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Ep28: VC Investors want ONE thing in 2023: What You Must Know for a Successful Exit (Part 2 of 2)

What do a billion-dollar VC investor, a serial entrepreneur and an M&A integration specialist have in common?

Welcome to part 2! (Part one is here)

What do a billion-dollar VC investor, a serial entrepreneur and an M&A integration specialist have in common?

They are looking for this ONE thing in businesses they acquire or invest in.

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What do a billion-dollar VC investor, a serial entrepreneur and an M&A integration specialist have in common?

HINT: They invest in people, not businesses.

Today we’re joined by three expert guests:

Sarah Chen Spellings 

Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Beyond the Billion, the world’s first and largest global consortium supporting women-founded companies. In under 2 years, the fund has deployed +$638M to 800 female-founded companies, with 11 recognised as unicorns.

Simon Berger 

Founding Partner of IM2 Group in 2002, Rendezvous Exhibitions in 1994 and Intermedia Exhibitions & Conferences in 1997. Building and selling 26 exhibitions and conferences around the world, Simon Berger continues to invest in creative business opportunities and offers consultancy and M&A services to industry players.

Melissa Carson 

After 25 years with several high-performing organisations including Accenture, where she supported M&A integration from a people perspective, Melissa founded Canopy Solutions. As Founder, People Strategist and Leadership Advisor she works with clients ranging from small non-profits to scaling technology companies, all with a common goal of ensuring that they have aligned their business and people strategies to drive growth.

Join the conversation as we uncover EXACTLY what investors are looking for in 2023, how you can secure funding, and grow your business to exit. We discuss:

  • What investors look for in a business
  • What investors look for in entrepreneurs and leaders
  • The red flags that will lose you the deal
  • The role of People & Culture in securing investment
  • Overcoming bias in the world of business and investment
  • 4 expert tips and a mountain of resources

This is part 2 of a 2-part series


All the links mentioned in the show.

Connect with Sarah Chen-Spellings

Connect with Simon Berger

Connect with Melissa Carson

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The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

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Simon  0:00  
twice. So he looked at me came up to the desk looked at me on the left, and then it took the pencil broke it in half. And he said, you need another pencil

Al Elliott  0:15  
Hello, and welcome to the truth lies and workplace culture podcast where we simplify the science of people. My name is Al, I’m a business owner. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist. And if you’ve been listening to part one of this two part episode, then you’re probably quite excited, we left you on a bit of a cliffhanger. We’ll play that in a second. But we were basically going to go back over. There’s one more thing that VC investors want in 2023. So if you’re looking to potentially raise some money, you’re looking to exit you’re looking to acquire, then what we’ve discovered is from our experts, is that people and culture is one of the major things that people look at when they’re trying to when they’re trying to acquire or invest. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely

Leanne Elliott  0:57  
is. And I think I don’t want to say I was surprised, but I was maybe encouraged that it was so high on the kind of the agenda of what what investors are looking at. And it makes sense. And I think Simon summed it up perfectly last week. You know, when he said that people don’t invest in businesses, they invest in people.

Al Elliott  1:15  
Yep. 100% is funny, because we’ve both seen over the last sort of six, eight months on LinkedIn, a lot of people now talking about people in culture. It seems like it’s it’s finally coming to the forefront. It felt like the, your worst word fluff. It did feel it it felt like that some most business owners are looking at and going, Oh, well, this is you know, this is a nice to have this is what the IBM’s of the world have. But but now it’s definitely coming to the forefront for smaller businesses. And as we’re discovering now with our three fantastic guests, that it’s something that people will actually look for when they’re trying to invest or acquire a business. Shall we just go back over and arrange to SAT guests

Leanne Elliott  1:51  
anyway should our first guest is Sarah Chen spelling’s Sarah is a venture capitalist and strategist she is co founder of beyond the billion, which as you would have heard last week has already pledged more than a billion dollars to women led businesses. She’s also host of the billion dollar moves podcast, our sibling show on the HubSpot Podcast Network. And she was named young global leader by the World Economic Forum in 2020.

Al Elliott  2:17  
Kind of a big deal. Our second big deal is Simon Berger, Simon has been working in the events and exhibitions industry for over 30 years, he’s launched multiple event portfolios across the world, Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, I think that was the continent he’s not on. He’s a serial investor in creative people and technologies. And you’re gonna hear a bit more about one of his stories in a second. He’s a founding partner for MadWorld make a difference media, the watercooler future group loads of other things. And what’s more important is that he’s bought and what he’s actually acquired, or invest in companies and sold about 26 of them over the last sort of 20 years. So again, just an incredible guest.

Leanne Elliott  2:56  
And finally, we have Melissa Carson, Melissa is founder, people strategist and leadership advisor at canopy solutions. She works with a whole range of clients from small nonprofits to scaling tech companies, and all with a common goal ensuring that they have aligned their business and people’s strategies to drive growth. And we’ll be hearing a lot more from Melissa today. As we dive into exactly that, how can we align our business and people strategies to enable growth?

Al Elliott  3:22  
So what are investors looking for? The first thing is entrepreneurship, obviously, they want to make sure people can entrepreneur Well, secondly, they’re looking for people leadership’s they want to find really great, great leaders, what else they’re looking for Leo?

Leanne Elliott  3:34  
Well, they were also looking at culture, which we were really, really excited about. And particularly some of the red flags that our investors see, within some cultures, and one that Melissa mentioned, was when businesses describe themselves as having a family culture, that’s not a family business, a business that has a family culture, let’s just remind ourselves what Melissa said,

Melissa  3:58  
I think when people talk about they want to feel like a family that it’s just that everybody cares about each other. And we’re in it for the long haul together. But it is it is a business that people are a part of and so people will come and go so I think it’s more around you want the respect to that comes with colleagues versus with family sometimes we’re not as nice as we need to be because their family like they can’t really disown us. Not as easily. But so I think it’s finding the level of respect but making the creating a feeling that belonging, feeling, hey, we are a team. We are a truck. You know, people use a variety of different terminologies but that it’s partisan and we stick together. We have each other’s back. We care about each other. And so I think that’s more important but that family thing you might be can’t fire your family but you might have to fire you know, an employee and you don’t want I mean if you’re doing the right thing for your team and your organisation carrying somebody who is not pulling their weight It isn’t fair to anybody, it’s going to alienate your team that’s working really hard. And it’s not fair to the person who’s not performing because they might be exceptional somewhere else. And sometimes in families, we just relive the conflict sort of the Marine, we just kind of leave it be and it’s not really healthy in the workplace.

