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Drew McLellan

Episode 17: The Agency Management System You Need to Implement Immediately, with Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan has worked in advertising for 25+ years and started his own agency, McLellan Marketing Group in 1995 after a five-year stint at Y&R and still actively runs the agency.

He also owns and runs Agency Management Institute (AMI), which serves 250+ agencies small to mid sized agencies (advertising, digital, marketing, media and PR) every year, so they can increase their AGI, attract better clients and employees, mitigate the risks of being self employed in a such volatile business and best of all let the agency owner actually enjoy the perks of agency ownership.

AMI is the only agency network that is run by an active agency owner. It offers:

  • Public workshops for agency owners, leaders and account service staff
  • Owner peer networks (like a Vistage group or AAAAs forums)
  • Private coaching/consulting for agency owners
  • Annual primary research with CMOs and client decision makers about their work with agencies
  • The highly praised podcast Build A Better Agency

Drew often appears in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Agency Post, AdAge, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.

He also speaks at leading agency conferences and is often cited in agency centric content for his expertise in the industry.

When he’s not hanging out with clients or agency owners, Drew spends time with his daughter, traveling and cheering for the Dodgers.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Drew’s background
  • Drew’s one-on-one meeting agency management system
  • Why you need to employ this system the day you hire your first employee
  • Why it’s so hard to find and retain great employees today
  • Drew’s research that shows that employees want to learn and grow more than anything else
  • Why your employees want more one-on-one time with you
  • Drew’s form for running this meeting
  • Why being fair to every employee doesn’t mean treating them all equally
  • Why having these meetings will boost the time you have instead of taking it away
  • Setting quarterly growth goals with your employees and checking in weekly on progress
  • Having employees share good news, ask for what support they need to do their job, getting input they need from you, share potential issues, and anything else to include in these meetings
  • Why you need to put these meetings on your calendar
  • Why yearly reviews are not enough

Ways to contact Drew:

Resources:

Transcript:

Welcome to System Execution, the strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break your company, but here, we’ll solve your physical, technological and psychological systems issues by connecting you with experts that have succeeded in overcoming those challenges in their own business and providing you the guidelines and tools you need to implement those same strategies for immediate results. Now, here’s your host Vera Fischer

Vera: Welcome to System Execution, a podcast devoted to making processes and systems to drive to a better outcome for your business. I’m Vera Fischer, your host. All businesses, no matter the size, relies on systems. Some of these are physical systems, such as a factory. Some are technological, like project management software, while others are psychological systems, such as checklists and organizational charts. Many of these systems will absolutely overlap in your business.

Today’s guest, Drew McLellan, is the founder of the Agency Management Institute or AMI. AMI serves more than 250 agencies from small to mid-size, agencies being advertising, digital agencies, marketing, media and PR, every year. His goal is to help those agencies increase their AGI, attract better clients and employees, mitigate the risks of being self-employed in such a volatile business and actually let the agency owner enjoy the perks of agency ownership. We are so excited to have you today. Thank you so much. Welcome to System Execution, Drew.

Drew McLellan: Oh, thanks for having me. I’m excited to have the conversation.

Vera: Great. Well, Drew, I see that you are definitely appearing in different publications, like Entrepreneur magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, et cetera. I’ve given, really, just a glimpse of your background. Could you tell our listeners a little bit more about you? Then we’ll get started on the particular agency management system you’d like to discuss today.

Drew: Sure. My career history is actually pretty straightforward. I have only worked in and for agencies my entire professional life. I started when I was an undergrad in college. One of my professors was an adjunct professor from one of the big agencies in Minneapolis. They hired me to do some freelance work, and I just have never left the agency space. I’ve worked for super big agencies. I’ve worked for Y&R and then I worked for small regional shops.

Almost 22 years ago, I started my own agency, which I still actively run today. About a decade ago, I became the owner of Agency Management Institute. I am a lifelong agency employee. I’m a 20-plus year agency owner and I am a 10-plus year agency consultant and coach. Professionally, that’s me in a nutshell.

