Alex Cleveland, February 19, 2020

There is a certain set of environmental conditions that need to be in existence in order for any business to move forward. Chief among them is comfort with change, or perhaps more accurately, “ease with uncertainty”, to quote Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

It feels instantly counterproductive to strive for uncertainty, when all businesses really crave is the solidity and consistency that would enable “risk free” decision making, which is of course, an impossible dream.

I believe that working in an agency over a long period of time makes one uniquely well positioned to be comfortable with change and uncertainty for two reasons. Firstly, our clients don’t work with us to help them maintain their status quo. They work with us because there is a challenge they need to overcome, a trend they need to reverse, an idea that needs to be made real. In a sense every act of creativity is change; every new entity conceived to be different from what went before. So every single day, part of our job is to help our clients be comfortable with change and to share in that process.

Secondly, running an independent agency is by its very nature a little unpredictable. We have to back ourselves, move fast and trust that our brilliant clients always see the value we can bring. Sharing these exciting journeys with our clients is what makes the job so rewarding. Sometimes, the fun is in not being certain of the final outcome.

So, well positioned though I believe us to be, creating a culture and environment where change and progress are not merely spoken of but actioned, is rare indeed.

I’m incredibly proud to say that fst is one such place, with recent events bearing this out in perhaps the ultimate act of progressive thinking.

After more than 25 years, Super Mark, Otto and Craig are stepping away from the running of fst. They, along with long-time shareholder Kelvyn, have created what we refer to as “The Legacy Deal”. Rather than selling the business, they are entrusting it to Charlie, Andrew and myself, as we look to take fst forward and on into the future.

I don’t want to use this space to speculate on the motivations, thoughts and feelings of Mark, Craig, Otto or Kelvyn. There will be other forums for that. What I will say is that they have shown remarkable vision, humility and a rare progressive mindset to understand that for fst to move forward, it has to continue to move with the times, it has to fuelled by a new energy, a renewed hunger and fresh perspectives.

And so it is that fst finds itself under the ownership of Charlie, Andrew and I. Whether that can be viewed as a good decision only time will tell! But what I do know is that it is not a responsibility we take lightly. We are incredibly proud to be in this position and even prouder that the business we have inherited is characterised by the bravery necessary to be comfortable with change. That is a testament to the previous ownership and a guiding light for us to follow as we start out on this exciting new chapter of the fst story.