• Andy Goram

Episode 3: A Culture of One

This is a full transcript of Episode 3 of the Sticky From The Inside podcast with Andy Goram and Megan V Walker, where they discuss the impact of purpose, engagement and culture when you're a company of one person.


00:00:10 Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky from the inside. The Employee Engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier competition, smashing consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host. Andy Gordon.

00:00:29 Andy Goram

Research says that 65% of your employees give you their time, but not their best effort or ideas. The sad thing is that that number hasn't changed in decades, so what's going wrong? Well, I'm on a mission to help businesses and their employees get. Much more out of their working relationship and create tons more mutual success.

00:00:51 Andy Goram

This podcast is here for all those who believe and want that too, and for those who'd like a little help and guidance in achieving, then each episode will cover the topics that can help you create what I call a stickier business. The sort of business where people love to work where they not only say good things about you. But stay longer, work harder, and absolutely thrive in the environment you create.

00:01:18 Andy Goram

And where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you do and why you do it. So if you fancy listening to a podcast that tries to take the tricky out of being sticky and that might just help you light the fires within your people and propel your business to untold success. Then please download and subscribe to the sticky from the Inside podcast and join the stickiest conversation on the air today.

00:01:54 Andy Goram

So here we are on episode three of my sticky from the Inside podcast and today I am hugely excited and thankfully joined by a seasoned podcast host to ride shotgun with me and, if I'm honest, probably take over the steering at times, as we delve into another topic related to employee engagement and that stickier workplace culture thing.

My guest today is Megan V. Walker. Now Megan is an independent power platform consultant and Microsoft Business applications MVP, and the Co host of a hugely successful and award nominated UP podcast. Megan hello.

00:02:38 Megan V Walker

Hello Andy, wow, that was quite the intro.

00:02:41 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean I I'm not gonna say how many times I had to rehearse things like “Power Platform”

00:02:47 Megan V Walker

Yeah. I know, it's hard to say.

00:02:49 Andy Goram

It's hard to say at this time in the morning.

00:02:51 Megan V Walker

Yeah, that is true. That is true.

00:02:54 Andy Goram

Well look, thanks for being here and I've mentioned that you’re award-nominated, I mean.

00:03:00 Megan V Walker

Yeah. Yeah, it's quite. No, no, we went to. I mean genuinely “yes” it's award nominations. Yeah, did we start the ball rolling and nominate ourselves? But then we asked other people to do it and then we made it so we made the shortlist of the People's Choice section of an award.

00:03:20 Andy Goram

If we're honest, that's the award everybody wants right? Coming from the people.

00:03:24 Megan V Walker

Yeah, and we've only been doing you say, a veteran or seasoned cohost I?

00:03:29 Andy Goram

I didn’t call you a veteran. I literally said seasoned.

00:03:31 Megan V Walker

Oh OK, sorry maybe that.

00:03:34 Andy Goram

To be honest that sounds worse. Like something that sounds and smells like an old steak? I mean that's not what I meant.

00:03:37 Megan V Walker

It does, doesn’t it, but we've only been doing it since May, so yeah, it's not that long.

00:03:41 Andy Goram

Well, I'm very pleased you're here.

00:03:44 Megan V Walker

Thank you.

00:03:45 Andy Goram

I'm sure I’ll learn a lot. So, what have you been up to recently?

00:03:48 Megan V Walker

Yeah, so I mean the podcast is a big thing for me and the lady that I do, the podcast with her name is Lisa Crosby and she's in Australia. So we talk about and try to come up with things to say early in the morning. We are quite a big time difference away so it's 6:30 in the morning for me when we record that. So that's a lot of fun.

00:04:08 Andy Goram

So I mean can you get a bigger time difference?

