• Andy Goram

Episode 8 - You Can't Run A Values-Led Business, Remotely

This is a full transcript of Episode 8 of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast with Andy Goram and Mark Saxby, where they exchange views on Mark's belief that you can't run a truly values-led business, remotely. They discuss what is really meant by being a "values-led business", what the benefits of that are for an organisation, the impact the global pandemic has had on maintaining cultural integrity and employee engagement within businesses. Mark also

openly talks about what commitment to living by your values really takes, including sacking clients who don't match up, and the positive benefits employees feel and respond to. The pair also get into why Mark believes doing all this remotely just isn't possible and what could be done to improve the situation. Whilst the two don't always agree on everything, they do agree that if you're going to have company values, they need to be alive and kicking.

Two men discussing values-led businesses and the impact on employee engagement and culture remote working has
Mark Saxby (left) and Andy Goram (right) discuss how to run a values-led business remotely on the podcast

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 Goram and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees. Light the fires within them and create tonnes more success for everyone.

This podcast is for all those who believe that’s something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call “stickier businesses”. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, 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 want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.


00:01:11 Andy Goram

OK, well the benefits of remote working, well, have been long talked about, but many more businesses have been forced to embrace it as a as a new way of working in recent months and companies are beginning to realize the positive impact remote working can have on things like flexibility, productivity and employee well-being as well as actually their bottom line.

And it's likely that going forward this can become more commonplace and even in a post-Covid world, this will be true. But technology and familiarity make the challenges of communication and task management become easier, and that means, I think, that the focus is likely to need to center around maintaining connection and a sense of culture within your business.

But, how do you build trust and bring your culture to life, when employees are working remotely? Is it even possible? And I'm not just talking about big, massive, well resourced, well known businesses. I'm talking about everyday people trying to extraordinary things with their own businesses. Now to discuss this with me today is Mark Saxby.

Mark’s a former BBC journalist, and now a director of Status Social, the Derby-based social media business, who's made it his mission to run a values-led business and extol the virtues of being such a business to others.

I'll be honest, he's been a big inspiration to me, in seeing someone who's really actually gone far further with his company values than just sticking them on a mouse mat. He's really making them live in his business, but he's also the man who recently said to me, “Andy, you can't run a values-led business remotely.” Which I found to be completely shocking as a statement coming from him. And it's the reason why he's here today. So, Mark how you doing my friend?


00:03:02 Mark Saxby

I’m good thanks, Andy.


00:03:03 Andy Goram

A long intro, but I think telling that story of the way the world is changing and is likely to look going forwards in the context of the business that you've built, I think is an interesting thing for us to talk through today with our listeners.


00:03:16 Mark Saxby

Yeah, absolutely. I think there's a lot of... lots been said about working remotely, but I think there's a lot that's been unsaid as well, so we could be interesting to. Talk about it today.


00:03:26 Andy Goram

We'll dig into that, that sounds exciting, yeah. Look, I know you very well, but my listeners perhaps not so well, so can you just explain a bit of your background and what you're up to today?


00:03:36 Mark Saxby

Yeah, so I'm a journalist by profession, was 20 years in journalism, worked in newspapers, magazines and all sorts of things through journalism. I love Radio. Radio was my big thing, worked in TV as well. The radio was my big love, and then I set up Staus Social with a business partner in January 2011. When we set up the business it really was one of the first specialist social media agencies in the UK. Nobody else was really doing it. It was based on... I did a Google search and I talked to a couple people and that was it. There was no research, nothing else. Fortunately, my business partner was a great reader at the time, and he's been reading so much about social media, so he had a real insight into inbound marketing, and I was trained by the BBC how to use social media to find news stories, particularly Twitter. So, things started coming together and since then we've trained more than 3000 business people, we have generated more than £3,000,000 worth of sales through social media for our clients and our clients have done it as well. It's been awesome in terms of the results and is very much focused about what we do is about social media with results and trying to help businesses achieve their objectives through social media. Not just get likes and follows, but actually, really achieve their business objectives.


00:04:58 Andy Goram

Amazing and it's a turbulent time right now. It's a difficult time for all businesses. And how are you fairing?


00:05:05 Mark Saxby

So, it's been an interesting time. Definitely, we had a big drop off at the start of the very first lockdown when a few of our businesses who were in sectors where they were going to be hit by COVID just pulled their contracts with us, their social media management contracts. We had a real upsurge in the summertime, then it got quieter in September and we’re beginning to see signs of recovery now.


00:05:32 Andy Goram

I think we're all hoping for that my friend. I think the interesting thing about your business and why I really wanted to talk to you today is that you are very upfront, infact it’s in some your marketing materials, about the way you operate your company. You are a massive advocate of really bringing values to life in your business. But come back to that introduction, when we had a chat the other week, just to sort of check in with each other. You made the statement that sort of said, “Andy, you can't run a values-based business

remotely.” And I went away from that call going. “Oh Blimey, if Mark's thinking like that? What's the point of going on? This is gonna be a tough one.


