Inclusion in team work
Vim: [00:00:00] hi. This is Vimla Appadoo,
Tim: and I'm Tim Panton.
Vim: You are listening to the distributed future podcast today. We've got a really interesting topic.
That's I'm gonna go out and say I think really important both Tim and I about diverse thinking diversity in teams and being able to embrace difference. And a recent interview with Simon and Amanda Cookson who have started a business called more than value creators is all about how to embrace difference within teams and build culture but based on science not just because it's the right thing to do and I find that particularly interesting
Tim: but so, how does this this northern value creators tie into diversity are they saying that diversity will help you create more value?
Vim: Yeah, essentially it's there. They have kind of two parts of the business Simon leads on kind of mindful selling and how you can bring Wellness mindfulness [00:01:38] into getting new business essentially where and Amanda does the team building culture aspect, but with a strong importance and kind of strong influence in recognition on diversity and inclusion, and I think actually switching from diversity to inclusion and what it means to create safe environments for people.
And as part of that and it and the two are linked together massively and the culture in the way that you organize your business impacts the way that you sell your business and they need to be they need to be in tandem with one another.
Tim: Right right, but I mean for sure the sales culture of business like bleeds into the the employees, like if you've got a kind of, you know, got to get the sale whatever happens type culture in the sales organization then.
For sure, you know that you're going to have a support to put the Department's depressed and overrun.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: because that's like just natural consequence. [00:02:38] So so yeah. No, I totally understand the idea that sales culture affects everybody and I guess the other way round although perhaps less so I think don't know to think about that one.
Vim: Yeah. Yeah, I think is interesting. I've right. I think what I've noticed recently speaking to people about diversity and getting frustrated at how it's perceived as just just being able to have people that are different in the room isn't good enough for me. And I think the way you encourage true diversity and inclusion is by enabling the people that are different challenge or or even being conscious of the fact that you might have a team of people that look diverse and on paper a diverse, but actually all think the same so it's not adding any.
But it's not adding anything to the organization.
Tim: Right? I think challenge is always a difficult one because one of the strengths of you know, [00:03:38] if you work with a team for a long time, then it can get super productive because you all you know, each other's strengths and weaknesses and and you don't have to.
Like kind of waste the time finding those things out. You just know that you know, well Vim's pretty good at this. I'll ask her to do that or and I'll do this because like actually I'm you know, I can do this. I've done it before that sort of those sort of task organization to do with the fact that you know, those people really well and they know you and there's a lot of trust built up.
Vim: Yes
Tim: that how did what I think really tricky is how do you do that and still have. A culture of acceptable challenge. I think that's a difficult. Like I've not seen that done. Well,
Vim: Well challenge should be positive. It should never be I think in society the moment we try to constantly convince other people that we're right in there wrong, [00:04:38] but challenge doesn't need to be like that.
It can be an open discussion where you're simply posing a different perspective or point of view and I think there's a big mindset shift that needs to happen in order for that to happen to like to enable that open conversation. So I think even even calling it "challenge" probably to argumentative but I think it's more feeling that you're able to say if you don't think if you feel like there might be a better solution or a different way of doing things or
voicing a perspective that might not have been considered.
Tim: I think part of that is that is all the flip side of that is to do with listening.
Vim: Yeah.
Tim: I think we've lost a culture of listening. I'm not sure why but we tend not to listen to what people have to say and we often don't ask questions either which is
Vim: yeah
Tim: really, but certainly not questions to which we want to know the answers, which is that kind of tricky
Vim: we listen to hear the [00:05:38] things we want to hear that agree with the perspective that we're coming from and I think the danger as well as when we were in a room full of people that we think we know or that we think think in a similar way, it stops us from questioning because we don't try to dig deeper we run on the assumption that we immediately know where they're coming from.
So for example, if I were to say to you something sexist happened to me. You having an understanding of sexism in the Western World means you'll you'll quickly assumed what that sexism means and contextualize it in a way possibly without asking for a deeper understanding of what had happened or how it happened or why it was sexist.
So you might be misinterpreting what I had experienced or stuff like that and I think that's one of the risks of when you do know the team really well or you. Relationships as you just like continually run on those assumptions.