00:04:12 Megan V Walker

I don't think so, and with the, with the time changes, we just moved further apart from each other so. It was like really 6:30? So yeah, it's a lot of fun, so doing that, we do that every week. Um, and as you said, I'm a power platform consultant which is basically different Microsoft products fall under this power platform area and things like Power BI which a lot of people listening would like be more likely to have heard of Power BI than anything else. That's something called Power Automate something called Power Apps, so it's basically every day is full of just building geeky stuff which I love. So yeah, things are. Things are good. Businesses is booming as they say, so…

00:04:57 Andy Goram

That's very encouraging. I mean, I'm nodding at all these IIT applications that you mentioned, but that there's nothing behind my nods.

00:05:07 Megan V Walker

I mean Excel?

00:05:07 Andy Goram

Oh! There we go, yeah.

00:05:08 Megan V Walker

OK, so power BI is like better than Excel.

00:05:12 Andy Goram

Anybody listening to this podcast is going., “Have I like tuned in to the right Podcast?”

00:05:17 Megan V Walker

I mean, I promise I won't say anything more about Microsoft geeky techie stuff.

00:05:21 Andy Goram

Well, on that topic it’s kind of like well, why are we talking? What's a power platform MVP, Microsoft type person, talking to a guy who goes on about workplace culture, and employee engagement and stuff? But I actually think we've got quite a few things in common with the sort of things that we do for work, and so why don't we just get stuck into today's topic, which yeah, might seem like a bit of a strange one, but let's go for it anyway, look.

00:05:49 Andy Goram

When I think of culture in the workplace, I think of the base level foundations of having a safe, fun, productive, learning work environment right? And it's supported by things like hiring by set of values and then everybody in there being really clear about where the business is going. They know what that strategic intent is and how they contribute to that and not insignificantly, a place where people feel safe and confident to kind of stick their hand up speak, make suggestions and get involved where they can. In fact, you know, involving them is openly encouraged.

00:06:31 Andy Goram

And also where there is genuine cross-functional collaboration and, you know, this particularly might be the link that we end up talking a bit about Megan. But, I mean as a base standard for culture, would you agree with that in terms of what you do and what you see?

00:06:48 Megan V Walker

With this, yeah absolutely, absolutely would.

00:06:50 Andy Goram

So, if we bear that incredibly long introduction in mind, my theme for today is, please strap yourself in and see if you're ready for this, is, “How big do you have to be to really think seriously about culture? And if we're talking smaller numbers here, do the same things that we just applied and talked about, have to have to be there for a very small organisation, incredibly, even perhaps an organisation of one which, we both are, right?

00:07:22 Megan V Walker

Yeah, absolutely. A company of one.

00:07:26 Andy Goram

A company of one. Good title.

00:07:28 Megan V Walker

Well, I didn't come up with that I stole that, there's a guy that was a book about it, which we can talk about later, but, so I think the things that you mentioned you talk about. The values, hiring by a set of values and you know everyone understanding the business intent and it being aligned with your own personal values.

The way I view it is when before going out on my own. If I was looking for a new job, I was basically applying for places, I was looking on either Glassdoor or I was looking on different places for reviews for that company. I was looking at their website to see how they worded things.

00:08:10 Megan V Walker

The company culture is very important to me. It's important that I work for an organisation that has values or ethics or goals, or, you know testimonies or whatever that align with how I feel about things personally? So, that's really important to me.

Now, when I looked at starting up and going out on my own, those things are still really important to me. But then I have to look within myself even further, so those hiring by values - I'm not hiring anyone and I will never hire anyone else. I wanted to work just me, on my own. I don't have plans to be bigger, just better.

00:08:49 Andy Goram

You’re not going to turn into a conglomerate?

00:08:51 Megan V Walker

I am not. It's just going to be me. But, so those hiring by values - the hiring part doesn't exist. But the values do. But to me, it's almost then more important because there was my own personal values that are important. The business intent, I have to be clear and 100% know where I'm headed. What I want to do. Do, and you talk about, like would I turn down a client? Absolutely. And I have. I have basically disengaged myself from people who, just based on their correspondence alone, where there's no, it's just short, curt, terse, the email correspondence almost like an expectation that “Well, you're a consultant. You need me. So, I could be any way I want”, but that doesn't align with my own personal values and morals of treating somebody a certain way, so I would absolutely disengage and say thanks but no thanks, good luck. Try someone else.

