One of the areas where I think most agency leaders and owners can improve is the clarity of communication that we have with our team members.
I’m challenging you to work on improving the clarity of your conversations. Start having smaller conversations with team members, less intense conversations, things that aren’t of critical importance. Practice having candor and clear communications, so that on the day when you have to have the big conversation about something that really matters.
Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute this week. Coming
to you from New York City. You know, one of the areas where I think most agency
leaders and owners can improve is the clarity of communication that we have with our team members.
Give you three great examples. Had an agency owner call me the other day and
she had a very clear vision of the future for one of her key employees. It was one of her leadership
level people that in her mind in the next year was going to move into a president or an EVP role
and was really being groomed to run the agency day in and day out. But that owner didn't communicate
that as clearly as she thought she did to the employee. The employee came in and gave notice and
she gave notice because she had been offered a job that was pretty much exactly the job this agency
owner was grooming her for and had earmarked her for. 01:05 But because they hadn't had a really
candid conversation about that employee's future and what the agency owner was waiting for. What
skill sets, what deliverables demonstrating certain skills and knowledge that was going
to move that person into that role, because she wasn't really clear with her about hey,
look, this is my vision for you, and here's what I need you to do. And I want to work with
you together to get you there. Let's move you into that position. Because she didn't do that,
she not only lost that great employee who was pivotal to the business today, but was absolutely
critical to her vision of the agency in the future. Example number one. Example number two.
Two employees not getting along. Agency owner wasn't clear about how they wanted those two
employees to resolve their conflict. Didn't step in coach and teach how to resolve that conflict
and at the end of the day just said to them, look, you two work it out. 02:10 You're grown ups,
figure it out. And what ended up happening was both employees turned in their notice
within three days of each other because they couldn't figure out themselves how to resolve
the conflict and they didn't want to be in conflict with each other. And so both of them,
independent of the other, went and found other jobs. So now that agency is down two key employees
and by the way, set a terrible example for how we resolve conflict inside an agency.
Example number three. Agency owner had a problem with an agency employee and a vendor.
They had a relationships outside of the business. And while that's not in the employee handbook,
it's not in the manual. It doesn't say you can't do it. Made the agency owner super uncomfortable,
but they didn't know how to deal with it. And so what happened was the vendor,
realizing that there was discomfort on the agency owner's part, decided to resign the
business that they were getting from the agency so he could pursue a relationship with one of the
employees. 03:22 It was a key vendor and more importantly, a key referral source for the agency.
Now, if the agency owner had sat them down and just said, hey, you guys, look,
let's talk about the fact that you have a relationship and how are we going to
protect and maintain the integrity of our work relationship so that no one questions whether
or not something's inappropriate or there's weird pricing or any of the other things?
Let's talk about how to handle that. But they didn't. So three examples of agency owners who
were uncomfortable with a situation, didn't know how to handle it, didn't communicate clearly,
and it cost their agency dearly. We, as leaders of an agency, have got to learn how to communicate
clearly. We have to slow down. We have to sit down and have difficult conversations. We need to learn
how to have them with candor, with respect, with grace, but we have to have them. 04:23 And all
too often, I see agency owners sort of passively aggressively dealing with situations inside their
shop. And I'm telling you, it very rarely plays out as well as it could if you were
just honest and clear. So if that's a challenge for you, I'm challenging you to work on that,
to focus on it. Start having smaller conversations with team members, less intense conversations,
things that aren't of critical importance. Practice having candor and clear communications
so that on the day when you have to have the big conversation about something that really
matters. Ready to do it? And you're ready to do it? Well, all right, see you next week.