Vera: Wow, that’s a lot of agency experience.

Drew: Yes, it is. It’s a lot of grey hair.

Vera: A lot of grey hair, yes, and for our listeners that are in the agency landscape, they can know that those grey hairs come fast and furious.

Drew: That’s for sure.

Vera: Today Drew, we’re going to be talking about a system that you referred to as the One-On-One Meeting System. I think it’s very important to note for our listeners that this can be applied to any business, even if you’re not in the agency world.

Drew: Absolutely. I tried to pick a system that I thought was universally helpful to business owners and leaders and I think this one is definitely that.

Vera: Great, well, let’s get started. Drew, talk to me about the beginning of this agency management system and when you know you need to implement it.

Drew: Well, quite honestly, you need to implement it the day you hire your first employee. I think everybody listening will acknowledge that it’s tougher and tougher to find great employees and it’s tougher and tougher to retain great employees. For every business owner, and again, whether you are big, small or medium-sized, odds are one of your most expensive and valuable assets are the team around you and so to create a culture where your employees feel that you’ve really invested in them and that they have opportunity.

One of the challenges in many small businesses is the fact that you may not have opportunities to give people title changes or big position changes because the reality is, in a small company, people may do the same job for many years, but that doesn’t mean that employees can’t grow and learn and get better at their craft. In fact, one of the things we do at AMI is we go out and we do some primary research every year.

This year, the last couple years, we’ve talked to CMOs about what they want from agency partners, but this last year, in 2016, we talked to almost 1,000 agency employees because it’s such a critical issue in the agency space and in every business space the issue of how do I find and keep great employees? Anyway, we had a long conversation with almost 1,000 employees.

One of the most interesting facts to me, which justifies this system, which I promise I will get to in a second, is that no matter what the age of the employee, no matter what the pay scale of the employee, no matter what the level in the organization of the employee, the number one thing they valued about their current job and the number one thing that if it was missing would make them start to think of looking for a new opportunity was the opportunity to learn and grow.

As human beings, we’re just wired to keep getting better and to grow and learn new things. I don’t care what industry you’re in today, with the rate of change, with technology and all the things around us, the Internet of Things and just artificial intelligence, all this stuff that is surrounding us. I don’t care what you do for a living, your world is changing rapidly. Not only should you be happy that your employees want to learn, but you desperately need them to keep learning because how we did work today is not how we’re going to do it 365 days from now. We just know that.

Anyway, this system is a system that I call the one-on-one meeting. I teach it in all of my workshops, but honestly, it works in every industry. The whole idea is how do you engage with your employee and how do you make sure that you are mentoring them well? One of the other things that I hear from employees all the time is that they are hungry for more interaction with their boss and that they suffer under the delusion and Vera, you’re a boss. You know this. We don’t really know what our employees do all day because we’re busy doing our stuff, right?

Vera: Correct.

Drew: They think we know everything that they’re up to. Then they’re frustrated and disappointed when we’re not patting them on the back or acknowledging them. This one-on-one meeting, which I encourage you to have every week with every employee and by the way, if you are the owner of a business and you have department heads you would meet with your department heads.

Then your department heads would have this meeting with their direct reports. This meeting is not … One person in an organization doesn’t have to hold all of these meetings. You would have these meetings with your direct reports. The way these meeting work is that there’s a template, which Vera, I will make sure that you have so you can include in the show notes.

Vera: That’s great. That’s fantastic.

Drew: There’s a template. What you do is you ask the employee to fill it out. They come to that one-on-one meeting with you with this sheet filled out. They hand you a copy and they keep a copy. A couple things there, this is also a way for you to … It’s a litmus test for you to figure out which of your employees are really invested in your organization and in their own growth.

If they show up and the sheet’s not done, or if they show up and the sheet’s half done, or they blow off the meeting, those are really good indicators to you that these are people who look at their job as a job and not a career. One of the things that I really emphasize with the business owners that I work with is I want you to treat every employee fairly, but that does not mean you need to treat every employee equally, so looking for clues about who you should really invest in and who is invested in you and your organization. This meeting is a great litmus test for that.