00:09:51 Andy Goram

See that's, I think that's quite huge, right? Because lots of people will say that, and, but it's harder to actually see it through. What do you feel like when you did that with your, when it happened first up?

00:10:03 Megan V Walker

I think when I first started, I was it. It was a bit more sort of “Oh! Am I doing the right thing?! But I have worked places that have been so misaligned with my own personal goals and my own personal values that it's made me feel sick because I've felt that I'm doing things that are, I’m not going to say morally wrong, because that makes it seem like I was being asked to commit crime.

00:10:26 Andy Goram

Where were you working?

00:10:28 Megan V Walker

Exactly.

00:10:30 Megan V Walker

But to where it was either lying to clients or, admitting the truth to clients about where things are going wrong on project and that kind of thing as opposed to transparency. Which is to me, the only way that you should work with clients.

00:10:43 Andy Goram

Yeah.

00:10:44 Megan V Walker

So I knew how I would feel if I went down the path of working with someone that made me feel I was, I was working against my morals. So, that's not to say that you, like with any organisation, no matter the size you could take on a client thinking everything's OK, and getting a good vibe, and then getting into a project or getting into the meat of the work and realizing, “Oh! they're not quite who I thought they were.” And that's, you know, that those are just then the lessons, aren't they? And they just kind of like I probably won't work with that person again.

00:11:14 Andy Goram

No. See the project through and then say “goodbye” politely.

00:11:18 Megan V Walker

Yeah, exactly, exactly. Because again, that goes back to your own standards, doesn't it? And your own morals as I've taken this on, you see it through and then you just kind of move on and put that one back to, to bad experience. So, I think the other. The other thing in terms of with any kind of culture is you want to be able to take on the employees’ feedback and listen and have the employees feel like they have a say in the success and the, the ongoing journey of the organization, to a certain degree, right?

You want to get that feedback, and it might sound silly, but I kind of have to stop and pause every so often and evaluate how I've done something previously, and then say, “Right. Well did that work well? No. How can I do it better? How can how can I improve?” So, I feel that those elements of a culture I'm still doing for myself and that could be just because of the sort of personality I have. You know, the way my mind works. I kind of feel like that's important to kind of evaluate myself along the way.

00:12:24 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean if you're talking to yourself and asking yourself questions, Megan that, yeah, that's a medical situation, right?.

00:12:30 Megan V Walker

It is. But if you look at it, you know you work for an employer. You have your ongoing reviews, right? You have either your annual review, you might have a six month one, you might have quarterly reviews, whatever. And those were the times for me that I that I enjoyed, because I'm very much a self-start and very much someone that takes something on and then just runs with it, or even finds a gap for something and says, oh, let me fill that, and here's how I've done it, without being asked something; very much that's the way I work.

So, getting that feedback was always important to me. Because that was the only time someone said, “Hey, you've done a great job with this”, or “maybe you could have done this differently” so there's many sort of “Let's just stop and pause and retrospectively look back” and I will do that again when I reach the end of this year. This is my first year out on my own. What did I do well? What didn't work? What should I do more of? What should I do less up? I think it's important for any size organisation to do that.

00:13:34 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean that bit of reflection, right, it’s hugely important to take stock. Yes, I do like the idea of asking yourself some questions, which I think we all do in silence maybe, but actually recognising that you're going through that process I think is interesting, I mean, we we've talked very briefly, about how it feels and what you're buying from the communications, or what have you from a client , or a company. But when you're selling. You know we’re walking into the personal brand element here, so how are you? How are you trying to project those values, early on in the relationship here, between you and them as a supplier?

00:14:17 Megan V Walker

Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, when you did my introduction.

00:14:23 Andy Goram

Flawlessly, by the way, flawlessly.