Tim: Yeah, you know and I know you mean [00:06:38] they're I think I think that kind of asking questions and being prepared to listen to the answers is is really it's not all when people don't always want to answer questions there
so I think you have to be sensitive to that but I mean I remembered like so I'm trying to edit this story because it kind of long but basically as part of a recruitment process somebody I was giving you a reference to somebody and and I thought it was just going to be like, you know, yeah, they did exist and whatever.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: but but actually the company who were recruiting. I wanted to know I mean they said well, what what can we do to make them as efficient as possible as to make them comfortable in our working environment? What would they what would they need and and given that I you know, I knew this person really well and done quite a lot of work with the mostly I was able to say well, you know, here are some things that will actually make an environment productive [00:07:38] and comfortable.
Yeah, and. But I've never been asked that before or since
Vim: that's a shame because that's a really great question.
Tim: I'm not sure it's legal in the UK. Actually. I'm not sure you can ask those sorts of questions about a former employers from was it
Vim: might lead to that making a bias higher or something
Tim: right strange thing that you could do that and you should certainly I think you should be doing that within a company when somebody arrives
Vim: definitely
Tim: asking that question like what?
What do you need?
Vim: Yeah, and I think that's part of it is the recruitment process or onboarding for organizations really needs to reflect one the core values of the organization. But also where the flexes is. If you're building an organization that isn't open to challenge knowing that when you're hired is really important whereas if you want to encourage and environment of challenge or.
Being able to bring your whole self to work all of these other things that are kind [00:08:38] of being spoken about at the moment that needs to shine through in everything that the organization does because if it doesn't you're not going to feel like you've got that capability to do it.
Tim: Right? Right. And so did you get a sense of like actual concrete benefits of doing this?
I mean, it seems like. Good idea from my perspective, but it would be fun to see if there was like a scientific basis for saying hey, this is going to give better numbers or whatever.
Vim: Yeah, I mean, I don't have them but I'm sure Amanda does he's a scientist behind it. And she does she speaks about in the podcast of the kind of scientific reasoning for why all of this is really important through to how the language that we use in the way that we speak sends off different can spark different
brain processes in the person receiving it and I like being out being conscious of all of that stuff is really important when you're doing recruitment speaking to people building a culture managing being a leader like all of those things.
Tim: Right? I mean, I remember one of the earlier podcasts trying to think who it was I think it was Hermione actually talking about how the how does company culture get set?
How's it get formed? And then the reply we've got this like almost always from the founders yeah, like so in a smaller company. It's almost always set from the top and not always consciously knowingly done. It's just like evolves and that's not always I mean it can turn out really well, but not always.
Vim: Yeah, and I think it hasn't yet. It has its pros and it's cons like it should definitely you don't want to lose that but you also need to recognize when it doesn't work for everyone and you don't want an organization that only mimics the founder you want to be able to show the difference that you can attract and
Tim: I think but I suppose what I'm trying to say is that the culture is set by the founder, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the founders like [00:10:38] is setting the only mold for operating that if that makes any sense there,
Vim: but I think culture always needs to constantly be.
In flux, like it needs to be defined constant redefined.
Tim: Wow. Okay, I suppose that's right. I mean things are changing things constantly change and if you don't you're not aware of that I suppose that on the other hand like, I don't know. I kind of like to know where I am to some extent.
Vim: Yeah, I am.
Tim: I think there's like the rules changing everyday is like a bit exhausting
Vim: but I dont think it's the rules that change. I think there's the the values of the organization constantly. Stay the same but the culture around those values might change.
Tim: Right, right and particular as the organization expands or contracts or moves around the globe or whatever then that's necessary.
Vim: Yeah, but I think these are these are the things that we believe in. However you want to implement them is up to you as an individual or team or [00:11:38] remote office or whatever, but you really have to know that you're comfortable with these. I think that's how I say it
Tim: I like the thing in in the GitHub no GitLabs.
That's naughty of me the get lab interview about like this all being on paper and up front. Yeah, you know that you could you can review this stuff before you can go for the first interview. Yeah, and I think is really cool.
Vim: Yeah, that's a very important as well but being really open and transparent about it.
So so important.
Tim: We used to have this thing about how you could tell a lot about a company by sitting in reception.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: and just like the behavior of of people and in receptions kind of super indicative of and what what a company thinks reception should look like tells you a great deal about the company.
I thought
Vim: yeah,
Tim: it's kind of interesting. I'm now kind of consciously thinking around where am I right where if I'd been recently [00:12:38] and yeah.
Vim: Yeah, I'm trying to think of that as well. It does say about it really does it's also interesting how reception areas can sometimes lean towards comfort for people that go there regularly, but complete isolation for people that have never been there before so like co-working spaces.