Vera: Drew, this is really interesting because I know that a lot of us as bosses, regardless even as a department head, you really get into this parent-child syndrome where you feel like you have to love them all equally and if you do one for one, you have to do it for all. There’s a tremendous amount of guilt if you don’t.

Drew: I liken that to the parent who counts the Christmas presents under the tree to make sure all the kids have the exact same number of packages, right?

Vera: Right.

Drew: That’s not healthy for your business. I get psychologically why we do it. Again, I think it’s about fairness, but the reality is every one of our employees is different. Giving me a cash bonus and giving you extra time off, or giving you the opportunity to go to a conference and giving me the opportunity to leave work early to sit on a board, there are lots of ways you can treat people fairly. That you’re giving them all opportunity, but I actually think it’s bad practice to treat them all the same because they aren’t all the same.

Vera: Yes, logically, I absolutely get that. This agency management system that you put into place, how long ago did you start using it or realizing that you needed to have something like this?

Drew: I have used this system myself within my own organization for gosh, 15 years, 15-20 years now and then I’ve been teaching it for the last 10. What I find is it’s amazing the difference in the relationship between the employee and supervisor. The reason why is it forces the employee and one of the things I hear people talk about especially with younger employees is that they’re just sitting around waiting to be spoon fed. Well, this system doesn’t allow that. This system forces them to take some responsibility.

I believe professional development is a shared responsibility, that as a business owner, we have an obligation to help our people grow and learn. They also have an obligation to want to grow and learn and to invest their own time. It doesn’t always happen on company time, that they are reading or learning on their own and equally important, that they are bringing that back to the business and sharing that learning with their peers. The best way to learn is to teach, right?

Vera: Absolutely, I agree. Drew, whenever you are having the meeting I can already hear the listeners going, “Oh my God, these meetings are going to take 30 minutes apiece and I just don’t have the time.”

Drew: Yeah, I know. It’s one of the first things that owners say to me, too. Here’s the gig. One of the great things and actually one of the biggest benefits of this meeting, first of all, the meeting should not last more than 20 minutes. If you have them regularly, they won’t. If you blow them off and you only have them once a month or once every two months, they’re going to last a long time. This is something you need to be really consistent about. Again, remember part of the message you’re sending your employee when you do this on a weekly or every-other-week basis is I care about you. I care about your professional development.

I want to be available to you because one of the things that every employee tells me is they want more time and attention from their boss. As you are thinking in your head, oh my God, not another meeting let me promise you that the beautiful thing about this is when your employees know that they have protected, pristine time with you, just you and them, no other, no one else, no interruptions. Your office door is going to be closed. They will learn over time to start gathering. You know how they hang out in your door all week because they have a question or they’re …

Vera: Yes.

Drew: … pinging you all the time with a question? They will learn to jot all those questions down and take care of those in the 20 minutes. Instead of 97 interruptions in a week, you have this one 20-minute meeting. I promise you rather than costing you time, if you honor these meetings, you will get time back.

Vera: Drew, let’s talk about the sections or the questions that are in this template.

Drew: Great. The very first question is what is your priority growth goal for this quarter? Here is them immediately having to identify where an area that they are trying to get better at for this quarter. It might be I want to be better. I want to understand search engine optimization. It might be I want to improve a relationship with another department internally. They get to set what their growth goal is, but it’s something that they want to improve on over the next quarter.

Then the second question is a report on progress of this issue or goal. A lot of times what happens is that we hand an employee a edict. You need to get better at this or you need to learn this, oftentimes, in an annual review. The next time we have a conversation with them about how they’re doing on that is at the next annual review. What this does is this forces the employee to recognize that learning and growth is incremental and it has to happen every day and every week.