00:06:11 Mark Saxby

Don’t give in, Andy


00:06:13 Andy Goram

No, certainly don't want to give in, my friend, but when we talk about a values-led business, what does that mean to you?


00:06:21 Mark Saxby

Yes, so I think this is where maybe my opinion differs from a lot of other businesses. So, people talk about values and they get it mixed up with culture. And I would say that values and culture a bit different. Values to me, is the way that you want to run your business.

It’s kind of those parameters, those things that you think are really, really important. Those things that you won't compromise on. Those things that are ingrained into you, and probably often into the owners oo the directors, their personalities. Why are they running the business? What's kind of almost not what's in it for them, but what's the reason “Why”? Why are they running the business? So, for me values has got to be something you live by. It's not something that you, as you say, you stick on a mouse mat. It's not something that you make up because you think it's going to get more customers or clients. It's about the way you live. And for me, my values as a Christian, are what's come through in the business? I want to treat other people the way I'd like to be treated. So, I want to... When I'm working with my team or when I'm working with clients, I want to treat them the way I would like to be treated. So, things like honesty, being ethical, where we give each other respect, where we have good feedback and open communication and plain speaking. All the things that you know... I hate it when I talk to businesses and they try and blind me with gobbledegook.


For us like, plain speaking was one of those things that was really important to us. And I hate it when people trying to oversell to me, so again being honest is really important. But it's not just in terms of the way that we run the business in terms of what's client-facing, it’s about the way that we, we recruit. By the way, we retain, the way we appraise. It's about the way...every team meeting we have a value of the week, which one of the staff explains what it means to them?

Everything we do is based around the values and even when we work with clients we'll ask them to sign with if they're doing social management with us, I'll ask them to sign a document which says they agree to work within our values. They’re that important. And we have fired clients because they failed to live up to the values.


00:08:25 Andy Goram

Now you see that to me, that's the ultimate expression of living by your values. There's one thing to say, yeah, we won't work with certain types of people. We won't look out for those certain types of clients, but actually firing a client for not lining up to the values you've agreed, that's at the other end of the scale, my friend.


00:08:45 Mark Saxby

Absolutely yeah. Well and I remember the first time it really impacted us. It was our biggest ever client but three weeks into the contract, despite us talking about the values and them signing it, they were being really abusive. They were upsetting my team. There was a level of stress in our office I've never experienced before. It was so unpleasant, and me and my wife Carrie, she runs the business with us. We sat down and we said, “What should we do about this? This is so not right.” And we made the decision, that actually we didn't want to work with them anymore. Because we just thought, OK, it's great when you have these big clients, but not if they're going to make everyone miserable. That's not what we entered business for. We didn’t enter business to make money. We entered business for the fun and the challenge. Obviously, money’s a part of it. But actually, there's so much more to life than money. And when you see your Staff fall kind of dreading coming into work or dreading when the phone rings? You know it's not right to carry on working with a client like that. And the sense of relief when you fire a client who is behaving in that way, is just awesome.


And also, as well, I remember one of our... we had a PA and we had a person who wanted to book a workshop and it's just been so rude to my PA, and he happened to get hold of me on his second phone call and I just said to him, “I don't want to work with you. Sorry. I don't want to work with you. Your behavior is not acceptable and I remember my PA say, “I've never worked for business where they protect the staff above the clients. It’s always clients first, no matter how much you suffer. But you are different.” And that for me was worth so much. I mean, there's been some other examples of how our values have changed lives and have affected people and giving people confidence and tackled anxiety and all sorts of amazing things. But you know, when you hear somebody say how their lives been changed positively and they've got you know, a manager who's on their side, then that's a great thing to hear.


00:10:48 Andy Goram

Yeah, well hopefully we might get to dive into some of those specifics as we chat through. I think it's really interesting what you say, because your definition of values, if I can even attempt to sort of summarise, would be “behaviors with purpose”. There is a drive behind the actions that you want to see, and I think it's really interesting because some of the issues businesses encounter, in my experience with values, is that there's little behind the words. It's like a veneer. And actually, living and dying by them is really, really important. But you've talked about three things that I think are quite important about values. Firstly, as an aide to decision-making. Your values guide that firing of a client, whatever, but so that's really important thing. The fact that it makes you stand out from the crowd. I think this is underplayed by loads of people when it comes to values. They really do think too inwardly about them. But the way you behave as a business can easily separate you from the crowd. It can absolutely differentiate you from the competition, and I think that's one element when people are thinking about their values that’s often forgotten. And then I think the actions that you have taken, be it the firing or be it, the reinforcement, that reinforcement of “the values are important” goes down to, in this case, the most important people. Your employees, right? That they see that these aren't just words. They're not just today's marketing gimmick. They are the way we're going to work. They are our lifeblood of a business, right? So, to me you've hit a lot of my notes. Have I got anything wrong there? Have I sort of misinterpreted anything you said?