00:14:25 Megan V Walker

Flawlessly. And I hope you don't mind me saying, but Andy did actually say, “Do you want me to use the V?” And I said, “Yes.” And the importance for that is to me it is all about, it's part of my brand. My website is Megan V Walker. My Twitter is Megan V Walker. My YouTube is Megan V Walker. So it's important that to me this consistency with that to your personal brand, number one that is an important value to me, is that somebody knows that I'm consistent. They know that if I say I'm going to do something by a certain time, I absolutely will. I don't want someone to have a question mark over my over me when they think of me and, am I reliable? Am I somebody that will follow through with what I've said? So, consistency is absolutely key

00:15:20 Megan V Walker

Now with the way in which my journey worked in terms of being able to go out on my own. I think, not intentionally, but I had started a journey of producing content, probably about 2017, I think, when I first started really getting into some of these Microsoft products.

00:15:34 Megan V Walker

So there's one that's called Dynamics 365 or it was CRM at the time, some people might have heard of, and that's what I was using, and I was learning more about it. And each time I learned something I thought “If I didn't I know this, there will be a whole bunch of other people that that won't know it,” so I had a blog. I did a few videos here and there and that's what I started with.

00:15:56 Megan V Walker

And then I really got into it and then I produced one piece of content that, for me, I'm not a Kardashian obviously. So, you know so the comparison is ...

00:16:05 Andy Goram

It’s fine. There is no video attached here. No one will know.

00:16:09 Megan V Walker

I am the English cousin of the Kardashians.

00:16:11 Andy Goram

Is that what you are? I mean, I'm literally sitting here in a smoking jacket looking pretty dapper, but you’ll never see it.

00:16:17 Megan V Walker

This is true. He absolutely is. So, so in terms of when I say that, jokingly. But in terms of something going viral. I'm saying I'm not at that level, but I had this blog post, that before I did you know a few tweets likes liked, retweeted here and there, but it went like crazy to where I had like hundreds of tweets, hundreds of likes, hundreds of shares.

00:16:40 Andy Goram

Fantastic!

00:16:41 Megan V Walker

Because of this piece of content. It was amazing. So that then made me, like I was more like, I got more traction. More people started to see the content, which is fantastic. And it just builds and builds and builds. And this Microsoft MVP thing. That again you you mentioned in the introduction is an award that is given to people for basically community contributions. So, within the Dynamics and the Microsoft Community people that essentially either share content, do presentations, help out with things, Microsoft recognizes that, so I got that as well and then. I was learning more and more and I started to think, “Hey I could do this consulting thing on my own and not actually have to deal with the constraints of an employer that I didn't feel was really as supportive as I wanted them to be, and so I'd kind of built up that personal brand without realizing I was, if that makes sense? It's very much got to a point where I suddenly realized I have this personal brand and then I started to lean into it more and do things more with intent, if that makes sense, yeah?

00:17:51 Andy Goram

Absolutely. Well, then you are using yourself as a promotional vehicle at that point.

00:17:55 Megan V Walker

Exactly and you have to be really careful that those lines don't blur, because the difference with me and also yourself as well is, do you pick a company name or do you stick with your own name? And for me it was like I'd built up this brand on me so I thought it doesn't make sense for me to give myself a company name as well, because then I have to build up another brand when I've already got this one. But the difference is that it's everything that I now do, that I'm putting out there is then a reflection of me and my work and my company, if that makes sense? As opposed to an organisation having people behind the organisation name, building up that brand.

00:18:40 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean I, I am a juggler of brands and I'm not sure I've got any of them up in the air together at any one time. Yeah, there’s what I started with, which was me. And then you know, when I came out and did my own thing. There was the Bizjuicer thing, and then you know, the content stuff that pretty much started on LinkedIn around being sticky from the inside is, another place, and I'd like to think that Andy Goram the brand is the chief, but it isn't, really, I'm a vessel.

00:19:15 Megan V Walker

It's hard to know, though, isn't it?

