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97: McKinsey’s Copenhagen clash, AI hiring drama, PLUS motivating stagnant teams & more

Join us for a dynamic episode of “Truth Lies and Work,” where we look into the latest happenings in the world of work.

LEANNE IS REMOTE THIS WEEK which means her audio isn’t as good as normal. Sorry!

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This week, we feature a conversation with Peter Dorrington from Anthrolytics, discuss intriguing news affecting the corporate world, and tackle your pressing questions in our Weekly Workplace Surgery segment.

Episode Highlights:

  • Interview with Peter Dorrington: Insightful discussion on how data is reshaping HR practices.
  • Leanneโ€™s UK Trip: Leanne shares her experiences and the rejuvenation she felt during her visit to the UK.
  • News Roundup: Leanne discusses a recent controversial event involving McKinsey at Copenhagen, shedding light on corporate culture and employee morale.
  • Weekly Workplace Surgery: Al and Leanne answer listener questions about management challenges and improving workplace culture.


General Support with Mental Health and Well-being

If you have been affected by any of the themes in this episode, or are currently struggling with your mental health, the following resources may be useful.

 Mind website:

If you are feeling in distress or despair, including feelings of suicide, please do consider calling the Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK) or email (Rest of World)


All the links mentioned in the show.

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The Transcript

โš ๏ธ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Leanne Elliott: Hello and welcome to the TREAT live and work podcast Hubspot podcast network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a business psychologist.

Al Elliott: My name is Al. I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott: And we are here to help you simplify the science and psychology of work.

Al Elliott: Yes, we are. You might notice something slightly different this week.

If you’re watching on YouTube or you’re listening, if you’re listening, you probably notice it as well. Leanne is not here. She is in the UK. You’ve been there for about nine days now, haven’t you?

Leanne Elliott: About two and a half years, I think, at this point, yeah. Um, no, it’s been lovely. I’ve had so much fun getting to see people, see my friends, and definitely building up using those relationships to build up my energy again.

Um, so yeah, it’s been fun, but it feels like I’ve been away for

Al Elliott: It does. It does. I know I miss you too. And if there’s, um, I’m going to see you tomorrow, you come back tomorrow, which is I’m very, very excited about. But anyway, so this week we’re doing this remotely. Um, if you’ve not listened to a Tuesday episode before, if you haven’t listened to the pod at all before.

Really quickly, Tuesday is a real sort of like loosey goosey episode where Leanne and I’ll chat about what’s going on in the world of work. And then we have the world famous weekly workplace surgery, where I Leanne. Thursdays, they’re about interviews. We tend to bring in external experts. We have a big interview with them, and then Leanne will generally translate.

Um, anything which I don’t understand from the interview.

Leanne Elliott: It’s actually last Thursday. I’m, um, I’m usually, because we’re nerds, we usually sit down and listen to the podcast, don’t we, afterwards and just do some like constructive criticism, what we liked about it, what we could have done a bit better, generally just think how cool the guest was, but because I’d been away.

And I’ve been so busy. I haven’t listened to last Thursday’s episode, Al. Fill me in. Who did we have on?

Al Elliott: We had the incredible Todd Davis, who is the chief or the ex chief people officer from Franklin Covey. Franklin Covey is the, uh, is the business that Dr. Covey jointly started the stories in the podcast, but it’s basically Dr.

Covey wrote the seven habits of highly effective people. And, uh, we talk about that. We talk about whether it’s still relevant. Uh, Todd knew Dr. Covey very, very well. I worked with him for I think, 20 odd years. Uh, but also the Franklin Covey is known as the most trusted leadership company in the world. So it is quite a treat to speak to the chief people officer and see how they do things.

Leanne Elliott: I, I’m, I can’t wait to listen. I’ve already got it down right. I’m gonna put it on the plane tomorrow.

Al Elliott: Fabulous. Next week, as in this Thursday, we’ve got Peter Dorrington from Anth Lytic, uh, the Lean and Peter had a conversation maybe about a month ago, a month and a bit ago, Lee. Yep. Really interesting guy.

And she said, look, he’s a data nerd. Al, you’re an all round nerd. You need to speak to Peter. So me and Peter or Peter and I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago and it is fascinating. Basically he uses data to predict when your people might be disengaged, when your people might quit, whether they’re happy, whether they’re not.

We also got into so much more in there. It was genuinely about a two hour conversation. Um, which we will potentially publish the entire conversation because I think nerds will love it. Um, but, uh, we will bring it down to about 40 minutes for you for next Thursday. So Leah, is it your favorite time of week?

Leanne Elliott: It is. Uh, it’s my favorite time of the week. It’s time for the news roundup. Cue that jingle.