Leanne Elliott  5:16  
I think the trap that some businesses fall into when describing their their culture is as a family is quite right. They’re looking for some it’s gonna pull it all together and get everybody on the same page and all all on kind of the same boat rowing in the in the same direction. And I think is Melissa explains really well there. The analogy doesn’t really work in in terms of family. And I think what we’ve seen a lot more recently, is the concept of purpose, a purpose led culture or purpose led leadership, having purpose or reason comes down to having a shared vision, something that we can all connect to, that we’re all inspired by, and that we all want to contribute to in terms of mission delivery. And we know that these feelings of purpose translate into what Melissa said their feelings of belonging. And in terms of behaviours in the workplace, that translates to greater discretionary effort we go the extra mile. And bonus are wellbeing is also massively boosted by experiencing work with both purpose and meaning.

Al Elliott  6:19  
So I think most people will think about that and go purpose. Okay, well, my purpose is to make a mega load of money, let’s build a company to exit it. But that’s not really what Leanne was talking about there. The purpose was more like, what are we doing in the world? What’s our company here for? And let’s be honest, you’re not going to have too many people getting excited about a purpose of making you a millionaire while they possibly lose their jobs. So we did ask Sarah about this. And we said, Should we be building to exit? Is that the right route? We’ve heard of lots of companies that built with the with the sole intention of actually selling to Google? Will? Sarah doesn’t think so.

Sarah Chen Spellings  6:56  
Yeah, you know, I might come up with a controversial one. One is actually most of the very successful founders that have actually exited, never built their companies to what to call an exit, right? Like, the intention was just to build a great business. And in fact, exiting was the hardest thing that they’ve ever had to do, because there was their BV. And I think that’s important, you know, because you need to come at it at a at a with a right intention, and that you believe in what you do you believe in what you’re building, and that you do want to lead it. And of course, the exit, I will say it’s a cherry on top, it’s important from a financial aspect for many people, for VCs and investors. But a lot of I will say a lot of the best founders did not actually built with that end in mind. And I think that’s an important reframe to think about. Because if you’re just doing it for that sake, you know, are you doing it for the right reasons? Okay, that’s part one. Part two, if you are building towards an exit, how to get there. I think it’s building you know, again, like I’m a long term, game person, always, you know, think about how you want to build your business and have that in mind every day. Every email that you write, you know, there’s people that of course, worship Steve Jobs, that that was pretty much a I wouldn’t swear on this podcast, but perhaps rough around the edges for many people who know him. And leaders are centred. But I like to think that leaders that build sustainable businesses have the right intention, grounded by the right intention, the right purpose, that think about long term growth. And that means culture, that means not growth for growth, but having big ambitions and being very grounded in what are the next steps to get me debt. But I think we can’t forget that the founder of the business can be both the bottleneck or the lifeline of a business. So you need to as much as you’re examining your business, you need to examine yourself, are you the right person to get from point A to point B to point C?

Leanne Elliott  9:00  
Well, I think that’s the coaching reflection question of the day from Sarah there, isn’t it?

Al Elliott  9:05  
Are you the bottleneck? Or are you the lifeline? It’s interesting that Sarah mentioned Steve Jobs there because I think the word she was looking for was somewhere around, asshole, perhaps a little stronger, we don’t know. But yet he came across as a massive asshole. And probably a very unpleasant person to be around. But let’s think perhaps he did. Perhaps his passion was to build the business and sell it but I don’t feel it was I read his autobiography. And I think it was more his passion was just to bring something amazing into the world. And that’s what made him an asshole. But also what made apple so so good in the later years when he came back from from Pixar, I think it was he went, he went off into when they got kicked out. And the whole point in that was that he was passionate about bringing something beautiful to life. He wasn’t passionate about building a business to exit. He wasn’t like Michael Dell. Again, nothing is Michael Dell. If you’re listening, Michael And welcome. But I think that he’s he’s seemed to be more about growth. And he’s like, right, how do we sell as many computers as we possibly can, at the lowest possible, the lowest price with the volume and just basically build a business, Steve Jobs right now, I’m passionate about bringing something beautiful into the world.

Leanne Elliott  10:17  
With that in mind, I’m reminded of our episode on family businesses where Ryan from Hogan was talking about having the right leader in the right role at the right time, Steve Jobs absolutely critical in those earlier days, or those kind of reinvention days of Apple. But if he was still in charge, now we’d be seeing I can Elon Musk situation, twist, like it’s just not gonna work. So I think it’s, you know, as a leader, if you are have just secured investment, or you’re growing to secure investment, or you’re going to exit, really taking a really deep introspective look at yourself and your leadership capabilities and thinking, Am I the right person for the job right now? Am I the lifeline? Or am I the bottleneck,

Simon  11:01  
I do feel that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do something that benefits all if you possibly can. I’m a big believer in doing things you enjoy. teach my children, I think there’s two things you have in life. One is work, and the other one is love. And if you’re lucky enough to marry those two together, you know, you’ve done well. So you know, we spend an awful lot of our time in our lives working. And I think you should really try and enjoy it. So yeah, over the years, what I’ve tried to do events and shows I’m very lucky, which is probably the reason I’m still in it after 30 plus years, is that I love the businesses I’m working in. So the first shows we launched were actually in South Africa, we did an optical and opsonic show called Vision Africa. We then had a dental show, for dental Africa. We had Africa laboratory equipment, they had the South African Toy Show with the beauty Africa, which was about cosmetics. And we staged the South African hairdressing championships down there as well. And we bought built up this portfolio of shows from 1992 to 95. And then we sold them all, to the biggest company in the world at the time. So read a bit of joint venture between read tml. And, really, I suppose if you have that passion, and you have the best team, and perhaps the best content partners, you can deliver great shows. And it’s not that I wanted to divest of them, necessarily particularly the first lot for financial gain. In certain instances. I mean, just the very first example, in vision Africa, the first show we ever did in Africa, we helped an awful lot of people in what they call the bush over there, but in the bush people who, you know, who’d lost their eyesight, particularly on the West Coast, in terms of the in the minds, you know, and when they lost their eyesight, they would have a marble, literally put into their eye. And through vision Africa, we were able to accelerate everyone having a brand new technology using using toril. It sounds a bit sort of grim here, but they would put coral in the eye, and that the your tentacles would go into the eye and so your eye would move, and then they would paint it so you wouldn’t be able to see out of it. But it was cosmetically so much better. And things like that. I mean, I just think you know, we were able to do and then to make that bigger we choose, we chose a partner, who had a bigger footprint for more resources to make that show bigger, therefore, a better reach and frequency for the audiences and communities that we were providing for

Leanne Elliott  13:43  
Sarah also shared how her personal values and purpose led investments have shaped her career and decisions as an investor.

