‘Be known for what you do not what you plan to do’
On Wednesday 23 January, we welcomed members of The Recruitment Network to our New Year Huddle, hosted at the Tropicana Beach Club in Covent Garden, London.
This event was designed to be different from what our members are used to. Through the tropical theme, the venue was a stark contrast to the cold weather outside, with the focus of the event on changing mindset, thinking differently & scaling up.
As our tenth Huddle, we announced a range of exciting developments for members, including a range of helplines as well as the recent news of TRN’s expansion into Singapore which you can read more about here.
Guy Browning – Thinking Differently
After the introduction from co-founder, James Osborne, we started the Huddle with Guy Browning & his talk on how to profit from creativity and fresh thinking.
Having started his career as a writer and subsequently writing comedic pieces for national newspapers, Guy went on to write the highly successful book, ‘Double Your Salary, Bonk Your Boss, Go Home Early’.
Now as the Creative Director of Smokehouse, a global marketing agency, Guy specializes in getting rid of clichés and breaking traditional ideas.
As part of his talk, Guy challenged members to reinvent certain products in a short space of time with the ethos that no idea is a bad one. He demonstrated that if they gave themselves the dedicated time, quiet and permission to think differently, they can always come up with a better idea.
Guy then taught members to break their 10 “golden rules” which he says, don’t really exist, and are just another way to confine our thinking. Instead, by using lateral thinking, members can take inspiration from the other areas to be more creative with how they approach their traditional jobs.
Guy ended his talk by reiterating the quote from Peter Drucker that ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’, telling members that if they have a culture which is open to all ideas, it’s more important than any breakthrough they could make.
#FeedTheMachine Part One
Following a quick break, TRN Board member Simon Church led a panel discussion with our chosen experts Sue Cooper, Sid Barnes & Chris Moore.
The discussion was centred around culture, technology, bonuses/commission schemes & succession planning. Some of the main points which came from it were:
- Whilst skills can be taught, your business’s culture cannot & getting the right culture is something which doesn’t cost anything.
- Technology is important across the business, but without the right client and candidate experience, you’ll struggle to succeed in the long-term.
- Make commission schemes part of the onboarding process and make it clear what is expected. Whilst company/team incentives are good, these need to be beneficial for everyone and shouldn’t be targeting a minority in your business.
- All of the panel agreed that wherever possible, growing your own leaders should be a priority. However, whilst this produces the best results, you cannot force a fit and it can be beneficial to bring in an outside perspective providing they are a cultural fit.
Once the panel discussion had concluded, a peer to peer task began where members were challenged to rank different aspects of their businesses and discuss different methods of consolidating these areas before Lunch.
#FeedTheMachine Part Two
After lunch, we introduced our second panel discussion and peer to peer task, continuing with the theme of feeding the machine, but with a focus on scaling up.
Leading this session was Graham Palfrey-Smith, board member for TRN, interviewing our experts Amy Gilman, Yvette Cleland & Russell Clements. The discussion was focused on how to scale up and not lose the culture, keeping teams together & lessons learned from their experience of scaling businesses.
Some of the key takeaways were:
- You must first decide whether a culture is worth keeping when scaling up which you can do by asking your staff to explain the culture and what they like/dislike.
- Be ruthless with people who are “cultural vampires”, even when they are successful. In the long-term these will have a negative impact on the business, regardless of their financial contributions.
- Be careful about not having an effective middle management team whilst you’re scaling. If they aren’t adequately prepared, it can create large problems further down the line.
- Accept that people require different methods of communication and as you scale, a diverse workforce becomes even more important.
Continuing the discussion, members began their second peer to peer task with a different group, learning and discussing how they could target their weakest areas of business to ensure they can scale effectively.
Caspar Berry – Taking more risk in an age of uncertainty
To end our New Year Huddle, we invited Caspar Berry to the stage. Focusing on risk-taking and decision making, Caspar drew on his past experiences as a professional poker player to advise members on how and why they should be open to taking risks.
Caspar started by suggesting that uncertainties produce the best results and that there are little uncertainties which people face every day, however, by embracing and challenging them, often they can progress businesses.
Similar to the poker table, Caspar argued that we make investment decisions every day, whether that’s investing time, money or resources. However, these also have an uncertain outcome and whilst we try to predict these outcomes, we are often worse at this than we think.
So, what do we do in the face of this uncertainty?
Caspar then showed members a way of navigating this uncertainty and risk, using the methods of professional poker players. By calculating the long-term average value of decisions, players are aware of the long-term goal they are trying to reach.
As a result, it became clear that short-term losses need to be expected and factored in, providing that the long-term average value is worth pursuing.
Caspar then moved on to examples of famous people who have experienced multiple short-term losses in order to achieve in the long run, citing examples such as Jack Welch and Abraham Lincoln, before members broke out into groups to decide what they were going to do differently on Monday.
Caspar ended on the fact that whilst we never get over our fear of failure, we must always define failure against what we are setting out to achieve, before moving on to a Q&A from members.