Al Elliott: Consider it cued. What have you got?

Leanne Elliott: So now I am casually scrolling through my feed with my cup of tea. The tea can’t tell you how much tea I’ve drunk since I’ve been back and it’s been glorious. I’ve got loads to bring you back.

Don’t worry. But anyway, there I am, with my cup of tea, having looked through my newsfeed, I see a headline from Fortune that makes me want to go back to bed immediately, hiding under a blanket in shame on behalf of McKinsey, who this article was about. Did you see it? No, I didn’t. About their event in Copenhagen.

They had an event in Copenhagen. You’ve heard about McKinsey recently, haven’t you? Going through a few layoffs. Um, they, we had that story on the news roundup a few weeks ago about how one of their employees was calling out their culture and their shady performance management practices. Well, it’s a bit of kind of a pick me up, bringing everyone together.

Um, they had a corporate getaway in. In Copenhagen, uh, last week, I think it was. So the usual motivational speeches, what, what the next few years looks like in theory, good idea, you know, we’ve, we’ve had a lot of layoffs. We reset the, the corporate culture. Um, but they went down a route that makes them feel a bit icky.

In that, alongside the motivational speeches from these ladies who’ve basically just been dickheads for a while, sorry, bleeped that out. Um, they had a playlist out, featuring Eminem, Bob Marley, and Shumba Whopper. As in, I get knocked down, but I get up again. You ain’t ever gonna keep me down. Also that song goes on to talk about quite um, binge drinking in quite a big way, so I’m not really sure how appropriate it is.

Um, it was aimed to boost morale. It was aimed to, do you know, this is the turning page moment as managing partner, Bob Sternfels described it. Um, so yeah, and, and by the sounds of it, it went down a bit like a lead balloon. If nothing else, because it was leaked to the press and it was in Fortune magazine.

Um, I think it’s one of those things, you know, that if McKinsey were in a good place, and they’re treating that stuff well, then these types of kind of, I guess it’s a sense of positive, it’s a positive affirmation, in a sense, isn’t it? Having these types of, of um, playlists in the store. So they’re going from, Positive psychology perspective surviving to thriving and this, this could work.

There are some studies that have found that these types of self declarations can boost self confidence and morale, overcome negative thoughts, manage stress. It’s positive psychology. So it’s like techniques, as I said, that gets to thriving. It’s not going to help for things like burnout, disengage with toxic cultures.

So it’s going to feel, It’s gonna feel a bit of a slap in the face, I think, if you’ve been working really hard and it’s like, it’s okay guys, this Jumbo Womba song off of the 90s will motivate you, bear that in mind as well, but half of their workforce have never even heard that song before. So anyway, the other thing I think is a problem with McKinsey right now, and I don’t mean to be shady to McKinsey, because I know everyone’s having their challenges, it’s a challenging economy, but equally, again, it’s the tone, you’re playing music like this and trying to make it all like cheesy and cool and more all in this together, and And you’re also currently getting sued or a criminal investigation because of some of your consulting projects.

mainly related to the opioid crisis. It just doesn’t quite feel right, does it? That, that misalignment, that incongruence, I just think is going to cause more problems. I think they missed the point. A catchy tune is not going to address the problems that McKinsey are currently having. So yeah, I think, um, I think, I think, yeah, they’re, they’re just not, It’s just not it.

Al, thoughts?

Al Elliott: I think they need to find a big four consulting firm to come and really work through this problem. Uh, they need some experts in that. Yeah. It does seem a little tone deaf. Um, I know, I know Chumbawoma. I think, I think they were at the, they played them at the Tory, uh, Party conference. That’s the conservative party conference, the right of politics.

Um, and chumble one, but we’re not happy about that. And I’m, I don’t know whether they sued them or basically said, don’t stop using our music. I don’t know. Uh, so yeah, it’s, it just feels really cheesy. Like it’s almost like an episode of the office where someone’s just gone. All right. Right. Well, let’s get, let’s just do a little bit of a, let’s do a disco.

That’ll get everyone’s, you know, nevermind the fact that people are getting, I haven’t got, I’m not getting paid enough. Nevermind the fact that people are getting fired. Let’s just, uh, let’s just get some pizzas. Um, so yeah, it sounds like a big pile of shit. Yeah.

Leanne Elliott: I’m definitely putting it in the same category as, as Paul Tabor in the break room.

Um, and I always, I hope that there will be some. So maybe some kind of tiktok coming out about this. I can see them around like I take some whiskey drink, I drink some vodka drink, I drink some salad drink, just to get through the freaking day at McKinsey right now, I think. Um, so yeah, interesting. Gave me, as the kids would say, the ick.