Sarah Chen Spellings  13:50  
Well, we’ve been a feminist, but I guess I became an accidental activated feminists and that I’ve combined, you know what I believe to be true and important, you know, that women are equal politically, economically, socially, and should be in positions of leadership in many different ways that they are not, but bringing that into the work that I do daily has been, I guess, accidental. And that, you know, I started my career in venture capital as a corporate venture capitalist out of Malaysia working for a 13 billion market cap, public listed company investing into late stage biotech companies, but along the way saw that there were very few around the table that looked like me spoke like me, and I questioned that and that questioning led to me becoming feminists in Malaysia and leading and or, you know, sort of being the founder of lean and Malaysia so bringing the lean in term from Sheryl Sandberg to Malaysia localising that and scaling that to now 7000 women and men strong who believe in advancing women and leadership professionally and has become the voice of credibility there and that actually also put me be in really interesting spaces to be able to understand the gender renter investment gap, right? So, you know, when I moved to the United States, I was shocked to say the least, that even in the United States, where it’s meant to be the beacon of innovation and growth and everything that, you know, looking in from, as a young, bright eyed Malaysian girl, as I would say, you know, we look to the United States as the example right in the gold standard. But I was shocked to find out that only, you know, at that time, 2.2% of venture capital funding was going to women founded companies, and me being, you know, certain and still am that, you know, my work in at least my first decade, and more will be in venture capital, I wanted to make sure that things change, and that, you know, I’m not the first the only in the room, because, you know, we’re missing out on the talents of the population to be able to innovate and skill and spaces that are important the way we work, the way we live and the way we move forward.

Leanne Elliott  16:00  
In the past, talking about purpose led coaches has typically been tied to a more altruistic drive or a drive for for change or societal change. I’m not sure that’s necessarily what purpose led culture means. Now, I think there’s many different ways we can find purpose in our work, whether that’s very directly as Simon’s experience was more systemically as Sarah’s was, or even as you were saying about Steve Jobs owl in terms of wanting to create something beautiful, the key with purpose, or whatever that is, whether it’s helping business leaders sleep at night, whether it’s creating something beautiful, whether it’s changing the face of of the world with AI, and what it all means. The psychology behind it is that purpose gives us energy. And energy means that we have the resilience needed to grow businesses, and put all that effort in to scale them and exit them. As Sarah said, this is a long term game, purpose gives us energy. And energy typically results in successful and profitable sales.

Al Elliott  17:08  
So let’s look at one of them. One of the probably one of the most famous and also at the same time, not famous acquisitions, which was WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook now matter, probably about 10 years ago. And if I remember, there was only maybe like, sort of 30 or 40, people working on WhatsApp at the time, when they were acquired for a lot of money, an awful lot of money. Now, you might think, great, well, the founders, their purpose was to sell to matter, make a shit tonne of money, bank it and go and sit on a beach and earn 20%. But it’s funny because there was a lot of pushback from the founders after a year or so of meta acquiring them, saying they’re not using this the way we intended. They’re using it to, to collect information and advertise and all that kind of thing. And they really didn’t like it. So I think one of them actually quit, potentially, you know, sacrificing their earn out, they quit early and said, I’m not doing this anymore. So it’s all down to this passion and this mission, and this reason. And if you’ve got a reason for doing something, and money’s not enough, I’m sorry. Money is never going to make you happy. Money is a magnifier. If you’re miserable, and you get some money, you’re just even more miserable. If you’re generally happy and you make some money, you’re even happier. So money isn’t the end result is got to be what change are you making in this world? Which is down to your reason? Or your mission?

Leanne Elliott  18:28  
Absolutely. And I’m sure you saw an article recently, it might have been on medium there and I didn’t I didn’t read it. I saved up but the headline was something like selling my business was the worst day of my life. Because it’s this whole like moment you’ve been building up to and then it’s gone. And then what then yeah, there’s trauma counselling, there’s transition counselling, there’s so much coaching, the whole field of coaching dedicated to working with entrepreneurs that have sold their business is the big deal. Because typically, as Sarah says, those successful businesses that grow and exit are usually purpose LED.

Al Elliott  18:59  
Okay, so just to recap, and the four things that either companies looking to acquire, or VCs are looking for is, is there some kind of entrepreneurship? And that’s pretty obvious. If you’ve seen Dragon’s Den, you know what that means? Is there a good leadership team in place? Have you got the right people in the right roles? Thirdly, is there a good culture? And finally, only is there a purpose? Is the company working towards something? Have they got a mission and a reason for getting out of bed in the morning? Now? I think what you mentioned before Leanne, was that there is a slight bias though here. Yeah.

Leanne Elliott  19:31  
So I mean, it’s all well and good is sitting here saying these are the four things you need to do to attract the attention of investors without having a conversation and recognising the bias that currently exists both with both within the world of work and the world of investment. We heard from from Sarah just earlier, and she raised a really important issue. You know, the bias or perhaps unconscious bias that is prevailing in the world of investor funding is real, she said When she got involved, only 2.2% of VC funded businesses were led by women. So let’s hear more from Sarah on this very important issue.

Sarah Chen Spellings  20:09  
We believe women need to be recognised and given opportunities and earning those opportunities equally, politically, socially and economically. Right. And that goes in, there was a broad statements into many different areas, including positions of leadership and finance and venture capital, which is where I worked in, but also being heard right and being recognised for their talents. The quote that I like to use is when you think about talent, talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And there are real structural barriers that exist legacy systems, stereotypes, things like that, that hold women back today. And so for me, feminism and 2023, you know, sometimes people think that we’ve moved so far ahead. And, you know, this women’s issue is no longer an issue. But, you know, look at the data, I think the data speaks for itself, the fact that Syedna Marine, and Jacinda Ardern, were being asked as two leaders of their country why they were meeting because they were similar in age and things like that. And, you know, I think that comes to just show sure we’ve made some progress, but not nearly enough. And the work continues. I think, ultimately, you want to get to a stage where we recognise women for who they are not because they’re just women, right. And I think the goal of a lot of the work that I do is really, frankly, to put myself out of a job in which you know, it’s mainstream, that we’re investing in women that we’re hiring women, but this is not yet the case. And that’s why my job still exists. And I’ve been doing this for a while now. So hopefully that changes in generations to come in. And my daughter doesn’t have to think about things like this. But some of the skill sets I will say, when I look at the many women that have come to the forefront is of course, because of some of the structural issues that have existed, you know, you look at women founded startups, they tend to fare very well, because they’ve been the good news. Bad news is they’ve been underfunded for so long. And they’ve had to be resourceful. Right? So with the capital that they’ve been able to, you know, get from VCs and external capital, because it’s limited, they’ve been able to figure out their runways. And you know, this is something especially as we’re heading into another tough year, unfortunately, right? The consensus is the recession is already here. Things are improving. But still, we’re seeing layoffs all round. So good news, bad news. But the fact of the matter is, you know, we do a report beyond the bill in my firm, we report on the state of women in VC with PitchBook every year and one of the key findings is that the valuation drop for women founded companies have not been as high or as severe as drastic compared to male founded startups. And the reason for that is pretty simple. You know, when I think about it, I think about the realistic projections that they’re making the fact that they are very careful and cautious with their cash burn, right? So cash burn rates are also a lot lower for women founded companies. And what that means is in a tough time, in a crunch time, you know, they’re going to continue to outperform, and pivot when necessary, and do what’s necessary because that’s the way they’ve been built. Women have been built to be resilient. And we continue to show how well we continue to do

