Are creative agencies making the most of The Great Reset?

The great reset. How’s it working out for you?

Have you optimised your working hours? Do you structure meetings differently? Have you cracked the hybrid model?

I question if anyone has ever defined the ‘great reset’ and I’m not sure if anyone has cracked it in a meaningful way, but … we can. As long as we ’re honest with each other.

To make change that we say we want, and our people ask for, then the conversation should be focused on where we are, as an industry, in the transition to a knowledge era. Instead, we often find ourselves describing work practices with a new language – but with the same controls, power and focus on where we work than how.

The marketing, creative and communications sector should be the powerhouses of the knowledge era. We trade, value, and share our knowledge so it becomes something tangible – a TV ad, an image, a story…

Yet, the debate around working patterns, style, and attitudes to it are just replicating what has been done in different locations rather than being truly honest about the work now and into the future.

It has become so binary about home OR office. At no point do we consider the work to be done and quite frankly it is all so tiresome.

To be free of judgement we need ask questions.
Natasha Plowman
Managing Partner ESG & Corporate Reputation, MSL

If we break down key areas of the knowledge era, then we can look at how we do things differently and why – as both individuals and collectively.

What does collaboration mean to you?

For me it is having all data and information shared and accessible. Everyone in teams knows what their role is. How and when they add value and the openness to question, debate and then move forward.

The culture that underpins this is one of being valued, supported, included, and trusted vs underappreciated, undermined, side-lined and micro-managed. All loaded words, I know. If you looked in the mirror – what words would resonate with what you wanted vs what you experience – and crucially what would others say?

How do we promote more effective, judgement-free listening?

We bring our own preconceived opinions, views and histories to what others say, do and act.

How often do we hear judgements about younger people at work, or any generational stereotypes for that matter.

This is placing a judgement and to be free of judgement we need ask questions, open conversation and not close it down. I often relate this to a parent telling a child how to act and feel – and sure we all know the response to that.

The world of work in a knowledge era needs to move from parent/child to adult/adult.

Therefore, the basis of this is in the way we communicate and the culture that underpins is to look at power and control in a way that has trust and self -responsibility at its core.




1.Provide context to issues – not just content when communicating change, news, updates

2.Share neutral facts – don’t spin and fill with jargon, put aside ego and be honest

3.Neither carrot or stick – it is about your own responsibility and the common purpose

4.Dialogue – not telling. Be open, listen, give and take feedback, lift away judgement

5.Trust your people with the detail – don’t dumb your messages down assuming they don’t understand complexity (and if they need to ask questions – there is your dialogue)


All feel too hard? It really shouldn’t. But does require a leadership style that is open, transparent – adult. No one knows everything and seniority certainly doesn’t mean you do.

At MSL, two of our core values are a permission to do and encouragement to think independently. We challenge ourselves to give people the space to tell us what is or isn’t working, to suggest new approaches.

It means knowing how, when and where you like to work for the work you need to do – and how those fits with your team. Because rarely in our world do we work in isolation so individual needs and wants do not trump team, but the open dialogue should allow you to be heard and trade – offs considered.

Core to the knowledge era is to know yourself – your likes, dislikes, triggers and what gives or takes your energy away. Some may look to this as a growth vs fixed mindset and that is a great foundation to understand why you may feel or react in certain ways.

This doesn’t mean it is all roses, but if we have open, honest conversations with your teams – lift away judgement and truly listen – and make choices with that information than we may be onto a world of work for the modern, knowledge era.

If you feel you can’t do that – question, why.

If you can, then we may have the keys to the great reset after all