Ow, what have you got?

Al Elliott: Ick. Not heard that before. Okay. So I was, I was, I think this was on something like boredpanda. com, which is a, it’s my guilty pleasure. I like it in the morning when I wake up and I’m just having a cup of coffee. I like to scroll through bored panda because it tends to have some quite funny stuff on there.

Uh, but this was, um, this was originally taken from Reddit. I’m pretty sure. And it’s a guy who went for a video interview with something called higher view, which is an online AI assessment tool. Now as a nerd, I’m like, I approve. As a as a co host of the UK’s number one workplace podcast. I do not approve just this is this is this is his experience.

Um, to be prepared. I was directed to wear a suit with no tie. Very strange. Headphones were prohibited. And you had to, you had to have no external mic plugged in, which sounds really strange. Anyway, so basically I got there, quiet area, this, it all started. The system asked me three questions and I had a minute to read each one and ready myself mentally before answering in three minutes or less.

The system, that is weird, but I can see why. The system doesn’t allow you to delete your recording and make additional attempts. And when answering your questions, you’re instructed to maintain eye contact with the camera and speak as if you were talking to a human being. If your eye strays away from the camera too long or for too much, then your score will plummet because it’s been programmed to assume that this action is a result of a reading response from a printed card or perhaps a device or something like that.

If your score is above a certain number, so therefore you are progressing, then real humans can record your, your answers, can, sorry, review your recorded answers, um, and you may then progress to another human. for listening. But, the other weird thing is that after the five questions, then this person was saying they were given two games to play.

The first game was basically a numbers and letters game where they had to memorize it and punch it in a digital keypad. And then they got harder and they started going backwards and all this kind of stuff. This person basically did not enjoy the experience. And they’ve explained that if, well, their parting comment was if this is recruitment, then it’s bullshit.

They are not a big fan. Now, I, what interests me about this is that I can kind of see it as a first line, not of defense, but a first line of recruitment. Okay, that makes sense to me. I can also see the rule that if you look away too much, then they’re assuming you’re reading from a card or something, or reading from your phone.

Um, I think that’s fundamentally flawed because if you are, for example, uh, Asperger’s, um, autism, I know that that can mean that you’re not quite as comfortable with eye contact or perhaps you don’t even notice that you’re not got eye contact. I think it’s flawed, but I think it’s, I think it’s a decent idea, but I don’t think it’s implemented well.

I wanted to find out what you thought, Lee.

Leanne Elliott: I agree. I think there’s, I think there’s a place for these types of programs in the recruitment process, but I, I don’t think it’s been executed in a very good way. Like you say, it’s, it’s massively, there’s big problems in terms of discrimination, um, in terms of, like you say, you know, very diverse.

There’s plenty of other, you know, potentially physical disabilities that might, um, mean that eye contact is difficult for some people. Um, and also just from a hearing perspective, we don’t have conversations with people and stare them in the face and just keep talking and not look away. That’s weird and creepy.

We look up, we think, we, so I think that’s flawed. I think in terms of the exercises themselves, if they’re linked to the job, if they’ve been shown a job analysis to be required for the job, as a way of assessing them, I think it frees up time massively. There’s plenty of organizations that, that will use online testing, um, in some way and do it very effectively.

My concern, as you say, is the lack of flexibility, the potential discrimination, the potential, um, Um, and by the sound of it, it’s not a very pleasant candidate experience, which particularly in this market where employees are, you know, will form opinions around organization that will influence their, their decision to take a job or not.

I think candidate experience in the recruitment process is getting more and more important. So, yeah, I agree. I think it has a place. I think it’s been executed very poorly. I agree. Um, yeah, try it. Do better. I think would be my summary.

Al Elliott: Nice summary. And I think also if you, if you’re not careful, you’re comparing.

This AI to an in person interview. So that’s why you’re saying like, you know, all that might be bringing notes, whatever, but actually a lot of interviews go on over zoom where you could easily have your notes on the screen. We use teleprompters you’re not using today, but when we’re back in the office, we were teleprompters in front of us.

So we have our notes up and we’re looking at the camera so I can look you directly in the eye and also read my notes. So I think what they should be doing is comparing the AI experience to a zoom experience. Zoom interview rather than an, you know, an in person. And then they’re not going to come up with this idea of you can’t look, look away or anything like that because I don’t know about you, but if what’s, what’s the science, if you look to the right, you’re recalling the left, you’re lying or something like that.

Um, I can’t remember which way around it is, but I know that I spend a lot of time when I’m thinking about things, I look over to the right and think about it. So yeah, flawed, as you say, flawed, but the nerd in me kind of likes it and thinks that Well, let’s be honest, this is the worst it’s going to be, so hopefully it’s going to get better.