Leanne Elliott  23:33  
one of my biggest frustrations, I think, when when we talk about the the progress made, either in terms of women rights, in terms of rights in the queer community trans rights, is that there can be a sentiment of Oh, but look how far you’ve come. You know, 50 years ago, you wouldn’t have even been able to be alive or do what you do, or, and I call bullshit. Because yeah, of course, it is awesome how far we’ve come. But Sarah says, if we look at the data, if we look at what’s actually happening out there in the world, there is so much further we need to go. And also without as consistent awareness and an advocacy for it. We see things being rolled back how many laws in the US have we seen more back over the last 12 months have had devastating impacts, both for women and trans people? It’s it’s not enough to go Oh, but look how far we’ve come. And of course, the you know, the challenges that women face in the world of work aren’t just limited to the entrepreneurial space or the investor space. I was actually reading a McKinsey Report fairly recently that was saying that women leaders are leaving companies at the highest rate we’ve ever seen. So it basically said that every woman who is promoted into director level, there is another woman at director level that is choosing to leave the company. So we’re never really kind of getting more women in a leadership position because at this point, more women than ever are leaving senior positions. So I asked her for hurt Take on this, Why are women starting to make that choice to leave corporate roles? We’ve seen

Sarah Chen Spellings  25:05  
women exit the workforce and especially during the pandemic, right. And part of that was very clearly the fact that, as I quote, you know, one of my counterparts reports, I mean, in China back in the day when they looked at the reason why women were not progressing at the rate that they should be in China. One of the key statements that really stuck with me is the battle for women is not just in the workplace, but in the household in the home. And the reality is that globally, everywhere, that the lion’s share of domestic responsibilities, you know, whether that’s taking care of an elderly family member taking care of the chores, taking care of the children, the the lion’s share of that responsibility still does fall upon the woman, you know, whether that’s stereotyping culture, the way women have been socialised to believe that this is their thing to do, you know, so women, some people say women should also be to be, should be blamed because we want certain things a certain way and end up doing ourselves. But of course, you know, that all comes from socialisation, right. And, and, you know, during the pandemic, I think you and I know how hard that has been for women to juggle all of it. Right. So I hate to actually frankly, bringing this work life balance, but women have had to shoulder twice the responsibility than men at home. And this has definitely impacted the way they thought about things and look in America, and I’ll bring the American context, you know, the cost of childcare is really sky high. Talent is short, in our during the pandemic, it’s been hard to find support, and the workforce is changing, and that we’re becoming more hybrid, you know, some jobs are no longer in existence, some jobs are, you know, you’re going to continue to work from home. And women have had to all couples have had to think hard about the choices that they’re making moving forward. And unfortunately, still to today, in our talking about how relevant feminism is in 2023, it still is because we’re talking about this right? We’re still thinking about the fact that, you know, in a career, where it’s a dual household income, the woman is highly likely to take a step back, because it’s more reasonable for her to do so. And, you know, I think you spoke about this a lot as well, the burnout, the mental load that this all causes on a woman that she has to shoulder has definitely had effects. And we continue to see that that’s part of the reason we’re seeing women leave the workforce that at such a rate, but you know, I’m hopeful that things will change, and that we continue to see role models who are able to do it. And that we build, we address the systemic deficiencies and structural issues that exist, right from childcare, to expectations, and beyond

Leanne Elliott  27:48  
some really important issues and challenges raised by Sara, which I’m sure we will dive even deeper into in future episodes. But returning to the world of investment, I want to recap on some of the data that Sara has shared, women founded businesses are consistently showing higher performance, they have quicker exits, more stable valuations. And this isn’t, you know, in comparison to their male counterparts. So it did leave me wondering if the VC world is all about return. It’s all about the numbers. It’s all about the data. It’s all about the money. Where’s the disconnect? Why is there still a gender gap and a huge gender gap in terms of women founded businesses securing funding? I asked Sarah,

Sarah Chen Spellings  28:31  
I asked myself that question all the time. But part of that is really as I alluded to, it’s a real structural issue, right. So that’s not a lack of talent, I will say, some people will come back at me and say, you know, find me a woman in AI doing this very specific thing. And it will take me a couple of weeks, but I’ll be able to find her. And that just comes to show that it is the power of your networks. You know, we see, many people from the outside who are outside of the industry may not know this fact, but it really started as a cottage industry, right? People had extra money, and they weren’t thinking about what to do. And of course, when you’re investing your own money, there is a sense of familiarity that you’re looking for, right? So we call it patterns of success. And if you think about all the barriers that women have had in the past women and people of colour, I’ll add, you know, women and people of colour have not had the same opportunities and privileges to be able to match this pattern of success, right? So when you think of, okay, who’s the next big tech CEO, what image comes to mind, right? That’s a simple, it’s probably a guy that looks like Zuckerberg with a hoodie. And he looks very different to you and I right so that that stereotyping is deeply ingrained in both men and women, by the way, because we’ve been socialised. So we need to change that number one, number two, so that you know what I’m talking about. There’s unconscious bias, conscious bias, whatever you call it, and there’s studies that show, you know they didn’t. And they not can’t, they actually wrote a really good piece and did a TED talk on this. But basically, there was a study that was done, where they examined women and men that were pitching startups. And then we’re being asked growth questions, right. So promotion questions is what we call it. How big will this grow? What’s the total market share? You know, what’s the valuation growth here? And women were being asked preventative questions, ie, what’s the risk here? You know, what could go wrong? And we know that money follows vision. You know, when you think about, I’m sure some of your listeners and audience would have watched we crashed right with Adam Newman. I mean, he crashed pretty hard. But he sold a very big vision. And guess what, he’s back at it again. And I would question, you know, to to answer your question that the audience if you know, this could happen for a woman could she fail so dramatically, and drastically and rise from the ashes like offending? Stereotypes