If they’re meeting with you every week or every other week, they’ve got to report on their progress. If after two meetings, they just write on here, “Too busy” or blah, blah, blah whatever, and they haven’t made any progress then you need to have a conversation with them. I’m a firm believer in terms of management style of holding people capable and accountable. I always assume that my people can do what I’ve asked them to do or the goals that they have set for themselves, but I also know that it’s my job to hold them accountable.

If after two meetings, I have no change or no progress on this issue or goal, I’m going to say to them, “You know what. I don’t want you coming in here next week with nothing on that list, so what are you going to do between now and then to make sure that you actually have progress because you’re never going to accomplish this by the end of the quarter if you don’t get going on it now.” Then you’ll get all the “I’m too busy, I’m blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I just sit there and go, “I understand all of that, but what are you going to do to have progress on this goal by next week?”

Now, all of a sudden, I have made that very clear that A, I’m not going to solve their problem for them and B, I expect them to come up with a solution. In most cases, then they’ll engage with you and do a little brainstorming of well, maybe I could do this. Maybe I could do that. Then you could mentor and encourage them, but first you have to call them on the fact that there is no change in their progress of the goal.

It also is what this suggests is for this quarter, which means every quarter you need to be adding to your skill set. Every quarter, you need to be learning something new. Quite honestly, for all of the listeners out there who own a business, you can’t afford to have employees that aren’t lifelong learners You cannot. In today’s environment, you can’t afford that. That’s a very expensive and pretty soon, a very irrelevant employee.

Vera: Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more on that. I myself am a lifelong learner, so I totally get it. On the goal, do you really say, “Look, I just want one goal for the quarter,” and it’s a growth and learning goal?

Drew: Yeah. They’re going to still have their business goals, right? That’s different, but this meeting, and we’ll get into some of that sort of the minutia of the job things as we’ll work our way down the system and the sheet. There’s a psychology behind putting the learning goal first because, in my mind, I don’t care how skilled an employee is. If they are not a lifelong learner, if they are not focused on getting better, how they do their job day in and day out sooner or later becomes irrelevant because they’re going to get out of step and they’re going to get out of sync.

They aren’t going to be able to stay current with your clients. They’re not going to be able to have the conversations they need to have. They’re not going to be well versed in how your business model is changing. It starts with learning, right?

Vera: It does. It absolutely does. Take me down to the next part.

Drew: Sure.

Vera: You’re having the meetings or you tell me. What happens next?

Drew: The next thing on the sheet is good news to report. This is an opportunity for your employee who is probably working their tail off and you don’t know it because you’re working your tail off. This is an opportunity for them to tell you something that went well that week for them. It might be that a client signed off on a new proposal. It might be that they worked really well with a teammate.

Here’s a really interesting thing. One of the things I pay attention to is how often is the good news that my employee shares focused on themselves and how often is it focused on the team or a client? That tells me a great deal about that employee. If it’s always good news that’s patting themselves on the back, there’s nothing wrong with that, but what it tells me is, again, they’re much more invested in themselves than they are on the whole. I want employees who are invested in the whole and understand that if they help the whole get stronger and better, that’s the best situation for them personally.

Anyway, good news to report, so what does that look like? Then the next one is and now, we’re starting to get, Vera, to your point of what about how they’re getting their job done. The next one is support I need to do my job. Again, I might need you to talk to a client about this or I might need you to review something for me, or you know what. I’m banging heads with this person in another department.

I’d like to talk through how I’m going to solve that. The trick here as a business owner is to not … There was a great book called The One Minute Manager and The Monkey. The gist of the book is everybody walks into your office with a monkey on their shoulder, which is a problem and they want you to take the monkey. I believe as owners, we’re really good at taking everybody else’s monkeys.

Vera: Oh my gosh, I have an office full of them.

Drew: Yeah, right, absolutely. When they’re in this section of the report, support I need to do my job, we as owners or department heads or supervisors have to remember that this is not about taking their monkey. This is about supporting them and helping them figure out how to tame their own monkey. Then the next one is priority issues to discuss, questions that need to be answered or I need input from you. This is the spot where the 97 times they would’ve interrupted you throughout the week to ask you, “Hey, do you have five minutes?” and “Hey, can I run this by you?”

