steel!

In my decades (ouch!) of working with agencies, I’ve come to believe that the ability to bend or flex as needed is one of the most vital core skills for a successful agency owner or leader. The reality is — our industry is often on the forefront of change and our clients look to us to herald in that change and help them adapt to it. We did it during the great recession, COVID and now we’re doing it with AI.

An agency owner or leader has to naturally be flexible or if that’s not your strong suit, you need to develop the ability to bend. I believe it’s more of a mindset than anything else. Once we recognize and either accept or ideally embrace the concept that change is a natural part of our work and honestly — can be part of our competitive advantage.

It’s the agencies and agency leaders who make the time to look over the horizon, anticipate the shifts in the wind and bend with them and then guide their team into and through the changes that win at the end of the day.

So if that’s not your natural state — how do you get more comfortable?

Keep learning — there’s no shortage of information sources about the trends, technologies and cultural shifts that bring about change in our world. There’s no excuse for us being caught off guard.

Create a change embracing culture — your team takes its lead from you. Invite them to help you keep current and experiment with some of the newest trends and technologies.

Let go of the past — how we used to do something becomes irrelevant pretty quickly in the current pace of our world. Remember it fondly. Learn from it. But stop clinging to it.

Embrace the community so we can all adapt together — one of the best aspects of AMI is the core belief that we can get better faster when we get better together. Join in our webinars. Attend a workshop. Surround yourself with other agency leaders who are happy to share what they’ve learned and are eager to learn from you.

What do you say — how you could help yourself bend a little easier, knowing it’s what gives you and your agency the strength you need to keep succeeding?


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