I find really interesting for when you were walking in the first time that if the reception desk isn't right there. It can be really intimidating and daunting to walk into a co-working space and try and find out how to pay how to join if you can work there for a day if there's not someone there.
That's just like oh, how's it going?
Tim: Right, right. Yeah. No, they have to be like they have to be almost Hotel like when you know front-facing. Eye level yes.
Vim: Yeah, I think so. I don't think they often are..
Tim: No, no, we work is
Vim: yeah. Yeah.
Tim: Well the one I went to in Berlin the other day that I was there.
Yeah interesting. I'm not that - I should go and take some notes about like desk height in in co-working spaces
Vim: Desk height in general is an interesting one.
Tim: Well, yeah, I mean it's sort of yeah complicated.
Vim: Yeah.
Tim: I mean if you look at hotel rooms Hotel receptions, it's high.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: it always it's like so that they're sitting at your eye level.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: is it kind of interesting
Vim: really interesting?
Tim: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know what psychology of that is.
So yeah, what else am I expecting in this interview to let us listen should I just listened to it?
Vim: I think just listen to it. It Is a really great conversation about particularly in small technology businesses how when it is an organic growth how [00:14:38] these things can get forgotten about and come back to bite you.
Tim: Right
Vim: this and I think that's one of the things that I really took away from it is one the importance of looking after people and two just how easy it is to forget when you're busy.
Tim: Yeah and and in small companies well, but also a big ones but says particularly in small companies, it's not explicitly anybody's job and therefore it drops off the bottom of the list very easily.
Yeah. Cool. Well, I'm looking forward to that.
Vim: today. I have Amanda and Simon with me from the Value creation company and I'll handed over to them to introduce themselves.
Simon: Hi, my name is Simon Cookson, and I'm the co-founder of Northern Value Creators
Amanda: and I'm Amanda Cookson and I'm the other co-founder
Vim: amazing. Thank you. So it would be really good to hear more about how you started the northern value creators.
Amanda: It's a funny story because it kind of happens and by [00:29:29] accident, so I was already working as a coach but felt I needed to sort of set up as a limited company because that would give me more flexibility with clients and her wanted to work with sign we've recently been made redundant was thinking about doing some Contracting work.
And so we came up with Simon actually came up with the name Northern value creators, and it was going to be our kind of holding. Business name for separate things to go into and then we worked with a company called side by side to help us think about kind of branding design and all those elements and as we talk to them about our separate things they kind of said I think you guys have got something there where you could work together.
And actually I say years of unfolded I can't imagine not working with Simon and how we ever thought what we did was separate, but it really has sort of evolved that thing from working with clients understanding the gaps in the market what's needed and where we [00:30:29] can bring our best work together?
Simon: Yeah. Yeah, I think that is it you who was kind of initially kind of just a convenience thing was an expert that all right will set up a business because one set of accounts and etc. Etc. But yeah, we let kind of the process of thinking about what we wanted to do what we cared about what we believed in we let that kind of run a process that lasted at least three to six months
where we ended up in a place where you know, yeah, we really are working together because we share the same beliefs about work and the way we work is changing and we both share the same beliefs about how best to work together or that both of, you know ourselves in our own business and in our family life 'cos with we're also married as well as running business [00:31:29] together and.
So in the work that we did with our clients because we were both lucky enough and have been lucky enough on a number of occasions to work really really awful places. And the reason I say lucky is that that those experiences really teach you something and taught us a lot about how people work best together and how businesses Thrive and how much it is really about the people and how engaged those people are and what they're working towards and the purpose they have behind their work.
That's the real secret to a successful team, successful business successful anything really?
Vim: Yeah. I can't agree more and I think it's one of those areas where we often. And we often Overlook what motivates us and what drives us to really get to the purpose of what we're doing [00:32:29] and whether that's the stuff do every day or your job or they're kind of the little things you do to make you happy as well.
Amanda: You think with that kind of what motivates and drives that something the other thing that's really interesting is when I left my corporate role. I had quite a senior in position which allowed me quite a lot of flexibility. And in looking at what I did next it was really hard to find that level of flexibility in other roles and I think there is something in that movie world of work.
It's often described. As you know, Millennials want to have this flexibility. They want to be able to do great thinking not be given menial tasks and having actually that's what. Any right thinking person wants from from a role instead of creating our company with having that ability for us as well to manage our family and our careers in the way that best suited us and I think that as a woman [00:33:29] in particular and if you want.