This is where they start to collect that. By the way, one of the things as a supervisor, department head or owner that you need to do is when they, in the beginning, when they start popping in the office even though you’re having these meetings, answer their question and then say to them, “Is that something that could’ve waited for our weekly meeting?”

You don’t say, “That is something.” You just say, “Is that something that could’ve waited?” You will slowly train them and when I say, “Slowly,” I mean within a month to stop seeking you out when you’re hard to find, when you’re distracted, when there are other people around and really, to save these things, unless it’s really a fire, to really save these things for that time that they have with you.

Vera: Good, I like that.

Drew: Okay? Then the next one is a heads-up, client or internal issues? Again, one of the fallacies that employees believe about supervisors, department heads and owners is that we are all knowing and all seeing and that if there is a problem brewing, that we know about it because they know about it. The reality is we’re not in a lot of the meetings or conversations or places that they are. This is a sheet and sometimes, you have to explain this to them, but this is it is far better. There’s no business owner who has ever said to me, “Boy, I like bad surprises,” right?

Vera: Right.

Drew: This is a place for us to get a heads-up when something is a little problem or might be a problem as opposed to the building is on fire. Again, this is a chance for them to learn that part of their job, regardless of what their job is, part of their job is to watch out for. They’re like shepherds and they’re watching out over the flock. The flock includes their teammates, and their clients, and the trends in the marketplace and the weather. Their job is to watch out for the flock and protect the flock. Anytime they go, “You know what. I got a weird vibe that there might be a wolf in the forest,” that’s when they tell us about it, not when the wolf is stampeding towards the baby sheep, right?

Vera: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Drew: That’s what that section is for. Then the next one is it just says, “Anything else.” Again, it’s the opportunity for them to tell us what else is going on in their head, anything else that they want. In that case, they might be saying, “You know what. I want to take some time off,” or “I just read a great book,” or whatever. What they put in the anything else also are great clues about the kind of employee that they are and they’re going to be.

Then the final thing on the agency management system sheet is to-dos from this meeting. As you are talking, you’re encouraging them to jot on their copy of the sheet anything that they need to go back, and take care of and resolve before your next meeting. It also becomes the catchall for the notes. Then most employees just keep these sheets and then they transfer those to-dos to however they capture all their to-dos whether it’s Post-It notes all over their monitor or they use an app, or whatever it is.

It’s a way for you to teach them that they have to capture and not count on their memory. For example, if I’m having a conversation with an employee and we agree that they need to have a meeting with Chuck and they don’t write it down, I’ll go, “Do you want to jot that down that you’re going to meet with Chuck because I’m going to ask you about it next week?” I’m jotting it down. Then you’re teaching. You’re also using it as a teaching tool so that balls don’t get dropped.

That’s it. I know it sounds incredibly simple, but I’m telling you the results are powerful. The results are powerful in terms of tangible deliverables that your teammates will bring to you. The results are powerful in the terms of their learning and their growth. The results are incredibly powerful in how connected they feel to you and the organization and how heard and supported they feel. The results are really powerful.

One of the other things we learned in the research we just did is most employees find their next job by talking to somebody who already works there. One of the things that this meeting does is it elevates employee satisfaction dramatically. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got all these great referral sources out there saying, “This place rocks. They care about me. They’re helping me learn and get better. I have regular conversations with my boss or supervisor. I feel like I have access to them. I don’t feel alone. I’m not just hanging in the wind.”

There’s all kinds of great results that come out of this and the only thing, the only cost of it is to put it on your calendar for the entire year and honor those meetings. What a lot of supervisors do, let’s say they have five or six people that they supervise. They’ll block an entire day or an entire morning and they just don’t schedule meetings and they try and not schedule travel. You know what. Are you going to hit all of them exactly right? Absolutely not. Are you going to have to move some? Absolutely, but if they’re on your calendar, you’re much more likely to move them than you are to just dismiss them. That’s it. That’s the system.