Leanne Elliott  31:02  
are so ingrained? There was such a brilliant campaign last year for International Women’s Day? Did you see it out? The big posters? No. So it was it was a it was a company called si P be an ad agency. And in the UK, they did this study with 1000 parents and 1000 kids aged between five and 11. And what was really, I don’t know what the right word is, but it basically showed that bias is embedded at a young age. So 45% of kids polled, that’s five to 11 45%. Children believe that nurses are always women, the 60% of kids think being a plumber, or an or an electrician is a man’s job. And half of boys and girls survey said that men may be better engineers. And these are kids. And of course that’s coming from, you know, socialisation is Sarah said it is a really, really big thing. But they have these massive posts. Now I’ll share some or Instagram. But it said imagine a CEO, big letters, and then in small writing and either said, Is it a man? Imagine a feminist? Is it a woman? Imagine someone crying in the office? Is it a woman. And it’s and it’s like Sarah said it is men and women have these gender stereotypes in. And I think changing that it’s going to be a real, really, really difficult job. But I think could be the kind of the catalyst, we need to really kind of break through it in terms of terms of f equality, how we do that. I don’t know if that’s a job for social psychologists that may wish to get one of them on the show.

Al Elliott  32:32  
But this is a cause is very close to Simon’s heart. Simon’s mission, which declared on his website is to ensure that entrepreneur loses and that’s a difficult word to say, are they I heard someone say that if you can spell the word entrepreneur, you’re not one. So entrepreneurialism is made a compulsory part of the global education curriculum, we asked them a little bit more about this.

Simon  32:53  
But you know, education is still very much the same, you know, it’s still done. It’s not on a blackboard or whiteboard, but it’s still you know, it’s Max, it’s English, it’s a modern language, perhaps not as useful as it should be. It’s sort of in a better sport, the soft skills of art and creativity are still to this day frowned upon, rather than celebrated, you know, your dramas, your dance, your, your woodwork, your art, you know, they’re not serious, in inverted commas, degrees. And I can tell you, categorically, that is how, you know, big business still views it. But it’s the polar opposite of those creative skills that actually set you apart. We all have to do English and maths and get them and I did get those to go any further, but at the same time, you know, those soft skills of learning an instrument, learning a language, being able to use your hands more are actually the points of difference that should be celebrated and not enough. And it’s the same thoughts but for business, I think if everyone’s taught how to present I mean, how wonderful would that be, if you’re taught at school, you know, how to present in front of people, how to put together a basic business plan, it’s, you know, or have a home budget, a budget, a business budget, which you could then use in your personal life as well. How to create or design what are the important things of a business? That’s in terms of, you know, marketing, operations, finance, p&l, sales, how to sell something, you know, everyone in the class has a pencil, how would you sell that to me?

Leanne Elliott  34:38  
I think there is still a bit of snobbery around kind of arts versus science based topics. And I think what Simon’s saying there is that you know, it is this diversity of of skill was it actually gives you all the skills that you need in that VUCA world that we talked about last week that is volatile and unpredictable. We need people who are going to think differently who are going to think creatively, or we need people that together are going to bring different points of view to solve a problem. So I think is both Sarah and Simon have said, it’s really important that we have those role models at a younger age, where if we are disadvantaged in terms of systemic challenges within the system, whatever that be education or business, or corporate, that we have these role models that show is it is possible champion for us, advocate for us.

Al Elliott  35:28  
I love the idea of entrepreneurism in schools. I think that I was I trained as a math teacher, I left it before I got the job before I before I even graduated, I think just because it was, it was it felt like prison to me that you have to do these things sit there, shut up, learn this. And I was like, Why the hell can’t they be asking questions. And this is what I liked about what Simon was saying is that he’s basically saying that rather than teaching people how to do algebra, which is actually useful in certain situations, but I haven’t been to teach people how to do that, or trigonometry. Not sure I’ve ever needed trigonometry since I’ve left university. But the constraint of problem solving, and the idea of being able to sell is probably some of the most important and most important skill you can get. Simon’s got a great variation on the Sell me this pen idea from The Wolf of Wall Street.

Simon  36:17  
I remember his name, his name was Charles, Charlie Blewitt. And in this classroom, and he basically gave them all the pencils and right now come and sell this to me, this is a Regents college. That is where young people go when they were young, and they’re sort of the undergrads. So Charlie grant, put his hand up, Charlie Blue, put his hand up. And he said, I said, I could supply sell it to you. So I said, Yeah, come on. So he looked at me, came up to the desk, looked at me on the platform, and it took the pencil, broke it in half. And he said, you need another pencil. Does that in life? So you get that until you said to young people who would do that is just genius. So I said, Charlie, right. As soon as you finish here, you’re coming to work with me.

Al Elliott  36:59  
Such a great story. And, you know, I think so many people overcomplicate the idea of sales anyway, this is not about this is not about selling. So I think they swapped this story does for me, is it it kind of says you your job isn’t to sell something to me is to provide something that you desperately need. VCs desperately need businesses to invest in, otherwise they don’t have a business. And if we talked before, then once you if you we can help people to stop being quite so biassed, and again, no criticism necessarily of a particular type of people. But we’ve said there is bias, we’ve shown that gender education, then really selling is all about providing something that people really, really want. So let’s finish up with three tips for business owners looking to grow, get funded, or get acquired. So quickly, these tips are number one, invest in your leadership development. Number two, get your house in order. And number three, build a great culture. The Georgia Tech number one

Leanne Elliott  37:55  
I would love to and this is a section where we’re going to be hearing a lot more from our third guest, Melissa Carson. As we mentioned in our last week, Melissa has worked with Accenture for a number of years before establishing her own consultancy business. So in terms of, of kind of putting all of this into practice and into into kind of tactical things you can do within your business, she is a person we will be talking to. So for us, number one invest in your leadership development. As we’ve heard, our effectiveness as both business and people leaders is a key priority for investors. That’s what they’re looking for when they’re considering buying or investing in a business. And of course, none of us are perfect. We all need to be self aware of our flows, our strengths, and opportunities for development. Here’s Melissa to explain more.