Flexible working or part-time working, but often that can make a real compromise in the level of money you can earn and in the amount of responsibility you're given and it's something I just wasn't prepared to do so and there was a kind of a real sense of necessity as well. I think in terms of making our business work for us because.
It didn't feel like there was another option.
Simon: Yeah, it was a bit of an experiment was yeah, you know, we wanted to find and that was very much a kind of first-year. Can we find something and we discover something and explore different ideas that would give us a different way of doing things
Vim: and I've realized that we've just done straight into this without really explaining what the northern valleys craters do.
So do you want to explain how you are with your clients? And what your kind of your your outcome is for them?
Simon: Yeah. I'm going to get a you know are kind of little strap line if you like is that people in relationships make all the difference? [00:34:29] And that's you know, that's not just a glib kind of marketing thing.
We really actually truly believe that and what that really means is that we work with businesses. We work a lot with Founders people that have set businesses up maybe kind of 5 years ago and their business now is successful. They may be employed 15 20 25 people but they're looking to take that business to the next level and we really help them with the big challenges that businesses face these days and we help them we help them look and tackle and overcome those challenges by using their people and their relationships both inside and outside of the business.
That's that's that's what that's the core of what we do.
Amanda: Yeah, I'd say that. My city specialism is around those internal relationships. So that might be about helping people lead and manage others in [00:35:29] a better way. And also I do quite a bit of coaching and mindset work to help people lead themselves so they can get the best outcome for them.
And then Simon specialism is more in those external relationships and in that sort of selling so we have kind of I guess products and tools that we kind of. Use more often. So I do quite a lot of coaching and support work in that way. And Simon has been mindful selling which he kind of helps people with and we also have some kind of thinking around.
Cultural values and how we work together? And so I think you know Simon said earlier. It's a privilege to work somewhere aweful because it can teach you in such a visceral way. And I think I've had really bad culture and values and behaviors work and inflicted on me. So we've kind of created a way of helping those larger organizations get [00:36:29] everyone working together with those shared values.
So that they can. What better understand each other have a better shorthand for communicating and also that you get word. I'm also one of the few conversation intelligence coaches in the UK and that's all about how the way we communicate with each other creates these chemical reactions in the brain.
So you can either start to create the disliking and distance from people or you can work in a way that promotes. And cooperation and sharing so I do quite a bit as well about helping people really understand the new science of great teamwork the Neuroscience of great communication. So that organizations can be successful from that very inside and out perspective.
Simon: Yeah, they've been you retain today is really important because we work a lot in the tech sector. Yeah, so we work a [00:37:29] lot with developers and Technical Specialists that have either, you know, evolved their career into management or running and setting a setting up and running their own business or they are now running a development team maybe for the first time and the people I like this.
This is a generalization, but the. That are in those roles in the technical industry. Tend to like exploring things tend to like fact-based evidence-based solutions for things and that's where the Neuroscience comes in for us, and we really help we really think it helps convey our messages around communication around habits around good positive behaviors if we can link it back to provable scientific research, and I think that really helped sort of overcome sort of initial skepticism.
Which we sometimes encounter.
Vim: Oh, yeah. I couldn't agree more. I think it's [00:38:29] all too easy for culture values purpose to come across as the kind of fluffy stuff. That's the nice to have in an organization. When actually it's the Bedrock it's if that's not right. Or done properly it can it can lead to all kinds of problems.
Not just from like employee retention that three to miss selling products or not really being able to. Operate functionally as an organization. I think something that I've seen shift really recently and particularly. I think as you mentioned with like the millennial generation wanting more from work, is that kind of really purpose-driven work?
So not just having a good set of values and understanding how to implement them. But knowing what the bigger purposes would yeah, I think is a trend that I've started to notice.
Amanda: Yeah. I mean we've we feel, and this is kind of like whole working theory that the whole relationship that people have with work is changing and I think part of that is because that old [00:39:29] deal about, you know, I'm going to come and work for you for my life and you're gonna give me a great pension at the end of it.
And as long as I kind of park my opinions at the door keep my head down then I'm guaranteed a comfortable life and I think that there aren't any more jobs for Life. There aren't any fantastic final salary pensions and the duel between employee and employer is changing and actually why should he wait 40 years for your award, you know people are going to be working until they're much much older than say in my parents generation a significant amount of time.