00:19:18 Andy Goram

I, I guess any one time, whichever dial you dial up in that situation takes the lead. I think what I'm trying to do is be true across all three of them. It's core values reflect the personal brand, the same as I would expect of a company, right? Just like just like we're talking about here is trying to be consistent. I think the interesting thing you say about video content and what have you is, you know, I started out writing, you know, some some blogs and if you're a good writer, you can get your personality across, but there's nothing like having a piece of you, either on audio or on video, to sort of really get your personality across. And for me the videos that are still on LinkedIn are the 1st first part of I guess people who didn't know me seeing my personality, and that's why no one watched. I mean hopefully.

00:20:07 Megan V Walker

What a load of rubbish there.

00:20:09 Andy Goram

We’ll get into my deep neurocies at another time. But, the comments you get back are about, “Oh!

Well, you’re like this, and I think that's when your connections start and that's how to start to grow your business.

00:20:21 Megan V Walker

Yeah, your connection start and also I'm OK with the fact that that my content will turn some people off in terms of there will be some people would be like oh that's too simple or it's you know it's not technical enough for today so it's that. But then I know that actually, my market. My target audience is for people that didn't know how to do this and will be able to learn something. It's not for those that are already of, of a different level. That's fine. I'm not targeting towards you at all. So, if it turns some people off, that's OK. Because you went right and I wouldn't ever work with you anyway because we just our Values don't align, so it's OK. It's almost like a way, a deterrence, to signal, to sort of eliminate people, if that makes sense?.

00:21:07 Andy Goram

Yes, so let's try and track where we've got to so far. So, we started off with company culture and do those foundations match up to two independents like us? And so far, we've sort of, we've hit on the values piece, that that has to be right at the core. We've hit on the involvement piece which is great, and that whole thing about even asking yourself questions and getting involved from that perspective. The hiring stuff doesn't work for us as independents, but it does when we're trying to match up to clients.

00:21:43 Megan V Walker

Absolutely

00:21:45 Andy Goram

So, I think that's I think that's really interesting. So, so far, there's a pretty good match up between what we would expect from a company culture and what we'd expect from an independent person trying to portray a culture. But particularly our behaviours, right? So, you've got a set of values and then, much like companies, it's all very well having the values written on a mouse mat or daubed across a wall, unless they're actually kind of lived and breathed on a daily basis, they’re worth nothing really. So yeah, in that behavioral stuff is there, is there a link between like, having you know, a defined set of behaviours that say a company might put together? Is that something as an independent you're conscious of when you're going into places? Or, is it something that's more natural to you?

00:22:28 Megan V Walker

I'm well I think, and to me this this ties in with just don't don't go out and be a company of one and come up with values that are not your own values. Because otherwise, then I would have to go into an organisation and be really conscious of, “This is how I have to act.” Because, my values and the way I represent myself online is just me, now it's a professional version of me, meaning I would never go into an organization and swear. I would never go into an organisation and do silly dances or be whatever be like I am, you know, in my personal life. So, if there's a professional element when we talk about being yourself and being authentic. People shouldn't get that confused with being yourself as you are anytime in your life, we’re still talking about having that professionalism.

00:23:23 Megan V Walker

But when I go into a place I don't have to think about it because that's just who I am. I’m professional. I'm friendly. You need to have an element of warmth because, and you know this, you've got to go in somewhere where nobody knows who you are, really. Other than that they’ve maybe watched a video or whatever, but you have to get them on your side and get them to warm to you very, very quickly if they're going to trust when you are consulting and advising them on how to do things in their business that will make significant difference to processes or cut costs or whatever it might be, they have to trust you, like that. They have to quickly warm to you and believe what you are telling them and guiding them to do. Yeah, so I think about in terms of, “Hey! I've got to be myself,” but there's an end goal in mind and especially in those initial interactions aren't there? That, “you need to like me.” Bottom line, if they don't like me, it's not like they can call the company and say, “Can we get someone else? We just don't gel with that person.” Yeah, it's me or me.