Melissa  38:42  
That the end of the day, we are all imperfect leaders. And I think about all of us, as individuals as leaders, because we at least have to lead ourselves. We might also have responsibility for leading families or community activities or work teams. But at the end of the day, we all still have to lead ourselves and we aren’t perfect, and we will never be perfect. We can aspire to that. But it one of the things that I’ve seen a lot in the workplace, predominantly women but not unique to women is this bar of expectations of here’s what I should be, and not feeling that it’s good enough. And so one of the things that I wanted to do is focus on how do we make the bar a little bit more reasonable and recognise that we don’t have to be perfect and it’s okay. But the flipside is, you can’t just accept Hey, this is where I am, like it and you know, move on. It’s really around, recognising uniquely for you. Where are those areas of perfection? I call them gremlins. But where are those in? What do you want to do about that? How do they show up for you and what’s your responsibility to try and address them? My belief is that what we have to do is harness that that messiness part of it so figure out how do what is can be an imperfection for me. So for me, one of the things particularly under stress, I want to be a controller. Like I, I show up and I might be impatient, I might be short, etc. So at the end of the day, that is an imperfection and how it shows up as a leader. However, if I handle it, right, it is a positive, the fact that I can get things done, I’m known for that ability to control the dynamics, I just have to do it in a way that is supportive of the people around me or not problematic. And so we have to be intentional about what are we doing? So I talked about going from imperfect to intentional leadership. So, you know, we all I was just reading something recently, and somebody had talked about, well, I find myself in this habit of doing that, but then I catch myself. So it’s that catching yourself to say, Okay, now how do I, how do I redirect? How do I re navigate where I’m going

Leanne Elliott  41:04  
to rephrase one of the greatest philosophers of current times RuPaul. Charles, if you can’t lead yourself how the hell you gonna lead anyone else? I want to get an amen.

Al Elliott  41:19  
Yeah, do I just say amen? Yeah, I don’t watch I don’t watch drag show. Track show. I was I was gonna

Leanne Elliott  41:24  
drag race. I’m sorry. It’s green pool. Honestly, she she’s just brilliant. But, but yeah, I think that’s exactly it. And I think your analogy kind of springs to mind is like, if you are going back to selling, you’re selling a car. And imagine that your car is your business. And your VC investor is your, your person who’s interested in buying your car, and the outside is all shiny, you’ve done, you’ve gone through all your financials, you’ve got it all, kind of your p&l sorted, all that’s looking sexy, it’s all shiny and sparkly. And it’s got like a look, you know, the things on the outfit. And then they open the car and the steering wheel is missing is like, well, that’s you, you’re the leader, if you’ve not invest in your own development up to the point where you’re ready to present your entire business. You’re basically you’ve got a car without a steering wheel.

Al Elliott  42:08  
Yeah, it really good. Well, I’m not gonna say really good analogy.

Al Elliott  42:18  
No, no, no, I’ll work on it. But here’s the thing, a great leader doesn’t pretend they know everything is Melissa, again,

Melissa  42:28  
there’s still some people that are looking to go back in time to say, well, this is what has always worked. And it always worked. So it should still work. So I think we’re seeing some of that still be prevalent. And I think that’s a discomfort with change, and not an openness. And I think the other thing is, there’s still some concern around the vulnerability of saying I don’t have all the answers. I think it got a lot better. And we saw, you know, different leaders during the early parts of this pandemic handle things very differently. Some shoppers don’t have any answers. So they don’t say anything. And then people make up answers, and we saw some that were give the right balance of I don’t have all the answers, here’s what I’m doing to find out, here’s what we’re going to do and, you know, share that. So I think there’s sometimes there’s still a little bit of ego or concern of if I don’t know, at all. Will How will I be perceived? And I think that is scary. But I think if you do it in the right way and say, Hey, I have a great team around me. We’re gonna go figure out the answers and the solutions to these questions. But I don’t personally have to know all the answers. That’s why I hire you know, great people.

Al Elliott  43:45  
100% Melissa, those people who pretend to know everything, you generally know, they’re just frightened, they’re gonna be found out. So what’s number two, Leanne? First one is investing in leadership. Second tip is,

Leanne Elliott  43:55  
number two, get your house in order. In almost every business, as we’ve heard investors acquire is by people. And that’s why there is an earn out if you are, you know, the leader of that incoming acquired business, the investors want to ensure that you’re, you’re gonna stick around, unless you explains how Accenture approach this. Businesses who want funding or to be acquired, quite simply need to get their house in order.

Melissa  44:25  
It’s difficult work, particularly for the company being acquired. Because it’s a huge shift. For me. I remember doing the first one and, you know, really didn’t know what I was doing, because obviously, it’s the first but I found it fascinating to talk to the leaders that were selling their businesses understand what their concerns were, and figure out how it was gonna best fit within sort of the Accenture worlds because obviously, there’s an integration. There’s some things that you want to preserve and there’s some things that you need to rationalise. So your processes your your, your, your payroll cycles, or you know, some of the those types of things. But there were some really interesting ones that I got to work on and figure out how do each have this fit? And how do we not lose? What’s really what we’re buying, you know, we’re buying the people, maybe we’re buying, you know, a product or an offering that they have, but at the end of the day, we’re generally buying, you know, the people capabilities that that organisation has, and how do you make sure you’re gonna retain them, you know, for, you know, at least a transition. And so that’s, that’s fascinating, I think have your house in order, like, so that you can easily say, here’s how I run my, my people side of my business, and particularly if that’s the thing that you think will be attractive to the seller. But I think the biggest piece of advice that I have for a seller is to really do the work for themselves of what it’s going to mean, assuming they go along with the integration, that they go along with the acquisition into the grid integration, not to be the owner anymore, not to be the person in charge, because that is a big transition. I’ve seen people do it very successfully, but it’s awkward and uncomfortable space to be in. So I think doing the work for yourself to understand that you really are ready to have somebody else take those reins, and being really clear on the culture match, that if if certain things are really important to you and your team about how you communicate, for instance, you know, be clear, how does that acquiring organisation communicate? You know, how do they make decisions? Will you be involved in those decisions, because those are super critical. So I think it’s important to have clarity on how your processes as much as you can and know how you’re running your business. But I think also, it’s a piece around making sure you’re selling it to the right kind of company,

Al Elliott  46:57  
such great advice. And it’s really interesting to say that culture is a big thing. I think that people who start businesses, particularly from nothing, they don’t really think about culture until it’s a bit too late. So that’s really interesting. So while we’re talking about culture, number three is only Stanley invest in your culture, the culture is really interesting, because culture is sort of belonging to a tribe, as Seth Godin always says, people like me do things like this. And that’s what creates this tribe, sort of tribal idea. So culture isn’t some magic mission statement, or some ridiculous team building exercise where you have to build a raft or fall off fall into someone else’s arms is about building a tribe where people feel they belong.