Vim: Yeah,
Amanda: and I think that the nature of work is changing and if people aren't really connected to the purpose of it the big 'why' of it then their whole sense of self and their reward for being at work just isn't there. So it has to be about contributing to something bigger. It has to be about that self [00:40:29] development self growth and sort of higher purpose.
And I think that's sort of authoritarian do as you're told type old cultures are becoming, it is a great thing, very much something of the past.
And I mean there are a couple of things I would like to see the end of. And I'm one of them is the whole thing around annual reviews.
Vim: Yeah,
Amanda: because a lot of my clients get very frustrated about any reviews and in either from the employer perspective.
They don't seem to get the traction that they want and from the individuals perspective. They don't feel recognized and rewarded. I wanted to be able to verify the magic wand and kid. Change thing. I think that every employee should own their personal development plan.
Vim: Yeah,
Amanda: and that your progression and your career shouldn't be down to the potluck of who your line manager is.
And that's something that you could [00:41:29] Outsource and access experts and mentors potentially globally to help you be the very best that you can be without the fire a little side project of Evangelical change that I'd love to see happen in my lifetime and
Vim: I can agree more but I also think there's a huge sense of self reflection that has to go alongside that and I don't know if the systems and the structures we have.
Enable that yet. So let's speaking personally. Like I've always taken with taking that responsibility on to myself to find my own mentors to understand what I want to get out of work to kind of set those goals. But it's been completely independent of kind of the structures that have been put in place.
So either the annual reviews or the line management structures or the advice you're giving it a career service or anything like that is and I wonder like when that shift is going to happen as well. So encourage [00:42:29] that sense of self.
Amanda: Yeah, I think there's definitely means something from a technological perspective to facilitate it and then it needs I think a change in our expectations from what comes from a line manager.
Quite often I'll come in as an external coach and the conversations I can have with somebody because I'm outside of the organization are a lot more honest.
Vim: Yeah
Amanda: more about the individual then perhaps some of my managers might feel comfortable doing. I'm also I think it's about expertise as well. So I become an expert in the human mind and human thinking motivational theory Neuroscience know all these things that a line manager wouldn't necessarily have.
So I come with additional tools and I think sometimes the expectation on line managers to be able to do so much as well as their technical specialism. Perhaps isn't isn't realistic. Will
Simon: yeah, I think so. I [00:43:29] think there's that there needs to be and I you know, I do see this I see the start of this but I think there needs to be a little bit more investment from the businesses and organizations into this kind of field into this area because it's in the businesses interest.
To ultimately attract and retain the best people in their business is that you know, I'm in a band to say this given what we've just been talking about but that's the thing that's going to make the difference to their business unit. You know, the new world of work is is all about flexibility and opportunity both, you know employees individuals, but also businesses themselves, But the downside of that is any Market you choose to look at is incredibly crowded.
There's an awful lot of noise. There's an awful lot of competition for the market but also for employees, [00:44:29] you know, skills gaps and problems of recruitment are always listed in whatever survey that you look at what ever sector that you look at and the key thing for. Delivering success both in you know business growth and you know attracting the right people is having that culture where you know that you're going to be looked after but you're going to be encouraged you're going to be driven.
You're going to be challenged you're going to be engaged properly and if so those employer that really see that and therefore invest the time and they you know, the cash ultimately at the end of the day in really creating that employee experience of the ones that are going to thrive.
Vim: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
I can really really couldn't agree more. I think it's it's the I hear a lot The Narrative of more look after our people so that they can become more productive and they've be happier at work and therefore, you know increase [00:45:29] their effectiveness efficiencies and all the rest of it and it's kind of everyone knows that's true.
But I think the reality is there yet. I don't think we see an action there's often as we should.
Simon: No, I agree one of the one of the. Is a. We faced in our business is finding the right clients to work with and I think that I think part of the challenge is exactly what you just talked about there.
It's a lot of people know this stuff, you know, you ask, you know, people that run businesses. Do you believe people are important? Most people say, yes. Yeah the evening, you know, there are still some out there that say absolutely not, you know, they wouldn't don't give a damn about. their people but they're that kind of few and far between most people say, oh yes, of course, but finding those people that are sort of open enough and you switched on enough to take that [00:46:29] statement to the next level and actually do something about it
Is more difficult because I think a lot of the time a lot of the people that we talked to, you know, people are founded businesses or people that are leading significant areas within businesses of all sizes have a mental model and have a toolkit that they fall back on about how to do things and often that mental model is.