What else have you seen this week, Leigh?

Leanne Elliott: Well, this next story actually comes off the back of the episode we did a couple of Thursdays ago with the co founders of Ivy Jocks. If you haven’t listened to it yet, Ivy Jobs is a platform that is helping what’s designed to help women return to the work after an extended career break, typically from having children or raising a family.

So we share the story of Ivy Jobs. Of the founders behind Ivy, what got them to, to launch their business, what the business is doing, what the future looks like. One of our lovely listeners left a comment on the YouTube about this episode, and I thought it was really insightful, really intelligent, and actually raised issues that I feel that we failed to cover.

In the episode Owl, Sir Alex Zedd totally agree on so many points. For example, women face miles more prejudice. A woman negotiating hard is just seen as difficult, whereas man is seen as strong. A question from Lydia and Amelia, the co founders of Ivory Jobs. Is it not more about the roles we find ourselves in and less so about being male or female?

For example, I have a male friend who has been the stay at 15 years and he experiences everything here that typical stay at home people face. And yes, that tends to be more often women. He can’t get back to anywhere near the level he was at. And I would wonder if he would face even more challenges in being a returner.

Imagine the prejudice he will face. You can imagine the thoughts and dialogue, what kind of man stays at home to look after the kid. I myself have moved out of traditional employment and I absolutely know that there isn’t a chance on earth I’d be seen as a strong candidate having been out of work for so long.

I would have to return at a more junior level, rather than using terms like motherhood, penalty tax and the gender pay gap, why not see it as the homemaker pay gap in this section of the pay gap? I think using these terms also reinforces the lack of equality and diversity that ultimately impacts on all genders.

It reinforces the fact that this is a female problem and fight. I mean, we did, when we’re listening back, you know, we did say, you know, there are other minority groups that we’ve not really talked about. In this episode, and I was kind of saying to you all that I’m, I feel okay with that because it, it’s a majority problem at the moment in terms of the significant proportion of the workforce not being able to get back into work at the same level, at the same rate, having those challenges.

From a commercial perspective as well, it makes sense to me that you pick your, you pick your market and Ivy picked women, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s sad. I think Alec has raised some really important points that actually, and I wonder as well whether it might create a bit more empathy around, around the gender pay gap, because it’s actually a homemaker’s pay gap.

It’s, it’s a human issue. We’re just perhaps a bit blinded by, by, by, yeah, the, the, the female aspect, which I get because so much progress is needed in terms of women, women’s rights, so much is needed. Um, but yeah, I thought it was a really interesting thing that is potentially we, um, we didn’t recognize this subset of people will be equally impacted who aren’t women.

Al Elliott: Totally agree. I think, um, it should be renamed the parental pay gap perhaps, or the stay at home parent pay gap. Um, that would just make perfect sense to me.

Leanne Elliott: So yeah, I think it’s a really interesting, thank you so much to Alec for getting in touch and sharing, sharing your thoughts and for anyone listening who had their, their, their A similar thought, listening to the podcast, um, that we’ve missed something, we’ve not raised an issue, um, that makes you, you know, maybe even a bit angry, get in touch, leave a comment, send us an email.

We would always want to hear from people that we haven’t, that feel we haven’t represented their views and their needs in that conversation, because that is our aim, to make sure that we are including every voice. In the conversations we have. So please do get in touch. As always, our links in the show notes.

Al Elliott: In talking of, uh, of getting every, letting everyone have a voice, I think it’s time for us to let HubSpot have a voice who pay our bills. So we’re going to take a short break. We’re back in a second with the weekly workplace surgery. So welcome back. This is the segment of the show where we have three questions for Leanne.

So going on to question number one, this is what this person writes. I was promoted to manager about 18 months ago, and I do love what I do, but I found it really tough to motivate my team. They’re mostly great people, but the old manager was near retirement, would do the bare minimum they wanted, um, just to coast through.

When I took over, I wanted to shake things up. Now, I’ve read lots of books on management, but all the techniques I’ve tried so far, either have had no effect. or a very short term effect. So things settled back down to how things were before. What am I doing wrong, Leah?

Leanne Elliott: I’m not sure because I’m not sure what things you’re doing, because you haven’t mentioned what it is you’re doing that hasn’t worked.

I think what would I do if this was me in this situation, what would I do? I mean, any insights you can gather from your team, ideally, anonymously, confidentially, might help you out here. So running some kind of employee voice insights type survey, you probably don’t want to think too, too intensive, but even, um, I don’t know, something like the HSE management standards that we talk about quite a bit, um, gaining some kind of insights might be helpful because people might be willing to maybe share their What they’re actually thinking and feeling anonymously, confidentially, more willingly than just your conversation.