Leanne Elliott  47:37  
The cool thing about culture as well is that it can be measured, I understand it might feel a bit intangible, it might feel something that there’s just the way that we do things around here. But culture can be measured the foundations of culture, that are driving performance within your business, and that individual performance and organisational performance can be measured. And if you’ve got those data points when your investors come in and say, Tell us about your culture, what your retention rates, like, you know what’s important to you, when when we manage this integration and bring you into the business. You’ve got the data points there. So when they’re running their due diligence is all ready. Ready. Culture can be tangible culture can be measured, do I need to sit again now? Nope, can’t be measured. Culture can be measured cut. I’m gonna get assigned next week.

Al Elliott  48:29  
Well, the good news is Melissa agrees.

Melissa  48:31  
Yeah. So I, through listening to a variety of Brene Brown and some of the speakers that she has, you know, this, you know, when you talk about Dei, the beyond the end is the important part, the belonging, because at the end of the day, when we feel like we belong somewhere, like you get the smile on your face, you feel like there are people that are like you, there are people that care about you that you want to show up. And so it’s one more factor in sort of the engagement and retention. Calculation of if people feel like they belong somewhere, they’re less likely to leave because they see that what they do is value they see that their voice matters. They feel that in how things are communicated, and how decisions are made. And so I’ve sort of adopted what I’ve been reading and listening to, I think it’s, it starts with the one on one relationships of just how do I how does my team work together? How does my boss treat me? Do I feel like I can speak up in a meeting? Do that does that supervisor you know, ask? Hey, you know, Susie, I haven’t heard from you yet. Or Pedro, I haven’t heard from you yet. Hey, I’d love your opinion. You know, I know you might have a different perspective. Somebody’s pulled in it feels inclusive. And once they say something that is maybe different perspective that that’s like, oh, I mean that there’s an acknowledgement that it’s different. But okay. And so just little things like that, that don’t cost money and don’t take a lot of time, make a huge difference.

Al Elliott  50:12  
Sometimes you build so much belonging and purpose into a company that you realise you actually don’t want to sell it, you can’t bring yourself to sell it. Simon’s got a business like that right now.

Simon  50:24  
My partner Mark pegu and myself started Mad World Summit mad being an acronym for make a difference, I’ll come on to that, which is basically a show that is dedicated and focused is now in its seventh year to workplace well being through the lens of mental health, okay. And it came as a result of a very tragic episode in our lives where we were touched by suicide, Caroline, marks daughter attempted to take her life with her then boyfriend. Seven years on, Caroline, doing well, and thankfully didn’t manage to succeed, but very tragically, and conversely, Mark Mark her boyfriend did and the ramifications of that obviously, for margins family knew very well. And of course, Caroline, were were huge. And, and this was sort of set up in a workplace. And it was it was almost it was on the intranet type thing. So if people had been looking at people who’ve been more aware, I think Mark would still be here today. So what we decided to do in his memory, we just actually sold a very big business declared that sold the internet retailing expert conference, to Clarion. And so it was a very particularly euphoric moment. For us. It was a very big sale, but our biggest yet, we were gonna go off and fish for a year or so you know. But anyway, we decided that as a result of this, that, you know, that could go anywhere. And we wanted to use off 3030 odd years 60 odd years collectively, of business contacts to try and make a difference in every workplace in any workplace for each and every employee on the planet, whether you have a big company or small company or on a sports field, on a building site, whatever we wanted to try and prevent that ever happening again, by by creating an event where we would invite people to come and learn about mental health and mental health awareness in the workplace. That’s a huge, huge, huge passion, both Mark and I. He said, We don’t I mean, normally, we’re very commercial about what we do. But this is a show that we couldn’t possibly sell. It’s something that I love. Unless someone came to me and said to me, right, I can do it better. Or I feel that, you know, I’m losing my passion for the moment that I don’t think we’ll ever win than then which stays with us, because we drive it forward with with pure passion,

Leanne Elliott  53:13  
make a difference. Media really is an incredible organisation, one of the best newsletters I’ve signed up to as a people and culture practitioner. And in terms of as Simon mentioned, there, the events, both in person, they have lots of webinars, we will share all the all the links in the show notes. But you know, even if your business doesn’t have the kind of personal mission that that Simon’s has a culture of well being and avoiding toxic leadership is essential to growth,

Al Elliott  53:41  
all you really need to worry about because if your people have to have the right reason to wake up and go to work every day, you don’t have all the resources they require, they got the resilience to be able to deal with the change and deal with the growth that you wanted, that you want to push. If you got all these things in place. If you’ve got great relationship with the leaders, you really only need those two things, to build something pretty incredible. And if you build something pretty incredible, then people will come and they’ll want to be part of it, whether they want to invest in it, acquire it, et cetera, et cetera. So trying to reverse engineer and be greedy and go I want to sell this for 2 million 20 million pounds, 2 billion barrels, whatever it is going to be. It’s just you’re gonna fall on your ass, because you need people to build that business. And, again, we’ve talked about IT leadership and culture, most important things.

Leanne Elliott  54:30  
Let’s hear a bit more from Simon on the importance of a wellbeing culture.

Simon  54:34  
There’s so many solutions out there and there’s what many people are calling Well, Washington stuff. Now it’s about you know, using evidence back solutions, tracking them making sure they work if your company and you’ve got five grand to spend on workplace well being with your staff, your small company or 10, grand handling, whatever it might be, I want it to work for you. So we will you know, we will only promote things that are evidence that that actually truly work there is no silver bullet We all know that. And it’s all very personal. And it’s not easy. But for goodness sake, let’s get rid of the things that don’t work. And stop focusing on the things that do work. And I think that’s really important. And the other thing you mentioned, which is the attention to prevention, which comes on to nutrition to sleep to mindfulness and physical exercise, the four elements of that can give you better mental health, and teaching and learning more about that, I just think it’s super important. So the most important thing before you do anything is to assess where you are, let’s put another directory so you can have all the AAPs and the wellbeing opportunities in the whole world in your organs is up to you. But at the end of the day, if I’ve got a toxic manager, or a toxic workplace, it doesn’t make any difference. So you’ve got to do assessments, you know, what, where are the red flags? Where’s, and then you build up the engagement? You know, what are you offering, how many people are using it? I mean, one of the most horrific facts and my EAP clients and sponsors will shout and scream at me. But the model is based on this, by the way, is you know, they don’t get even up to 4% engagement. I’m

Leanne Elliott  56:11  
sure regular listeners will not be surprised that Simon is my hero. Just to recap some of the things he said that start by understanding where you are right now, if you don’t understand where you are. Now, you can’t plot a path to where you want to go to measure it. You can measure it, Have I mentioned this owl, one can measure it. And also, you know, in terms of well being it isn’t about all these fancy EAP programmes, Employee Assistance programmes. So we’ve talked about perks before. And that can be classed as I can the AP some that usually is some kind of platform that will pull together lots of different physical, psychological, financial well being interventions, yeah, resources. But yeah, it’s not a case of having having more APs and more interventions, if nobody’s accessing them. Start with doing better, not more.