Now quite an old-fashioned corporate model and one of the things that we really enjoy working with people on is finding a more truthful and authentic way of doing things like the line management duties like the appraisal things. That Amanda has just been talking about. Is you know, you don't have to revert to those corporate process led ways of doing things you have the ability [00:47:29] especially if it's your own business to design processes that feel right to you, you know and and didn't deliver things and defined success really.
This is something we do a lot with, with people and you kind of think if someone set up their own business, they've given themselves their the permission to run that business however, they like but actually we all get trapped we all get trapped in what we believe is the right thing to do. We should what we should be doing and that can lead us into really quite unhappy Place.
Vim: Yeah. I mean there's a lot of there's always pressure whether it's societal cultural your own kind of conform to something. So when you step outside of that realm you're paying one even more pressure on yourself to do something differently, but you're also then having to put in all of your eggs in the basket that is going to work and that's going to be successful which is yeah take really challenging [00:48:29] and it takes bravery and courage to do.
I also like one of the things I think is really interesting. Is it I see there's these kind of conversations happening a lot in the tech sector or in small startup environments and then you see it as a huge kind of corporate end where you've got the big players trying trying to show it in a different light of what we do that we're starting to do things differently.
We're encouraging our teams. But where do you see it clearly fitting with the new roles that are being created now, so that is 0 hours contract roles or the gig economy space and that kind of thing as well.
Amanda: Well, that's that's kind of interesting because I think for me what comes up that is about the balance of power and the relationships.
So with zero-hours contracts with the gig economy and you've got a kind of a buyers Market. So as the employer I buy what I need and I buy parcels of it and I have ultimate [00:49:29] flexibility, which is great. But then what's on the other side so for the individuals for operating within those contracts and in that way have they got their own and it's like housekeeping things like pension and have they put into their feed the whole thing so that it covers off all the cost that they can afford.
Be to be sick they can afford to go on holiday. And I've got that kind of pension and planning for the future but also their professional development and when are they investing in them? And they're giving themselves time to do that? And I think that there's a real gap actually in that group of people and I'm trying to remember I have a terrible memory for figures but the percentage of.
Smes that are kind of considered micro-businesses is massive in terms of all the smes overall and that's reflecting this kind of gig economy and approach [00:50:29] and what I mean Simon and I will we be doing because in a sense we are little micro business at the moment aren't we is we use. We using kind of Associates and others to be able to grow and do things with bigger companies, but we are also starting to really carve out having one work to feel like because if we don't give ourselves permission to do that, then we end up filling all of our time and getting very exhausted and disenfranchised.
With how that feels and I hope I have not gone off on the point here. But one of the other things with that sort of contracted gig economy approach is that if you are not a particularly good networker, then you will find have a good about what it's going to be like from the individuals perspective.
But you're in this endless Feast/famine cycle applying to check working. It never feels particularly comfortable which is why we then [00:51:29] sort of created this. Approach to selling so it didn't feel like sales, and so I think that there's something about responsibility and accountability for employers and whoever you work with and however you work with them to make sure that they're being treated in a way where they can flourish but then individuals also have to take responsibility for themselves and recognize what they need to flourish and make sure that's part and parcel of the communication on both sides.
Simon: I wonder whether there's also a kind of at a time. And maturity thing going on or maybe I hope there is that perhaps at the moment and we might be coming to the end of this stage or approaching the end of this stage that you know things new new Mechanical Devices. If you like such as zero-hours contracts come along as a shiny new thing and large corporations see these as [00:52:29] almost like a Magic Bullet to solve the problem.
So everybody rushes to that seemingly simple solution and for a few years it works. Because it's a new day. It's a new model of operation a you know, it's got obvious benefits for the employer. And so they push it to certain who you know in large Parts in areas of the economy where people don't have a great deal of choice.
So it's easy for the employer's to push it. But I wonder whether there's you know that we're coming to a stage perhaps where that simply offering zero-hours contracts or pushing zero. Contracts starts to become less effective. And what employers will need to start to do as they use of devices like this gets more mature is start to build in more of the responsibility stuff that Amanda's just been talking about in order to make these things work [00:53:29] and perhaps where engine starting to enter that phase this will start talking a sort of policy and legislation level first because that's often kind of what pushes these things on.
And you know more responsibility from the employer side of things, but then hopefully the employees would see the benefits of that and being able to attract and retain really good people because they're offering more and it's become more of a more of an even power relationship and perhaps that's where it's going to go next.