Vera: Drew, do you just give them a Word doc and they fill it out?

Drew: Yeah.

Vera: Do you put it on Google Drive or and they bring a copy and give you a copy at the meeting?

Drew: Yeah, I think there’s something really valuable about the old school of having paper in front of you that you both can write on in front of each other.

Vera: Oh, no, that’s great.

Drew: Whether you put it in Google Docs or whatever, they need to print out the document, so yeah, literally what I’m going to give you is a Word doc. People can put their logo on the top or they can call it a different kind of … They can rename the meeting. I don’t care what they do with it. I just care that they use it. Again, the form itself is generic. There’s nothing on here you heard. I actually read you the exact questions on the form. There’s nothing on here that suggests it’s agency-specific. Every business owner and leader can use this with their team.

Vera: That’s fantastic. Let’s talk about how do you introduce this new agency management system into your culture?

Drew: A great question. The way I would introduce it and the way I encourage the folks I coach how to use it is you know what. I realize that we don’t talk as often as we should and that I probably … Part of what I think is important as a leader is to acknowledge, to be pretty transparent about your vulnerabilities and where, perhaps, you’re not so great. This is a place where a lot of leaders can use some shoring up. I would say something like, “You know I realize that I’m not as accessible to all of you as I need to be or that you don’t have as much time and support from your direct supervisor as you need, so we’re going to implement this new system.”

The focus is really, to make sure that everybody has a growth goal and everybody is getting better every day. That we are here as your supervisors to help you do your job better, to be a sounding board, to be a thinking partner, to really know what you’re up to and what you’re accomplishing and to make sure that you have a place where you can voice any concerns. This is not a review. It’s not about your performance. This is really your meeting. I want you to own it. I want you to control it.

I’m going to give you the sheet, basically the agenda, and you’re going to fill it out every week and bring it to me. Then I would walk them through the process of it. I would make it sound like, because I believe this is true, that this is a great opportunity for them and that you’ve been a little remiss in not giving them more access and more support in the past and that system or this process is a way to correct that.

Vera: That is a great way to tee that up because as you grow, which is the growth goals for the agency or your business, it stands to reason that you won’t be as accessible because there will be other things that you’re focusing on for that purpose of growing your company.

Drew: Absolutely. It’s also a sign that even though we’re growing and even though there may be greater distance between me the owner and you the entry-level employee, that doesn’t mean you don’t have resources and it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to support you. It doesn’t mean that we don’t value you. Quite honestly, without this being scheduled, if the listeners are honest with themselves, if they start thinking about when was the last time you sat down and had a one-on-one, a meaningful one-on-one conversation with one of your direct reports that wasn’t about a problem or getting something done?

It’s been too long. Annual reviews are great, but annual reviews are not this. Annual reviews are, I believe, should be 20, 25% here’s what you did well or what you didn’t do well last year and 75% of here’s what I want to happen in the next year that’s coming up. I don’t think that annual reviews are the place to course correct or to have big discussions.

These little, tiny meetings allow you to identify issues, problems, opportunities when they are small enough that your organization can seize them and maximize them. There is no substitute for that. I promise you there are issues bubbling inside your organization that you know nothing about because you are not having these kinds of conversations with your teammates.

Vera: That is just so spot on. I’m curious if you have any interesting story to share with our listeners regarding a client of yours that’s implemented this agency management system that really discovered something that was huge and had they not discovered whatever this was, that would’ve been a catastrophe within their company.

Drew: Oh, yeah, there are lots of stories. I probably have a dozen agency owners who have called me and said, “I implemented the one-on-one meetings and you know what. One of my key employees was starting to look for a job and said to me, ‘I feel heard. I feel supported. I want you to know that I was dusting off my resume and now I’m not going to.’ “ I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. In every case, they were like, “I don’t know what I would have done if that person had gone away.”