00:24:27 Andy Goram

The contract is not going to last very long if that doesn't happen.

00:24:31 Megan V Walker

Exactly!

00:24:32 Andy Goram

But are you conscious of, the attitude, say that you take with you when you walk into another business?

00:24:39 Megan V Walker

And so, so that to me then is would be the same as if I was working for any organisation. There has to be that level of professionalism. There has to be. Who is it? Is it is it McDonald's or Disney that has something? When somebody's going out in front of the people where it says “Smile…?

00:24:56 Andy Goram

“You’re on show”

00:24:58 Megan V Walker

“You're on show, or you're on stage”, or something like that. That so to me that's the same thing and I worked in hospitality food for probably about 12, 13 years before I moved into technology world. And it was the same thing. “Kill them with kindness.” It's, I'm here to serve. So, there's an element of that in terms of you just have to switch on, and until you know them, you could build up relationships with your clients to where I could say I'm having a really crappy day. I don't feel so great today, you know, whatever it might be, but you know when you get to that point with a client, don't you?

00:25:34 Andy Goram

I think you do. I mean, I think the attitude thing is simple. I think it’s how you’re trained. So, whenever we talk about attitude and a conscious choosing a attitude, I end up going back to the Fish Philosophy thing that was brought in in one of my early companies

00:25:53 Megan V Walker

And me too.

00:25:54 Andy Goram

And I do love that. But it does make me giggle because, I think companies always get hung up on “How are we gonna throw fish around the office?” And if anybody is listening to this bit of the podcast again, going, “Crikey. I thought it was bad enough he was talking about spreadsheets, now we're talking about throwing fish around”, but, the Fish Philosophy is, well it’s a massive training thing? I mean, it's a multi $1,000,000 training program now…

00:26:22 Megan V Walker

But we should say that fish is significant because it was based on a fish market or fish company in Seattle.

00:26:28 Andy Goram

In Seattle.

00:26:29 Megan V Walker

That's where it came from, isn't it yeah.

00:26:31 Andy Goram

Pike’s Place

00:26:32 Megan V Walker

Fish is relevant.

00:26:33 Andy Goram

Yeah fish, I was getting to that, so yeah Pike’s Place.

00:26:36 Megan V Walker

Sorry.

00:26:37 Andy Goram

No, no, no. I think it's good to pull me back. Thank you. I did say you would take over the steering at some point, so, no. Yeah, Pikes Place in Seattle, so a fish market, and the owner of the fish market would look around and see a load of people coming out at lunchtime from the offices. The people he would call the yogurt dudes. People who sat around not really knowing what to do. Filling half an hour’s time eating frozen yogurt and not buying fish. And he wanted them to buy fish. So, they came up with this Fish Philosophy that's based on four tenants of culture, which they call “Be there”, right? So that is being emotionally present, and that's something that they found really…

00:27:22 Megan V Walker

In the moment.

00:27:23 Andy Goram

Being in that moment, but you know, really kind of be there - Interact with people. Because these guys are stood around. No one was interacting with anybody. So, they came from behind the counter. They started to interact. And then they have this thing called “Play”, which I think is the thing that companies get most confused with when they look at Fish Philosophy. But “Play” is all about unleashing that creative spirit, yeah, give an idea. Play with that. What can we do with that? But in the in their world it was literally hurling fish over the counter at each other, and playing silly games that was really like a show. It was like really interactive. But they were having fun and they noticed that as soon as they were in front and smiling. Oh, the yogurt dudes were having fun and smiling and they were being there and everyone was starting to talk and things started to happen, right?

00:28:13 Andy Goram

And then they have “Make their day.” So that is like, I love this piece and I've always used it at work. Shine a spotlight on somebody just, just for 20-30 seconds. Just do something special and targeted to them. Engage with them in in like a meaningful, and memorable way.