Can I just ask you there?

Al Elliott: I’m sorry to interrupt, but can I just, we talked about the HSE standards, but if someone hasn’t heard of those, then what would be the point of running the HSE standards survey?

Leanne Elliott: So the HSE management standards are basically six standards of management, behavioral, environmental aspects of, of, um, team life.

very much. That a manager can influence and provide that are positively related to, uh, employee wellbeing, reduced stress, which we also know increases motivation, productivity, performance, all that good stuff. Um, so by getting the insights, what you’re going to learn is you’re going to learn about how much control people feel in their roles.

How relationships are with monks, the team, um, how they feel about their role, how they feel about you as a manager. Um, are they really just how change is managed? It would just give you an insight into all of the, what we call psychosocial factors of team life that could be impacting motivation because a lack of motivation is only going to be stemming from either a lack of purpose, lack of meaning, um, or stress.

You know, having that high workload, it, it can be hard to, to stay motivated. I mean, the other thing to do as well, I think is really, if you can build these relationships with your team, where they will tell you the roadblocks to their performance, to their jobs, just the things that make every day a bit harder, and as a manager, you can remove those things, then people are going to feel more motivated because they know if they put the effort in, they’re going to get the results.

If every day is a challenge, whether it be a really, a really, you know, clunky process, whether it be the fact that they’re commuting in peak time and that adds on an hour and a half to their day, there could be loads of different things from their work life to their commute to actually operationally how the organization is functioning.

It’s just causing friction in terms of their day to day life. If you can remove them, it gives people more energy to invest in So I think whatever, whatever is happening is, you know, you say I’ve tried everything, it’s not working. Well, I think that will be because you’re doing things that are having an impact.

They are sparking some enthusiasm. But if fundamentally the environment they’re in doesn’t change, Then people will go back to that kind of baseline state of performance and motivation. It’s much like happiness, you know. We win, we win a prize at work and we’re like, Oh, that’s exciting and we’ll peak. But if we’re, you know, we’re still going to go back to that baseline of, of kind of our, our general happiness levels.

Um, so I think it sounds like you’re giving people peaks, you’re giving people peaks. Um, little, yeah, little nudges, little spikes of, of motivation, which is great. But it sounds like there’s fundamentally something within the organization that isn’t quite working. So my thought would be to figure that out, that root cause.

And as I said, it’s either going to be that they don’t really feel any meaning or purpose in their work. So it’s going to be about talking to people about what the organization’s. Mission is what they’re, what they’re, you know, contributing to in terms of their role and connecting those two things. So this is our mission.

This is your role in helping us to deliver it. Uh, it’s going to be down to, um, workload. But also workload can be exasperated by is that there’s clunky processes, those tasks that are necessary. So I think anything you can do to uncover that. It’s going to give you the information that you need so then that you know, if you try something, you should be able to see where it’s impacting, how it’s impacting and how well it works.

Maybe you say I’m trying everything and it’s not working, it only works for a little while. Having the data will, will help you actually assess how well it’s working. Um, and as always, you know, ask your, asking your people is really, is really important for building trust for, for motivation. If people know that you’re on their side.

Um, then, you know, then that’s going to come through and if they have an old school boss, they probably didn’t do that. So it probably going to take a bit of time for them to trust that actually you do want to change things and you do want to make it better so that your persistence is going to be really key here as well, but I say, yeah, try and get some insights, trying to have those one to one conversations, um, and, and just continue to do what you’re doing with that data, um, backing you up, continue to be curious, continue to experiment.

And continue to invest in your energy, um, in motivating.

Al Elliott: So what’s interesting is that a lot of new managers or junior managers seem to think that they should be adding stuff to the team to be cr to be putting changes in place. But really it seems like the best thing to do is to take stuff away from it, take the obstacles away from the team.

Leanne Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one thing that I got on a, on a contract once that was struggling a bit and I was, I was not new to the business, but new to that team, um, we have, we have basically a shit posting morning. Where it’s like, tell me everything, tell me everything that’s awful. Everything that’s awful about, about the customers, about the other leaders, about your job, about the office, about your computer, about your colleagues, everything, anything that is pissing you off, I want to know.

And we’re going to moan about it and we’re going to just get it all out. And in the afternoon, cut off, you’re not allowed to talk negatively about this anymore. We’re now going to solutions mindset. So if you were the manager, how would you deal with that? How would you get rid of this problem? How would you make it better?

