Building the dream agency

This morning, I found the following list sitting in my drafts folder.

It reflects the kind of organization I dreamed of building, but that remained so elusive.

It was written in December, 2021, just a couple of months before I made the tough decision to sell the original New Zealand half of Lucid, which lead to me going fully solo a year later—the best business decision I have made in a while.

I started Lucid in my first (and only) year of university—when I was 20. I started Lucid because I loved design, solutioneering, and helping people solve their brand-related problems.

I built an agency reluctantly. I resisted calling Lucid an “agency” for years—preferring design studio or similarly fluffy terms. I liked it when we were 6 or 7 creative people working alongside each other.

But, after moving to New York, opportunities to grow presented themselves and we gave it a good crack. But, I’m not sure my heart was ever fully in building an agency machine.

It’s interesting looking back on this list from 2021—when I was looking ahead to a fresh, new year. I see now that it’s more of an ideal—a dream—of what I longed for if I was going to build a larger company.

But, I never quite got there. The process became the work.

I prefer to work in an organization where the work is the work. Where I can help people and make a genuine impact.

I’m achieving that as a soloist again. For now.

I’d still love to be part of something bigger—perhaps part of someone else’s team that shares some of the ideals I’d been dreaming of in 2021.

Lucid Vision for 2022

  1. Do increasingly excellent work
  2. Recognize and believe in the value of the work we do
  3. Strive for continual learning and improvement
  4. Find joy and fulfillment in our work
  5. Lead every initiative with discovery and expertise
  6. Less macro processes and more micro patterns
  7. More frameworks and reusable systems
  8. More autonomy and independent responsibility
  9. Seek intentional simplicity and elegance
  10. Understand and appreciate the headspace cost of complexity
  11. Provide clearer opportunities and paths for individual growth
  12. Document anything that needs to be done again or by someone else—in the simplest, action-focused way possible
  13. Consider carefully the end-user of everything you produce or create and ask yourself “will this make their job easier?”
  14. Communicate less with more clarity
  15. Learn to say “no”—or “maybe later”
  16. Practice radical candor
  17. Start each day with “how (or who) can I help?”
  18. Define clearer roles and a hierarchy of accountability
  19. Allow people to take risks, stumble, and fall—and provide support for learning how to do better next time
  20. Pick a teammate for every major initiative
  21. Always question whether you need to join a meeting—and be ok with declining
  22. Talk about “we” in every internal conversation
  23. Delegate as much as possible
  24. Remember that expertise is more about knowing what questions to ask than having all the answers
  25. People first; profit second-equal

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