49. Will Agencies Ever Learn? (The Importance of Education & Training)

Gallup says only 29% of Millennials are engaged at work.


With 16% actively disengaged.

(Meaning that they’re actually getting paid to undermine their place of work.)


That means over 55% are in the middle. They’re stuck in limbo.

Passionate with nothing to be passionate about.


And Millennials aren’t the only ones. 


We’re seeing this kind of detachment throughout our workforce.


Meanwhile, it’s a fundamental human need to feel like one is part of something bigger than themselves.


Something different. Something better. Something they can believe in.

Yet, when is the last time you’ve been inspired by an agency website, manifesto or work guide?


Is it because agencies don’t know how to advertise what makes them special,

or don’t they have anything worth saying?


Considering just how little we invest in training and communications, you have to wonder. 


Perhaps if we did invest in these efforts, again, we could start a virtuous cycle. 

One where the continual sharpening of our vision, mission, values and skills would not only inspire our people but attract more clients and press.


Welcome to Episode 49 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the everchanging world of creativity & marketing.


My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, where today we ask…Will Agencies Ever Learn? (The Importance of Education & Training.)


It’s all about our culture. That’s what every agency says.


But ask them what their culture is, and few- very few– can tell you what exactly their culture is. What defines it.


What I can tell you is that few agencies have learning cultures. A commitment to expanding the knowledge and skills of their people. To growing their business by growing their people.


A commitment that includes training programs. Educational support. Speakers. Webinars. Writing books. Creating content. Like blogs and podcasts.


One company that gets this is the iconic design shop, IDEO.


Educational Products


IDEO is so committed to training & education that their programs have become a product. You can earn a certificate in areas ranging from presentation skills to design thinking. They actually make money on their efforts! 


Imagine if other agencies looked at their educational efforts this way.


A key point is that this doesn’t have to be a top down effort.




In fact, it can be very grassroots.


Take Talk Shop, for instance.


Nina Bressau & Robert Stahl work for Integer, an Omnicom agency in Dallas.


A planner and a creative, Nina and Robert, are young teammates on the rise.


That said, they both felt that their presentation skills could stand for some improvement. Then again, whose can’t? 


So, they explored all the programs available, Toastmasters, etc.


None, however, felt quite right for advertising.


That inspired them to create their own program, Talk Shop.


Meeting once a month, and open to all Omnicom employees, Talk Shop has now spread to other Omnicom offices. Don’t be surprised if it goes global.


I’ve been a guest speaker at a Talk Shop special event. And walked away impressed by the concept and its creators.


Kudos to Nina & Robert!


Personal Experiences


Personally, I lead a team that created a weekly blog that lasted 6 ½ years.

Provoke Weekly was a great internal and external tool. One that expanded both knowledge and PR opportunities.


We also created Provoke University, an inhouse education and training program featuring essential skills and the latest trends.


We even wrote a book that clients and new business prospects loved. A book that served as hymnal to get our entire team on the same page.


All these efforts were under my direction, but were lead by amazing young talent that used their experiences to lift their careers.




How much did it cost is the question everyone wants answered.


The answer being nothing. Virtually nothing.


The book had a publishing cost, but the rest was done by volunteers interested in learning and adding to their resumes. People from every department. Helping to bring together the agency. And its knowledge.


There Are No Excuses


None. Period.


Is it easy? Nope.


Is it necessary? Yes.


Yes indeed.


And you can help lift both your agency and career by creating your own training and education programs.


Make your mark and start your own.


Either within your agency or outside the system.


Become one of the consultants making big bank supplying the knowledge to agencies that agencies used to provide themselves. 


Regardless, it’s a great way to prove yourself. And promote yourself.

All while contributing to a learning culture.


Kinda like I try to do with this podcast.


Which reminds to thank you for supporting Navigating the Fustercluck like you have. Not only did we become an iTunes New & Noteworthy selection, you also have given us over 100 5-star reviews. With listenership on 6 of the 7 continents. That’s a big deal, and we appreciate it. Keep sharing and we’ll keep recording.


Time to Take a Short Breather… (EXHALE.)


…We’re here at Deaf Mule Studios to remind everyone that this is Navigating the Fustercluck. And I’m your host, Wegs. 


One last thought on training and creating a learning culture.


The industry has gone cheap. Training has become an expense instead of an investment.


There’s an old joke that with all this talk of Millennials leaping from job to job is more relevant than ever.


Here’s how it goes: A CEO and CFO are talking about training budgets. 


The CFO says: What happens if we train them and they leave? 


The CEO responds: What happens if we don’t and they stay?


We leave when we stop learning. Judging how people leave their jobs, the industry isn’t educating their people. Their cultures aren’t learning cultures.


Well, that about wraps up our 49th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck. 

Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, and thanks again for listening in and supporting us. If you have any thoughts about enhancing the culture of our industry, please feel free to reach out to me personally at wegs24x7@gmail.com or NavigatingTheFustercluck.com, where you can find transcripts to this episode and every other of our 48 efforts. Finally, remember, we’re all in this together. So share of yourself and teach one another. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.