Also, client issues get caught early, early on. Client relationships have been saved. Internal issues, process and systems that are broken that the agency owner or the department head, because they’re not in the weeds of the work every day, had no idea that everybody was doing something in such an inefficient or broken way. It comes up in one of these meetings. Then you go, “You’re doing what with how? What? Why are we doing it that way?” A lot of times, they’re doing it that way because through tribal knowledge, that’s how they believe it’s supposed to be done.

They think that’s how you want them to do it. You had no idea they were fill in the blank, whatever it is that’s … All of a sudden, you’re going, “Well, why would we do it that way?” They’re looking at you like, “Well, because you wanted us to, didn’t you?” Then all of a sudden, you fix that and now, there’s more efficiency and more effectiveness in your organization. Both emotionally, both system wise in terms of process, in terms of client satisfaction, employee satisfaction, in all cases, good, good things come out of doing this meeting on a regular basis.

Vera: Well, Drew, I’m excited about this One-On-One Meeting System because I can tell you, I am absolutely implementing this starting on January 3rd when everyone gets back in the office. One thing I’d like to hear from you is what do you think, based on all of your experience and feet on the ground, in the trenches, what do you think is going to be one of the next challenges for agency owners or business owners as it relates employee satisfaction?

Drew: I think we’re already seeing signs of it, but I think it’s only going to get bigger and tougher is I think a lot of business owners are old school. They still really wrap their arms around the idea of everybody in the office, everybody in the office at the same time. That they’re and especially in agency life, but in a lot of businesses, the work we do is very collaborative. It’s hard to wrap your head around how can people work together well if they’re not in the same place or not even in the same time zone?

The reality is as the employee shortage tightens, and as employees want a different kind of life-work blend, I don’t believe in life-work balance, but I do believe in life-work blend. The idea or remote employees or flexible hours or people working from an employee who’s in the office, but wants to take a month off in the winter and work from Orlando, Florida, that kind of request, that kind of flexible workspace is really becoming not the exception, but the norm.

Some business owners have been able to resist that, that you know what. No, we’re a collaborative business. We all punch in at 8:00 and we all leave at 5:00 or whatever it is. They’ve been able so far to sustain an employee base, but I do not believe that that is a long-term solution that’s going to work. I believe it’s going to be very, very difficult to find and hire and retain great, like A-player employees if you don’t rethink the workplace and the work environment because I think times are changes and with technology.

I think the millennials have brought a lot of this into the workplace of they just work differently and they want to work differently. Right now, there are enough jobs out there that they don’t have to take a rigid job that has an 8:00 to 5:00, everybody parks in same parking lot, clocks in at the same place, walks in the same building and sits in their cube. That’s not the way work is going to get done in the future.

Vera: Well, that is absolutely something to think about. I believe our listeners are as you said, already seeing some of this. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, which will most likely happen rapidly.

Drew: I think so, too. I think when you look at how quickly change is coming in general, this too is rapidly … It’s already upon us, but it’s really going to become the norm pretty quickly. Either you’re going to learn to adapt to it or, man, are you going to have a tough time finding great employees.

Vera: Well, Drew, thank you so much for sharing your One-On-One Agency Management System with our listeners today. Why don’t you take a moment to let our listeners know how to contact you?

Drew: You bet. All things are available at AgencyManagementInstitute.com. My email is Drew@AgencyManagementInstitute.com. Anywhere in social in terms of Twitter, or Facebook or LinkedIn, I’m just Drew McLellan and McLellan is spelled M-C-L-E-L-L-A-N. I’m happy to connect with folks, happy to answer questions about the One-On-One Meeting System or anything else that I can be helpful with.

Vera: Well, thank you so much, Drew, for being here and System Execution listeners, no matter how many notes you took or how often you relisten to this episode, you must know that systems and processes will drive your business to a better outcome. Thank you again, Drew.

Drew: Oh, thank you for having me.

We hope you found this episode of System Execution on agency management systems to be enlightening. For free examples, case studies, e-books and more, be sure to visit SystemExecution.com/resources. Contribute to the conversation by reaching out to Vera directly on email at Vera@SystemExecution.com. Until our next episode, thank you for the privilege of your time.

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