00:28:30 Andy Goram

And then the reason I keep talking about Fish Philosophy, it comes back to the “Choosing your attitude” and this is the one thing that really sort of struck home with me when I went through this process was recognising the impact that your attitude has on other people, and the fact that you can choose your attitude. I can choose to come on this podcast if you like, and be incredibly serious and quite dull or I can choose to be kind of like really engaged, right? Tell me about your life, I wanna hear about your things, right? I wanna hear your point of view. I want to share things with listeners to sort of say, look, take this back to the ranch, have a go, right. So, choose an attitude I think is hugely important.

00:29:14 Andy Goram

I think where the crossover comes, and I think this is, this is fine for a personal brand and it's fine for a company, but when you're walking into somebody else’s business and somebody else’s culture, assuming that we've we think we've got the fit right an how aware of you trying to fit in with somebody else's culture are you? And how does that work? I mean.

00:29:35 Megan V Walker

I think it's important to understand your clients culture and sometimes you might have to kind of almost take on attributes or elements from that culture to be able to truly succeed and truly build up a strong solid relationship. Yeah, so I talk about being myself, so I'm not talking about changing who I am. But for example, I've got one client who they are a global organisation. So, I can be on calls with them. There can be people from Amsterdam, there can be people from the UK, the US, Canada, France, wherever, so there's this element of they are universal (oh! Universal?). They are global within themselves and I know having so I lived in the US for 14 years and understanding that people say things in different ways and have some have very abrupt personalities, and that's part of who they are as their culture within their country that makes sense? Or their idiosyncrasies, as we say, as a nation, then then you've got to kind of adapt to that, haven't you? Now whether that's fitting in with their culture or that could be a little bit further spread couldn't it, and be, I have to try and adjust myself to do business with somebody from another country.

00:30:55 Megan V Walker

Which is very significant. So, there's fitting in with the company culture and if that company culture is global, there's also fitting in and working with individuals on a different level as well. So, it's all about adapting, isn't it? To who you're who you're working with, but that and that again, that's not just for a company of one, that is for anyone, you should be able to do that in business.

00:31:21 Andy Goram

It's almost like trying to be a consistent chameleon.

00:31:24 Megan V Walker

It absolutely is, and I find it fascinating. I love people and I love the psychology of it, and it wasn't until I… So, again having worked in the US, I became very, very familiar and had to adapt myself within an organisation that was in the US, and I was told, you know, like in the UK if we need to give bad news, there would usually be an email that I would put, it would be like. “Unfortunately”, or “I'm sorry to”, or “with regret” or whatever. It was very like apologetic. I was told by a lovely woman who's a wonderful manager. She said when you say that it, it just basically puts all of all of the fault back on us, even when actually we're delivering something that is not our fault and we're just telling the client how it is. And so I had to retract certain words from my vocabulary.

00:32:19 Megan V Walker

Even now to this day if I start putting “unfortunately” or “I'm sorry to tell you” or whatever I step back and think. Is it unfortunate, or is it just the facts? Yeah, so there's things like that that you just kind of. You need to just kind of step back and think, OK well how might this be received by this other person from this other country?

00:32:44 Andy Goram

You want to avoid that culture clash, don’t you? You wan to keep that harmony.

00:32:45 Megan V Walker

Yeah, absolutely absolutely. Absolutely, and I've been offended by. I've got quite a few friends in Sweden now because of working in this Microsoft World, and I was offended by a couple of people that I didn't know, that sent me an email, and they just said Megan, and then just said blah. Here's what I need from you and then no pleasantries. And I have a very good Swedish friend who explained it to me, she said, “We just feel with those extra words we're wasting your time. We don't want to waste your time. Therefore we get straight to it.”

00:33:17 Megan V Walker

And I was like, “Oh? OK!” So, now if I get that type of communication I don't take offense and I just look at it as where's it come from? Who's it come from? You know, what's their point of view?