And it comes to some kind of group consensus around that change, which also then means that people are already bought in, bought in to the changes that you want to make, which are going to make them much more effective, much more sustainable, there is a risk. Of course, that you’re going to get people go, well, I’m not on board with this.

Okay. And it’s almost like good, because if you’re not with us to change this and make it better, we’re better off without you. We’re better off with you not being in the business right now. Um, so it can help with that as well, but it’s, it’s a bold move and I’d say as well to this person who asked the, asked the question is make sure that you’ve got the back of your, or your senior leader has got your back.

Are you talking to them? Are they providing you with recommendations or the resources you might need to, to dig into this a bit bigger? Because ultimately, you know, whatever change you want to make, and it sounds like you’re going to have to make some kind of organizational change to. Yeah. To lift this baseline level of motivation, you’re going to need the backing of your senior leader to make this work.

Um, so that’s gonna be as well. Make sure you’re getting the support

Al Elliott: question. Number two. I have built a smallish consultancy up from scratch where it was just me in my spare room to a proper office with 14 employees. But in the last nine months, I just feel like we’re not the same company anymore.

Before we hired the last two people, we’d work on problems together. So everyone would pitch in if we had a sales presentation and people were happy to stay late when required. Now they, this person does say, note, I never made them stay late. They all volunteered. But since the last two people joined, things have changed dramatically.

The office seems to have split into teams, two teams when neither team wanted to help the other team. This is not the culture I imagined. How can I go back to the good old days? Lee.

Leanne Elliott: I say this with love, your culture is not the same as it was yesterday. Your company is not the same as it was yesterday. If you want your company culture to stay the same, then don’t grow your business.

Have a micro business where you can have that control. 12 seems to be the magic number. I think it’s Daniel Priester that talks about this. 12 is the number it seems to then split up into, into smaller groups. Different doesn’t mean worse. Different can mean good. Culture evolves. New people bring in new ideas, new thoughts, new ways of working to the business.

If you’re growing your business, you know, you know, as an entrepreneur, you’re not going to have the same business yesterday as you do today, as you will tomorrow. Because it evolves and it grows and it’s the same for the team that evolves and it grows. I think I’ve said this before. I think it’s kind of like entrepreneurs.

I understand you get so attached to your business. It is like your baby. And then all of a sudden your baby is a teenager and they don’t want to play with you anymore. They don’t want to hold your hand when they cross the street. They don’t want you to brush their hair at night. That’s just the way it is.

And I think if you’re, if you’re serious about growing your business to a point where it is, Is that, that SME, it’s not a micro business. Um, then I think you have to, you have to let it go. You have to put it in that big red balloon and let it go. The culture that you want is not necessarily the culture that the business needs or the culture that your people enjoy it.

It’s the principles, the foundational principles of your culture. You can control it in, in terms of being the same, um, but people are going to shape that and good, you want people to shape that. So I think it always comes down to, I guess, the practical things. If you’re, you’re saying that your business isn’t the same as it was, it doesn’t feel like the same business.

It’s not, that’s just the reality of it. In terms of your values, have you looked at those since you started your business? Have they changed? Do they still resonate with the people that you have in? Your organization today, do they still resonate with the customers you’re working with today? I’d imagine they’re different to the people you’re working with initially.

So reviewing those values to think, does this still represent the type of organizational culture that I want in terms of, I mean, overarching values or those underpinning values. Um, if they don’t, we look at them, revise them, do it in consultation with the people you have in your business. You say in terms of people staying late, I think, I’m not sure this is, I think it is a startup thing.

I think people get very attached and very energetic in startup environments. I also just think the world has been moving on, you know, people have, are not as willing to invest as much time in, in their work beyond what they’re contracting for and what they’re paid for. I think this is where Quiet Quitting actually did take some favors from an individual resilience and wellbeing perspective, because when they’re setting some healthy boundaries.

I shouldn’t be working till eight o’clock at night because I need that rest and recovery time. So I think maybe even switching that mindset and actually that as long as your people are doing what you need them to do, at the quality which you need them to do it, within the time frame you need them to do it, then yeah, they go home at five o’clock and they don’t want to stay.

So I think for me, it’s, as we look at your values, I would do some consultation with your team in terms of how they see the culture, whether that be focus groups, wisdom through discussion, if you just want to kind of hacky pick. Informal. You might also be getting to the point now, actually, where again, some employee insights might be useful, particularly if you’re seeing people split off into teams and you’re not as hands on day to day as every member of the team.

Getting some insights into what your actual culture is can be really useful. Because it might be, and I’ve worked with clients before who felt that they feel detached from the culture, they feel like the culture’s not right. And actually when we dive, dived into it, they’ve got a lovely culture and the team love that culture.

