employee morale

Hey Agency Owner — Give your employees context and connect the dots

Sometimes I think as agency owners we forget to connect the dots for our team in an agency management system. Remember when you were a kid and your parents started to talk about something and then in the middle of the conversation, one of them gave the other "the look" and they either stopped their conversation, lowered their voices so you couldn't hear, or left the room to finish the conversation? What did you immediately do?  You tried even harder to listen. If you couldn't hear, your imagination started filling in the blanks. Suddenly the story includes espionage or murder or at the very least your favorite neighbor moving away. In the absence of facts, our brains create a story that is usually wrong and usually way out of proportion from reality. When we were left on our own to connect the dots, the picture got a little crazy. That is happening today in your agency management system, especially as it pertains to money, billings and profitability. How many times have you uttered a sentence like this without any context: Our billings are down again this month.  We've got to reverse this trend or we're in some serious trouble. I don't think that client XYZ won't be around much longer. It doesn't look like we're going to pay out a bonus this year. I get so sick and tired of writing time off. Each of those sentences may be true.  But if you don't connect the dots and give your employees the context to gauge just how serious the situation is, they go into imagination mode.  Suddenly, in their heads, they are all out on the street, looking for work, and begging for change so they can bring [...]

Hey agency owner — fire someone today

Yes, you heard me right.  I am talking to you, the agency owner.  And I want you to fire someone today. In doing so, you'll improve employee morale. You're thinking I must be the Scrooge of agency life -- suggesting you fire someone during the holiday season. It will ruin their Thanksgiving and the rest of their year.  No one hires during the holidays. Relax -- I am not talking about one of your employees.  If they're doing a good job -- send them a note this week telling them how grateful you are that they're part of your team. It's great for their morale. If not -- then you're like most agency owners and you'll hang onto them for another six months before they drive you to the brink and you finally fire them. I'm actually talking about firing a client.  Yes...a revenue producing client. Every agency has at least one client that is: Tough on employee morale Demanding without being equally appreciative A bad planner which means their emergencies become yours Drags projects on and on, burning through any hope for profitability Always nitpicking every invoice or project authorization Keeping you from pursuing a better client in the same category or industry You keep them on for cash flow.  Or because they've been a client for a long time or maybe because they're a marquee name and you like the recognition.  Whatever your reason is -- it's not good enough.  Those kinds of clients are wearing.  They beat up your staff, teach them bad habits (like complaining about the clients), will drive your best employees away and are a huge boulder in the path of you getting a bigger, better client. Yes, it's [...]

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