Vim: That's really interesting. And my next question was going to be about where you think values-work-purpose is going in the future. So you think there's there's kind of there's an aspect of that Independence and that working together so much happier and healthier teams. What, else do you think is going to be happening in the future the changes that we might anticipate.
Amanda: So I think one of the things that's quite [00:54:29] interesting is the stuff around that growth mindset instead of understanding from the values perspective. How you value yourself and your work and how you cope with Challenge and difficulty. So what so let me just kind of expand it a little bit because there's an awful lot of research going on at the moment about and mental health problems in the workplace.
And I think that some of that level of stress and unhappiness is about that lack of either self value or the value that you're getting from your work. And so I think some of that is about how people cope with challenge how people cope with adversity and how people learn.
Vim: Yeah,
Amanda: so I think that the values work will start to have a more holistic view because in the past it would be our organizational values are: "reaching further", "achieving more" "doing better", you know whenever and it would be [00:55:29] what behaviors do you have to meet those was I will be more on a.
That's all about after the workforce us as individuals as a collective. How do we value ourselves and what we do as well as having some shared views about in this space We Believe X.
Simon: Yeah, I think that and and the re you know what I would see as the big sort of. Social economic drivers that are pushing that is for me.
It's about creativity and Innovation if we want to succeed, you know, you know, I'm particularly thinking sort of the business World here, you know the tech sector the creative sector the digital sector where we kind of send most of our time if you want to succeed in those worlds to me the competitive difference comes from creating.
The charity and Innovation and being able to and I guess I'm going to add one more and [00:56:29] resilience to that. Yeah, and be able to stick to that and be consistent with your Innovation and creativity and the way that you achieve that Is through and really engaged highly motivated Workforce, you know, you've got teams of people that are working with purpose
We're looping back around to that 'purpose' thing again, you know teams of people that are working with purpose that are really committed to what they're doing and that just doesn't happen by having a funky office or getting colorful bean bags or labeling the third floor of your corporate office block the "Innovation Hub"
now not how it happens. It happens through real investment in people and values.
Vim: Yeah, I can. Yeah, I keep saying this but I really couldn't agree more and I think the Innovation part is [00:57:29] massively crucial and I think one thing that I've started to. To explore a little bit more and you touched on it earlier Amanda when you spoke about being a woman in business is is that diversity in adding towards Innovation.
I think the the risk of the folk the risk of focusing on purpose and values is that you draw people in who have those same purpose and values which is obviously what you want and it's amazing but you then risk not having a challenge to those purpose and values which can which I think and then stagnate innovation.
Interesting to hear what you think about that as well.
Amanda: I don't have a slightly different take and I would say that the pray that with wide as human beings is really difficult for us to be creative. It's really difficult for us to come up with anything. That's Innovative if we feel stressed if we feel unsafe if we are not in a space of value.
So I think that some of that stuff around building [00:58:29] psychological safety building mindful offices giving people that ability to be able to articulate their true thoughts in a safe way. It's fundamental to that creativity. And I think we often individuals who are on the margins who are different to the norm which kind of goes back to that sense of diversity can struggle to express themselves where they don't feel safe.
So I think the two things kind of knit together because if you are running a business where you're ticking a box, You have a lot of diverse Workforce. Have I brought enough women in you know have I done this I've done that but you haven't got a psychologically safe space. You haven't got a space where people have real value in themselves and what they do and feel valued in the still not going to innovate because it's not about the people it's about the environment and the relationships within those people that matters.
Simon: Yeah, and I think I would answer that [00:59:29] with a lot of the work that we do around helping people create the right culture in work, which is one of one of the big challenges that we work with people a lot on is one of the one of the things that we really focus on is is creating space. Now what I mean by that is, you know, the traditional corporate with you know, delivering values or appointing values to an organization is that it's a top-down: right
you will behave like this. These are our values and this is how you will think. You know, I'm quite a sort of dogmatic top-down approach what we try to do. What we do is get people to think about creating a space what I mean by that is a space is it something that's defined by its edges? So we did we help people Define what is not okay within our organization.
