Agency Hackers event

Grow and develop your future leaders

The Agency Leadership Programme

• Empower your agency’s future leaders
• Grow and develop alongside a cohort of ‘rising stars’
• Delivered in-person at The Drum Labs, and online

Who are the future leaders of your agency?

You can set them up for success with the Agency Hackers Leadership programme. It’s a development programme for people who are stepping up into leadership for the first time – and want it to go well.

You’ll learn to develop your own style of leadership, build your confidence and resilience (you will need it!), and learn to motivate a team.

But what’s really unique about this programme is that you do it shoulder-to-shoulder with other people who are transitioning into agency leadership. You’ll have an instant support network!

The six-month program costs £2,200 +VAT per person (£1,800 +VAT for Agency Hackers members), with further discounts if you want to send more people. There are three in-person sessions at The Drum Labs in London – and several online sessions, with homework and discussion in between.

The Agency Leadership Programme could be for you, if you can answer yes to some of these questions:

  1. You have a bench of people you are consciously preparing to ‘step up’ to lead your agency, or at least a part of it.
  2. You are keen for your senior team to become more resilient and gain leadership skills that are difficult to teach them yourself.
  3. You have tried other training and it hasn’t been quite right – either because it hasn’t been aimed at agencies, or the tone hasn’t resonated.
  4. You want to give your rising stars access to a network of others who are on a similar path.
The training is delivered by confidence coach and agency leadership expert Kirsty Hulse.
Key datesDescription
February 16th, 2023Live training #1 – The Drum Labs (London)
April 25th, 2023Live training #2 – The Drum Labs (London)
June 15th, 2023Live training #3 – The Drum Labs (London)
February – July 2023Online sessions monthly throughout Feb to July

What happens on the
Agency Leadership Programme?

Module 1 – The Principles of Agency Leadership

• Find your personal leadership style
• Model the right behaviours – without pretending to be somebody you aren’t

How do you ‘be the boss’ as a new leader? Many new leaders feel like they have to wear a mask to the office and adopt a new persona. Then you end up feeling like a fraud, and imposter syndrome creeps in. (It’s even harder when you’re managing people you used to be peers with.)

But you don’t have to put on a fake leadership persona. This module is about discovering your natural leadership style. Are you empathetic and communicative? Or driving and businesslike?

“There’s been a realisation over the last few months that this is on me now. The founders are around less, and it’s on my shoulders to deliver.”

– New agency leader

Module 2 – Motivation and Engagement

• Inspire your team in a sustainable, natural way (without expensive tricks)

When you’re a leader you might get more money, but you rarely get more time. That’s a problem! Because now you’re not just responsible for your own stuff – you have to make sure everybody else delivers.

This is a major cause of stress for new leaders 🚨. You feel like you’re ‘always failing’. You’ve been put in this new role, and now you are messing it up.

  • In this module, we show you how your role as a leader is to deploy intrinsic motivation – which lets you motivate people without special programs or ‘forced fun’.
  • We’ll show you how to find out what motivates people, and get them to connect to it on a regular basis. When every conversation is about moving towards an exciting thing rather than away from a negative thing, the difference is night and day.

☝️ One thing we show you in this module is how to help other people make their own individual mission statement. It’s a much better way of managing than output-based goals, because you’re anchoring every conversation in things they’re actually motivated by.

“The biggest step was ‘How am I going to get out of the day-to-day work?’ You’re doing two jobs and all the firefighting as well – how do you let that go so you can breathe?”

– New agency leader

Module 3 – Focus and Creativity

You can’t spend an hour cutting down trees without spending 10 minutes sharpening the axe. (In her agency, Kirsty actually created a billable code for staring out of the window!)

Overwhelm is a huge problem for newly-minted leaders.

So, in this module we cover how to stay focused and creative – even when it feels like you’re being pulled in 600 different directions.

  • Boundaries and prioritisation. How to get things out of your head by practising ‘should-ing’ and ‘must-ing’.
  • Pushing back. In a leadership role, pushing back is more important.
  • Delegation. Working through other people is much harder than doing it all yourself. We’ll unpack this, with the help of Kirsty and also the other people in the cohort.

Module 4 – Resilience and Confidence

• It’s hard (maybe impossible?) to lead effectively unless you have resilience

Resilience and confidence is not always natural – it’s often something you have to learn.

You can easily move through your career doing 1,000 things right –but you screw up one thing and that’s what you define everything by.

That’s why in this module we cover:

  • Self-compassion. Sounds wooly, but it isn’t. Leadership is ‘inside out’ – if you are able to be compassionate to yourself, you’re able to model it to others.
  • Feedback and criticism. When you lead an agency, everything you do is under the microscope. In this module we’ll give you a few methods – like ‘reducing the stakes’ to see failing as just part of the process.

“They are wanting to hand me the baton – but I don’t know what to do with it.”

– An up-and-coming agency leader

Module 5 – Giving Feedback and Navigating Difficult Conversations

Being brave enough to start conversations that matter is a significant part of agency leadership.

Giving feedback is often horrible, both for the giver and the receiver. So, in this module we get you comfortable with navigating difficult conversations without it feeling like an attack.

  • Five-step process to giving feedback that doesn’t destroy people’s souls. How to get things out of your head by practising ‘should-ing’ and ‘must-ing’.
  • What to do when people cry. It happens more than you’d think.
  • Not getting dragged into the weeds. How to help your team without getting pulled into other people’s problems.

Module 6 – Presenting, Speaking and ‘Being in Charge’

Being a leader is about being visible – and sometimes that means standing up to speak.

In this module, we’ll take you through the different stages of presenting – taking you from presenting to impress or inform to presenting to inspire.

We’ll get you comfortable with being able to tell stories and lead in a group situation, without nerves getting in the way.


Q: Who delivers the Agency Leadership Programme?

We’re lucky to have Kirsty Hulse deliver this special program.

Kirsty is a leadership and confidence coach and creator of the first of its kind Confidence Live conference. Kirsty is wise, funny and inspiring and knows the agency world well.

She’s an ex-agency owner, so unlike generic leadership training this is really dialled into the challenges of agency life.

“I’ve always found it bonkers that we expect people within agencies to step up to leadership and feel their own way

through it. If you aren’t careful, you can get a cultural vacuum when the founders step up and the next layer takes over.”

We think Kirsty is the perfect person to help your leadership team grow and develop, and we’re looking forward to having her deliver this programme.

Q: What’s the benefit to the agency owner?

Right now a lot of people who run agencies are thinking about their future – and how (or when) they’ll be able to step back.

It’s very difficult to do this unless you have a solid bench of talent who can take over.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done! There are so many stories of agencies who have promoted people before they were ready, and then had to

step in to pick up the pieces.

Giving your team access to the Agency Hackers Leadership Programme will give them the best chance of succeeding in their new role.

They’ll have the confidence and the resilience to do what’s required of them, and they’ll have a support network to turn to when things get difficult.

Q: I’m interested, but I still have questions!

This might be perfect for you and your team – and it might not be!

If you want a chat about whether this is a good fit, click here to schedule a call and we will happily chat it through with you.