Inspiring the next generation, investing more in team learning and development, improving agency culture and correcting the balance between work and life are among the ambitions for 2023 shared by event agency leaders.
In our last virtual nineteen agency leaders group meeting of 2022 on Friday, chaired by Worldspan’s Jennifer Jenkins, we discussed what ambition looks like right now on both a professional and personal level.
“This year for me has been more about putting back into the people of the business, the reward and recognition side and the training and development side,” said one agency MD, adding that D&I has also been a focus, and making sure the agency culture is inclusive and everyone feels safe.
“On a personal level, I want to inspire young people to join the industry, and that’s not at university level because by then it’s almost too late. Next year, I want to get involved in more schools’ programmes at a younger age, and really focus my attention on attracting the next generation to our agency and industry.”
Another also said the focus is very much on people development: “We have spent more money on personal development and different types of training and coaching for everyone throughout the agency.”
But he added that as a leader you must be careful how you articulate ambition and growth plans to the team, so they don’t just think it’s going to mean a whole lot more work and hours. “Of course, we are ambitious to keep growing the agency, but not just financially, also culturally and to do it in a way that builds internal resilience.
“I am very conscious that we don’t just talk about growth and money but more about defining our purpose and principles and what success looks like not just financially but from our individual employee’s perspectives. On a personal level, the danger is that you get too focused on work and forget to do the things outside of work that refuel the soul, such as travelling. So, my ambition personally is to try and correct the balance between work and other things.”
Some said they are relishing being the best leaders they can be and inspiring their teams in their own individual ways, and trying to enjoy it, no matter what is thrown at them, while others admitted to being concerned about the looming recession.
“We have really pushed ourselves this year. But most of our clients have said they are going to be spending less next year, so we need to consolidate what we’ve got in 2023 and look after the people we have invested in this year. Our team are worried and feeling the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, so we want to be a secure home for them so they can get through this difficult time,” said one.
Another added: “I am a little bit concerned about the recession that is looming. We have one big client that has indicated they are going to be cutting back in quite a big way and that is going to have quite an impact on us. We have been fortunate this year and won quite a few new clients so that helps.
“We have a challenge internally with the culture of the business, I feel like some of that has got a bit lost. So next year is going to be focusing on that. We have had a lot of new people come into the business, and this new hybrid way of working means I feel like I don’t know my team as much as I should do. Growth for us next year will also mean expanding our offering. We have been really logistics based and not operating much in the creative or content space, and that is what I would like to add as part of our growth.”