So what's outside of the space what's outside of the [01:00:29] room? We often use the analogy of rooms and spaces. So what's outside so we all know what's wrong what we don't do or what is not acceptable. And also we then Define what's inside the room now the space can ideally be quite large. So there's a lot of freedom to interpret this
really important for engagement to not be told how to think but be given a guide of what is acceptable behavior. And what the behavior did we want to encourage but give people access to interpret that in their own way and bring something of themselves to the table. Yeah, and also the the other thing about the analogy that we use for the room with our bright lines value work is a room has to have a number of Walls in order to create that space.
And what we're trying to encourage people to do is think about a really sort of positive tension potentially between some of the some of [01:01:29] the the values or some of the behaviors. So you may have a behavior on one side of the room and one on the opposite side of the room that could actually be you know have a little contradiction and a little tension and that is good because then they can play off each other.
They all you know, they and then they become something more valuable than a simple sort of five, you know, five values of our organization if we have a little tension and we give people space to bring themselves to the interpretation it we kind of think that's a much more exciting space than simply being told that you've got to be creative or have fun at work.
Vim: Yeah, definitely and I think the the safety aspect is crucial because there's no point hiring someone in that you want to challenge you if they then don't feel safe to do so and they know that that challenge is going to be accepted as a positive conflict rather than a. troublemaker or negative and I think that's really really important because I agree.
I think it's when [01:02:29] you have those positive tensions at that's where you can start to be creative and you can start to you can start to understand problems from a different through a different lens.
Simon: Yes. Yeah
Vim: and what excites you the most about what you do
Amanda: I think what excites me is thatI feel like we're working on the edge of change if that makes sense.
I mean so everyone that we work with is thinking about work and relationships and people and their goals in kind of a very different and creative way. They're thinking about tackling. Big questions. So there's this opportunity. I think you're what we do to make a huge contribution to a shift in thinking and the way that work.
Works at large.
Vim: Yeah,
Amanda: absolutely exciting. But also I think that anybody who works in that kind of personal development personal growth field. You also have that kind of excitement of the massive Transformations and sort of life-changing experiences that you helped facilitate with the individuals who work with as well.
So I think in the kind of years that we've been running. We've got clients who have had amazing personal experiences as well as businesses that have seen massive Transformations. And the fact that what we do is just so hugely interesting and I think that there's so much about the can't remember who said it's very famous quote about, you know, don't give yourself a job give yourself a calling and I know that for what I do and I just love it it never feels like work.
I don't get that kind of. No, oh my goodness me. It's Monday feeling I have for the fun. Everything I do is an absolute Joy.
Vim: Yeah,
Simon: I think I [01:04:29] yeah, yeah, totally utterly completely agree with that were agreeing with everything. I would probably I would probably tack on to that as well. You know, one of the things I find really really exciting is what is going on
In the tech and digital and creative sectors in the where we live. You know, we've got the word Northern in our business name and that's quite a deliberate thing. Not not because we're kind of characteristically sort of flat cap wearing Northerners or it's not the kind of thing. It's an expression of place and expression of community.
The north is where we live and it's our community and I just love. How the the sectors which we work in digital technology Etc. I love the way that they are changing the cities that we work in and the [01:05:29] society that we that we live in and the opportunities that they're bringing in to our communities and you know thinking back over, you know, 20 25 years
I can't think of another time that seems so much change and positive change and opportunity coming to areas like Sheffield like Manchester and Leeds and I think it's just a really exciting time.
Vim: Yeah, yeah it is and I think that that's what I get excited about being in the north with as well. It just feels like there's so much growth and potential and a real opportunity to have a positive impact in a way that you want rather than just feeding like it's happening around your happening to you can really jump in and feel apart of it.
Simon: Yeah, I agree is so much someone that grew up in the north in the 70s and 80s are you know, I've seen you know, some really, you know, really awful really awful things happen to [01:06:29] communities and I think the biggest war the biggest, you know, the biggest negative thing throughout all of that time period was too kind of helpless helplessness of it all and it would things that happened to.
communities by people elsewhere and it kind of feels the you know, the place that we are at the moment and the period that we're going through at the moment just feels different.
Vim: Yeah. Yeah. It really does. That's great. I think we will end that there unless there's anything you'd like to add in before we wrap up a
Simon: big thank you.
I think thank you for inviting is on and let us talk about the things that we that we love and the things that we believe in. So, thank you very much.
Amanda: It's been lots of fun
Vim: Amazing, no it has been an absolute pleasure to speak to you and I love having these conversations when you get to for want of the better phrase just think outside of the box and challenge the things that get you out of bed every day and make sure that you're putting those those into your into your working [01:07:29] pattern and being conscious of it in your life.