It’s just that they disconnected from it because Because of growth, because of circumstance, because of a whole variety of reasons. So I might actually just be looking at, if you’ve got the data that actually shows this is the culture we’ve got and actually people love it, it’s finding ways for you to reconnect with that culture, and your team might be perfectly happy with it.

Um, and I think finally, you know, as an entrepreneur, it’s getting to that point of, are you just feeling a lack of fulfillment? Because you’re not getting your kicks from the work environment anymore. If you’re an entrepreneur, you love being scrappy. You love that risk taking. You love that innovation. You love that, that early day startup phase, because that’s what’s in you.

That’s what motivates you. That’s what brings you joy. The organization is now at a point where it needs a bit more stability. It does need a bit more formalization. It does need, um, you know, there’d be things in place that might be better placed with a more typical operations director or CEO type role.

You know, do you have a number two in your business? Who’s going to get excited about that side of the business? Well, you can go and innovate in terms of products or services or customers. So it’s like making sure I think that is it a cultural problem or is it that you’re, you’re detaching because you’re not feeling as fulfilled in your role as a business owner of a larger business.

Um, that would be my advice, do some introspection and then talk to your team. But my suspicion would be. It’s your lack of current fulfillment that is potentially you’re then projecting onto the teen culture.

Al Elliott: Great answer. And as someone who has grown a business up to 25 employees, I did notice the change.

You’re exactly right. And Daniel’s right. He’s around about employee 13. Um, did notice a massive change and yeah, I took it very personally. Question number three. Hi Leanne, I hope you can help. To be really frank, I feel like I’m drowning at work. Here’s the background. Although my title is Operations Manager, I’ve been responsible for recruiting for a year now.

Now I don’t mind it, but I’m getting to the point where I feel like I can’t give it proper attention anymore. What I like about this is that I almost feel as the person’s writing it, more and more things are just come out. So they say my workload is massively increased as the person in charge of operations, it feels like everything that is not sales or finance is just dumped on my desk.

I’ve been considering using a recruitment firm for my recruitment, but this is very expensive and I’ve heard some bad things about some of them. What should I do? Seems like a very open ended question there, Lee.

Leanne Elliott: Um.

Yeah, again, without a bit more information context, you know what I’m like, I’m always like, it depends. I need a bit more, I need a bit more info, I need a bit more insight. But I guess off the surface of it, what would I, what would I do? Um, I mean, I get it, operations is. It is, you get so much card on you and I’ve worked with so many operations directors who feel the same because you’re right, anything that’s not sale, marketing or finance, I’ll give it, give it to the ops person, they’ll do it.

Um, it’s, it’s an under respected job, I think, operation. Um, I mean, I think that, again, it sounds like your, if your workload is going up, it sounds like you’re in a growing business. It sounds, it sounds like business is going well, or maybe business is going badly and people have been let go and now you’re picking up their workload.

Either way, it sounds like your workload is not sustainable and it sounds like you are, well, I think you, did you, did they use the word journeying? Yes. Um, that’s a very, that’s a very visual and emotive thing. Um, analogy, isn’t it? That it sounds like you’re saying that you’re, you’re drowning, then you can’t breathe.

And then something needs to be done about it because whatever scenario the business is in, if you burn out, then it’s not going to be good for anyone. So I think the first thing is to probably, I know this is really difficult, but go, if you can go through your day and just, maybe just think about if you reflect on the end of the day on everything you’ve done that day and just make a list in terms of what has been productive use of my time today.

And perhaps what was something I had to do today, but didn’t require some, it to be done by an operations manager, senior member of staff. And I think just by doing that from a task perspective. You’ll start to build a business case for potentially hiring some extra support because if it is an ops director, if you’re spending the majority of your time on what is actually admin tasks or something that, uh, you know, a more junior role can do, um, then there’s a business case then to hire that person in because you can divert your energy to more value and activities in your business.

Similarly, there might be technology. They’ll be able to help you with, with some of those things, because I think once you’ve got that, it’s going to require a conversation with the person above you to say, look, this is what’s happening. This isn’t working. It’s no longer effective. I either need extra help or better technology or an outsource service like recruitment.

And it’s going to give you some, some data to kind of build that, that business case up. Um, from a personal perspective, um, in terms of you, I think it’s really important that you start to set yourself some boundaries as well, whilst you’re going through this transitional period to hopefully, you know, offload your, or reduce your workload a little bit, get some extra help in.

Um, so I think, yeah, those boundaries, you know, I know it’s hard when you’ve got so much to do, but, but trying to get home a decent time, trying not to work into the night, trying to take your weekends, making sure you’re building that rest and recovery time. You know, as we’ve talked about rest and recovery, there’s much about the relaxation, but it’s also about those recovery activities.

