Last year I set up Focus, which is a dedicated company culture and company strategy consultant.
My mission is to: fix the broken world of work.
Many people have had negative experiences in business and they typically come down to two key elements, the workplace and the people. Unfortunately, businesses just don’t have the time or right management in place to address these issues.
I have worked in:
- The best environments where you feel empowered and you win every day.
- The worst toxic cultures and you feel helpless and no one should feel like that at work.
In most businesses, the more senior you become, the more disconnected you tend to become from the day-to-day.
What people are feeling, what they are doing and what hurdles they are facing.
In some instances, I was lucky to be close enough to colleagues to hear what the issues were, what problems they were encountering and how the team were feeling.
No one is ever trained or prepared to be a business leader and fix every problem.
It is important to call out I love coaching and mentoring and part of the deal when you continue to help ex colleagues after leaving is you become known to provide “therapy” to colleagues years after leaving.
🧠 Brainwave 🚀 or Brain Fart 💨 ?
In a brainwave, during the first lockdown, I mapped out issues people faced, from the most junior to the most senior members of companies.
The most common issue that kept coming back in my spider diagram was the leadership and important decision-makers were “too busy”, too unapproachable or disconnected from the day to day to understand that the strategy was broken or the culture was failing.
The business person in me knew there was an opportunity to help junior to senior members of companies with an anonymous way of getting in touch with me.
No one junior to mid-levels wants to email from their work email address that their company has issues and could be traced back.
Often senior leaders do not want to be the first person to speak up or speak out against the consensus, sad but true.
More than an unanswered agenda item
Even more common, sadly, company culture and strategy are agenda items on the ELT agenda or the MT agenda, they are often nudged down or deprioritised while firefighting other issues.
The Marketer in my head kept suggesting that people will want to contact the right person or people to help, particularly with company culture, so I created the anonymous textline, (a simple process really I brought a new virtual number, added to my mobile), where I do not use the name or number of the person who has reached out but some unique identifier and enough background to highlight the issue and the company would benefit from listening and creating conversation around the issues they were facing.
I promoted out as a content marketing rather than advertising, I promoted via my newsletters, I tweeted, I shared on LinkedIn, I shared to industry leaders and waited for the flood of texts to come in.
The flood never came.
The honest truth, I have received 3 text messages in nine months:
- One was too early for the company to tackle
- Another was an agency that needs help but cannot sign off the budget due to corona
- And the other wanted me to cold call without any information as they were in a unique place at the company.
Why this story?
Some times the best idea even with decent distribution can be too early especially in a pandemic while everyone is just keeping their heads above the (troubled business) water, it can be too subtle, it can be mistimed or misplaced or it can be too easy for people to reach out for help.
Sometimes friction does help.
Or potentially a good idea needs to be made great by investing huge amount of paid advertising behind it to make it hit the critical mass.
In life you can hit home runs, more regularly you have to stop, review, tweak and go again.
In marketing and growth being prepared to go a few more rounds helps you standout and win vs other competitors who are short term thinkers, so the lesson is to deliver a great product offering or feature, be prepared to tweak, test and iterate and iterate again.
So yes, the above actions is what I am going to do.
I live, learn and hopefully going to liberate a number of company’s struggling.
FWIW: The anonymous textline number is +447480064060