Al Elliott  57:06  
So let’s wrap things up. We asked Simon if he had any more advice or resources that might help. And he talks about his events which are amazing.

Simon  57:13  
For us, we do these annual events. One is a macro summit happens in and around World Mental Health Day, this year, so the 12th of October. So I look at 911 or 12/10 of October, it’s always international mental health fair. That happens in the City of London, it’s, it’s a very highbrow event. It’s for me, it’s like, you know, having the whole of the Premier League in this in this industry come together. And it’s like one big family. And we, we listen, and we learn and we share and we teach and we we have lots of storytelling, we have lots and lots of research, evidence backed what has worked, what hasn’t worked. But equally important, if not more important. We look at the new solutions that are out there, the new vendor providers, we try and bring in the policy makers and changes. And it’s but that’s all through mental health in the workplace, okay. And then the water cooler, which is on April 25, and 26th. At XL, so it’s a mad world has about 1000 people. The other one we do with the water coolers about 5000 people, that’s not a paid for event. We want everyone to come to that event. Whether you’re in finance, you’re an HR, you’re one of the newfangled names of well being or happiness, or people offices and things like that. And everyone in between. I mean, anyone is interested in workplace wellbeing, and actually mental, physical, financial, social, and environmental, come and have a look around, we also run another events. Strangely enough, nothing to do with it. But it’s interesting that we do, it happens exactly the same time in the four holes to the left of it. It’s another one of our events that we own, which is called S M E Expo and it is what it is on the tin. We have another 5000 SMEs coming. Clearly, they have a huge amount of challenges at the moment which we try and help and advise them. We co located with them last year. But for me what I wanted despite those challenges and helping them through them, and there’s some phenomenal speakers of your own that you’ll have to have a look at them but all the dragons and television Deborah and various others of the CEO Pimlico plumbers and everyone else who have looked, it’s great. But also wanted to keep it on their top table. For goodness sake. Don’t let your people the well being of your people come down to even second position. You know, you’ve got to look after them despite the other challenges that you’re going through. And so I’m very proud of that event as well. So yeah, those two events and then we have this media company, which Claire runs is dead. internship, which we just get is if you subscribe to it, you’ll you’ll you’ll get to know, every day and what not every day, but every week, literally a blow by blow account of insights, trends, case studies, research from from our community, and hoping you helping to help you either start, what’s your first 100 days look like? Or, you know, if you’ve already implemented it, making it better, you know better in engagements, all that sort of stuff, and hopefully moving forward and bettering the lives of your, of your staff,

Leanne Elliott  1:00:33  
and your managers make a difference. Media really is an incredible resource, we will leave the link in the show notes. And also another great thing about Simon, he just underlines what Melissa was saying earlier about not having to have all the answers he’s open to it is,

Simon  1:00:50  
I think it’s important. If any of you’re one of the things I you know, we are a community of people who, who have either had lived experience or a both good and bad, by the way. And so if any of your listeners have an idea, some of our best content has come from people who we didn’t even know phone number said, Listen, this is what worked. And they could be for the ambassadors, they could be from some mentors, they could be for mental health champions. You know. In other words, if anyone has an idea of what we should we should put into the content that could be at any one of our offence, or the media could be an interview that you think that our community would benefit from. And it can be as controversial as you want. You know? And, you know, in other words, goodness, they think don’t use this solution. It they absolutely rubbish, because there are there are solutions out there, which I’m afraid are well washing, and we want to name and shame, because I’m sure people don’t mean it that way. But we also need to have track results. So all I’d ask is that if anyone has any ideas to let you know, or meno or Claire Farrow and we we listen to every suggestion, and give it the right due diligence.

Leanne Elliott  1:02:13  
If you have an idea for Simon get in touch, you can contact us at Truth lives and work and there is a contact form and chat box on there. Or you can email us podcast at oblong

Al Elliott  1:02:25  
and but ultimately go and check out Sarah’s podcast billion dollar moves. She’s got some amazing guests on there a really interesting one, I don’t know whether we’re allowed to talk about it, she did mention it in the private slack. But there’s one on there which which, if it’s published now will be an amazing interview. This is what Sarah says,

Sarah Chen Spellings  1:02:42  
million dollar moves is the show for the next generation global leader. I would say it is the most raw and unfiltered form of deconstructing the billion dollar moves up its top US and Asia leader right in the venture ecosystem. So I have had I mean, today, we just released an episode where someone from meta, and he did tear up on my podcast. And he’s never done this before talking about his own purpose, and bringing his work and his advocacy together in putting the spotlight on Asian Americans and why that matters today. I’ve had, as I mentioned, you know, a founder who has something like 2 million followers, and she was in the spotlight, and what it’s like to feel very publicly and wise again, right. And I think these are all important billion dollar moves that we don’t talk about, and I try to bring that on my podcast,

Al Elliott  1:03:40  
and our final guest Melissa, you need to go and check out her brand new website or very fancy at canopy And she’s got this new I don’t know if it’s new or not, but I’ve only just seen it pop up on the website, something called the fire circle is a small group programme for women leaders who want to maximise their impact by accepting embracing and celebrating what makes them unique. Looks very cool. Clearly not for me. But maybe for me though, that sounds cool. Yeah. And there’s an acronym as well. Phi is an acronym. Oh God, no, no, no, let’s, let’s let’s build

Leanne Elliott  1:04:09  
if you need if you want to now you need to have some

Al Elliott  1:04:12 the links in the show notes can

Leanne Elliott  1:04:15  
be And finally, I may have harped on in this episode about how you can measure culture. If you’d like to know more about that get in touch with us. You can get to me directly if you want. Find me on LinkedIn, Lian Eliot, or you can drop us an email Leanne oblong

Al Elliott  1:04:30  
So Leah, we’re talking about coaching versus mentoring next week.

Leanne Elliott  1:04:34  
We are we have talked a lot about investing in your own leadership development. And we really believe that coaching and mentoring is an excellent way to do that. So that’s what we’re talking about next week. Again, more practical advice for you on that. But until then, thank you so much for listening. Thank you to our incredible guests, Sarah, Simon and Melissa, you were awesome. We absolutely loved it. Some really great advice there.

Al Elliott  1:04:58  
Yep. Looking forward to to send you all on LinkedIn where we’ll post this and come talk to us and tell us what you think about it. Come on. If you’ve got an idea for Simon then maybe you can give it to us via LinkedIn. We’ll take the credit for him is a good one.

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