If you stopped to read the headline and clicked through to find out the answer, you can simply answer 'yes' or 'no' to the most fundament question: Does your agency lack vision?
"Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference." ~ Joel Barker
At the time, this insight from Joel Barker was a game-changer because it came at a moment when the paradigm of "vision" was developing within the corporate world. To this day, this directive remains an essential aspect of prioritizing daily activity for the maximum future benefit. And, in our world, the future benefit is defined as success for our agency, clients, and employees.
Does your agency lack vision?
When applied to an agency setting, the above quote captures the essence of the most powerful method of aligning your agency's future value with its current activity. On the ground level, the quote captures the essence of project management, which is simply delegating actions that have vision. This seems rudimentary, but it takes discipline and effort to hold your clients, your employees, and sometimes your agency to this simple standard. However, when upheld, the directive of "no action without meaning" can be a crucial aspect of ensuring long-term success and the "secret sauce" to your agency's growth hacking methods.
To this end, the most important thing we try to teach our project managers and infuse in our agency culture is to prioritize work that is both actionable and meaningful. Effective project management takes dedicated focus, and the proper leadership to learn how to filter through the buzz of competing tasks and concentrate on those that have the most strategic value to your client.
Our method for identifying strategic value, whether it is the value of initiatives, projects, or daily tasks, is as follows:
- Greatest impact on the bottom line, or revenue potential
- Biggest audience reach or visibility
- Most beneficial impact on a key influencer
When in doubt you can always use a priority matrix app, or a static version such as the one below to quickly assess the strategic value and the proper distinction between goals and activities. Sometimes, we apply a priority matrix while developing the deliverables on a creative campaign or digital marketing plan. The key is prioritizing the activities that have the highest importance and are most urgent, and then planning around the most important activities that are the least urgent.
Unfortunately, we often slip into the quadrant of lowest importance and highest urgency – thereby eliminating our vision entirely and keeping our agency team and accounts in a state of reactive behavior, not proactive work. If the task of escaping the reactive nature of your agency seems daunting, you can always learn more about leadership, vision and prioritization from these essential TED Talks.
For even more help with your agency's project management IQ, here is a handy infographic from Taskworld that identifies and defines 13 big-picture project management terms.
Some of the terms listed might seem fairly basic, but given the proper attention, they're worth validating with your team to ensure that everyone is communicating client goals effectively, staying focused on the activities with the greatest chance of making a positive difference and ensuring client success.