00:33:29 Andy Goram

It's interesting. Lots of things to think about there and, well, this is the part of the podcast that is fast becoming my favorite piece. OK, it's the bit I like to call sticky notes. My guest leaves us with their top three things that people can take back to the ranch today to help them start, improve themselves or make inroads into improving engagement or that workplace culture that we've been talking around. So I mean, again, we're in the virtual world. So imagine if you will the walls of the sticky from the Inside podcast studio right now. I mean, do you have an image in your head?

00:34:10 Megan V Walker

Absolutely, it's great. It's beautiful.

00:34:13 Andy Goram

Well, it's probably I can guarantee it's not as good as you think it is, but. I would like to get your three sticky notes and stick 'em on the wall, right with the other guests’ sticky notes, so that eventually in the weeks to come I am surrounded by Sticky notes

00:34:30 Megan V Walker

Perfect. OK, so...

00:34:32 Andy Goram

If you’ve got that picture and what it what are your three sticky notes to leave behind?

00:34:35 Megan V Walker

So, number one, be authentic. You can spot inauthenticity, is that the right word, inauthentic.

00:34:43 Andy Goram

We’ll take it. Yes it is

00:34:44 Megan V Walker

You see I don't know. OK, we can. You can spot that a mile off not only from an individual but from an organisation as well. So be authentic number one. Just be genuine and be yourself.

00:34:57 Megan V Walker

Number two, learn to adapt. So what we've just been talking about in terms of fitting in understanding where the other person is coming from, whether it's culturally from a different country, whether it's based on their organisation, try and kind of adapt to them.

00:35:15 Megan V Walker

Um and then number 3, understand what you do so.

00:35:20 Megan V Walker

Meaning, not just. What are my skills like? What can I do? As in I can do Power BI, I can do Power Automate, I can do this, but I can't do brain surgery, although that would be important and not to attempt, but understand what you do and your morals and your values. So, there's knowing what you do in that sense is.

00:35:40 Andy Goram

So it's an alignment thing to your internal compass, where you going OK?

00:35:35 Megan V Walker

Yes

00:35:36 Andy Goram

I’m just going to stretch. Excuse me, I’m just going to put the sticky notes on the wall. There we go. Lovely. There they are.

00:35:51 Megan V Walker

Good job.

00:35:53 Andy Goram

Brilliant. Well, I think we've sort of run out of time. Thank you so much for coming today and sharing your thoughts, but I think it's been interesting 'cause it started off talking about culture and engagement but we’re independents, so how's that fit. And I think the main message that's come out today is I don’t think you’re ever too small to consider your brand or your own kind of personal cultural impact.

And actually, the principles of having clear business intent, engagement, and values. All those things are still the same principles for an independent or a small company.

00:36:27 Megan V Walker

100% agree and I would just like to say before we end. Sorry 'cause I mentioned at the start. This book. If anyone heard me say the company of one, and you're considering going out on your own, it’s buy a guy called Paul Jarvis. So, I just wanted to make that known because I did steal his, well, I stole the name of his book in the company of one.

00:36:46 Andy Goram

I don't know, I mean I. Think stealing is a dirty word. I think you borrowed. It is highlighted here.

00:36:52 Megan V Walker

Procured.

00:36:53 Andy Goram

Sure procured, and we'll stick it in the show notes. So, actually you're helping. Great! Well, thanks again Megan. I, again overly appreciative, but thank you so much for being here today and I've enjoyed it. I hope you enjoyed this conversation.

00:37:04 Megan V Walker

Very much.

00:37:05 Andy Goram

Lovely. Alright mate, see you soon.

00:37:09 Megan V Walker

Take care!

00:37:10 Andy Goram

OK, if you'd like to find out more about Megan V Walker and some of the things we spoke about today, you can find some useful links in the show notes, including the link to her frankly excellent Up podcast.

00:37:26 Andy Goram

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting and heard something. Maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forward. If you have, please like comment and subscribe, it really helps. I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the sticky from the Inside podcast. Until next time.

00:37:52 Andy Goram

Thanks for listening.

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