Is that going walk with the dog? Is it cooking your favorite meal on a Saturday night? Is it going dancing with your girlfriend, you know, whatever it is, building nice things in as well. Um, because it sounds as though you’re on potentially that start of that downward spiral to what could end in burnout if you don’t kind of nip this in the bud sooner rather than later.

So yeah, I’d say that’s a thing. If this is now, it’s going to require action because if you feel like you’re drowning, this isn’t going to get any better, um, without action. Well, that positive action and you’ve taken positive action by asking the question in the first place, that’s brilliant. You’ve, you know, put that out there.

So I’d say from, from, yeah, from the job perspective, try to understand where your time is being spent, where it’s not as productive and what could potentially be carved out into another role within the business. given to other people in terms of development opportunities within the business, or indeed requires an outsourced service.

And then from that, that individual perspective, try and set some boundaries for yourself, um, to, to hopefully, you know, give you, keep your energy resources going while you’re going through this transition.

Al Elliott: I suspect that everything you’ve said there, the person who’s written this already probably knows, but have just not really admitted it to themselves.

It’s funny because we’ve, we’ve, We’re always very good at looking at other people and going, well, that’s what they’re doing wrong. But we are hopeless at looking at ourself. And so, um, what Leanne’s just said there, I think is you probably in your heart of hearts know that something needs to change. You probably in your heart of heart knows that this isn’t sustainable over the next 10 years and something needs to happen.

So it’s not a question of going in which, which recruitment firm, it’s like, I need to change something. And yes, so follow Leanne’s advice. I think it’s fantastic. And Leanne always says it depends, but then you do come out with some amazing, some amazing advice in there. I love, I love what you said about it.

That was absolutely fantastic. Well,

Leanne Elliott: thank you. I mean, one, sorry, I was going to slide that up quickly as well. What you can do while you’re making that list. If you are worried, actually, you’re just not enjoying your job anymore. It’s once you’ve got all those tasks that you do. Um, and this was, um, this is a tip shared with me by a career coach who’s coming on the show very soon.

Um, so a little teaser on this. She said something similar, but look at your tasks in a way of what gives you energy and what takes energy away. As the majority of your day to day tasks are taking energy away from you, and that is not sustainable. If it’s a fact that what your, you know, your day to day tasks should be, would give you energy as an operations manager and the ones that take energy away from you, the ones that can be carved out into another role, then that gives you an insight in terms of the longevity of you in this role and how much you’re going to enjoy it.

Um, I think it can feel late, but it can feel forced, but going through that quite practical step, broke from a, you know, transactional, what do I do in my day to day working life to how do I feel about my day to day working life, that should be quite effective to help you make some. Some potentially big decision.

Al Elliott: Thank you, Leanne, as some more great advice there. If you have a question for Leanne, then check out the show notes, you’ll see the email, you can email it, it’ll come through to me and I will put that question to Leanne next time we have another workplace surgery, which will be next Tuesday, because this Thursday coming up, as I said, it’s the interview with Peter Darrington.

Um, I think you’re going to really, really like this, even if you’re not a nerd, it’s just, if you’re interested in human behavior, then it is It is a really fascinating episode. Anything to add before we go? Lovely

Leanne Elliott: Lee? I don’t think so. Like we said, the usual things, subscribe, click the button really helps us out.

It’s the best way to support the show. If you really enjoy the show, we really enjoy creating it for you. So long as that, that follow on Spotify, that subscribe on, on Apple, YouTube, it really does help us out. It’s the best way to support the show. Um, so yeah, if you wouldn’t mind, that would be amazing. But we will be back on Thursday with Peter, the data science genius.

It’s so interesting. And I think it’s going to be some really interesting ethical discussions around this as well. So do tune into that on Thursday and I’ll see you tomorrow, Ariel.

Al Elliott: Yes, you will. I’ll be, uh, I’ll be waiting at the gate for you. Like I’ll be, I’ll be so excited to see you.

Leanne Elliott: No, you won’t. I drove myself to the airport.

That’s true.

Al Elliott: I’ll be waiting at

Leanne Elliott: the house.

Al Elliott: That, I meant the gate of the house, yes, not the gate of the airport, but that would be, that would be foolish for me to take a taxi to Split to pick, to meet you, and mind you, that would be a really lovely surprise, but I’m not going to do that. Anyway, so we’ll see you, we’ll say see you Leanne tomorrow, and we will see everyone else on Thursday, have a fantastic week in the meantime, and uh, don’t forget to subscribe, and if you want to leave a review, we would absolutely love it.

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