00:12:38 Mark Saxby

No, absolutely, I think you've got it spot on. I think probably the other benefit, huge benefit of running a values-led business is that actually you enjoy it so much more and you feel more fulfilled. And I would say that when we brought in the values, probably thought of the values around five years ago and it took a good few years for them to really embed in you know what we're doing and in the culture and how we lived. And you know, challenging ourselves to be, the, you know, the owners we wanted to be. Just that sense of reward of seeing people change and it's changing your own motives and your own reasons for doing the business. It doesn't mean it's always easy, 'cause it certainly isn't, especially at the moment, but having those values makes everything so much more worthwhile. Yeah, absolutely. It just changes everything. So, I mean, I know it's cliche, but it really is a game-changer to have proper values that you live by.


00:13:33 Andy Goram

I think you see that if you actually live them. I think lots of people who haven't had that experience are because businesses haven't adopted them in the same kind of way. They've been nothing more than a wall mural, to overplay the metaphor, I continually overplay, but it's only when you really start to sort of see these things having a benefit and bringing tangible benefits with them, that I think you really begin to notice just how valuable the values can be.

Are you able to share any specific benefits that you can see aligned to some of your specific values, Mark?


00:14:10 Mark Saxby

Yes, I mean well a good example would be we had a young man who joined us from another company. And in one of the team meetings it was his turn to do “value of the week” and he said, “I just need to say that I've not been honest.” He said, “I’ve actually been suffering from anxiety for years and I've never spoken about it in a workplace before, but because of the environment you've painted here, now I can really see that you value me, and you want me hear and you and there is a love me here, I want to tell you that I do suffer from anxiety. But since I've been at Status Social, I've not suffered from it at all. So this is the first place.” And you know, when you hear that, I just wanted to... well, I think I did applaud. I was so excited, really. It was kind of like that real sign of actually those real breakthroughs.


There is another thing I think that's been really good as well is that we have a policy at our work. We really encourage our team to tell us when they're thinking about leaving Status Social. Again, just in that element of honesty, thinking about leaving. For two reasons. One, actually, it's obviously much easier for us because it helps us understand somebody and where they're going and what they're thinking and helps us plan. But, also it means then that person can have a conversation about why they're thinking of leaving. And then we can help them. Whether it's because they need to move on, or whether because there's a miscommunication or something that needs to be dealt with.

And we had several people who left, it must have been about 3 or 4 years ago now. And they said they were happy and then they left. They announced they were leaving. One of them within a day or so of actually saying “I'm really happy with my job.” and then next day handed their notice in because they’d been offered a job somewhere else. And we were just gutted, and we thought, “How come this honesty strategy that we've got is not working?” And somebody said to us, one of the guys who had left. He said, “You'll never get that part because the UK culture is that it's not right to tell people, to tell your bosses when you're leaving, so it will never work as a policy.” Anyway, a year later he told us he was thinking of leaving.


00:16:16 Andy Goram

Trailblazers are never the naysayers my friend.


00:16:20 Mark Saxby

And yes, and since then, every single person who has considered leaving has told us beforehand they're considering leaving. And some of they have stayed, and some of them have gone; but every single one of them is done so, so it can be done. But I think that the proof the pudding was in the fact that these two, these people who have left in the past, that was seen by the guy who said nobody will ever tell you that, he saw the way we treated those people after they handed their notice in and he could probably see that we did it with that integrity that we talk about in the values of the business.


00:16:51 Andy Goram

It's really interesting, Mark, really interesting, because on a previous episode I talked a lot about psychological safety and actually it looks to me like one of the tangible benefits of your values and how you're bringing them to life, is actually the production of this psychological safety, which Project Aristotle at Google, you know, proved was the number one thing to create effective, successful teams. And it's not like you have a value saying, “We will have psychological safety”, but the output of all the things that you're doing, you're obviously creating an environment where people can yes, or one regard take some risks, but on the other be really open and honest without fear of judgment, and that must feel quite liberating for a business.


00:17:39 Mark Saxby

Absolutely. Well, you’re yourself aren’t you, you see when you're being yourself, 'cause I do think one other interesting about values is I realised that my values were probably more in place at work than they were at home. And the things that you know how I was treating my staff and thinking of them, was probably better than I was, my family. And it challenged me to be a better Dad. Particularly better dad, when you’ve got three children, it's quite a challenge. But it challenged me to be a better Dad and a better husband as well. And I mean, I'm hoping Carrie will agree but she probably hasn’t noticed the little things I do now, like, you know, pick up my pants from the floor. But I know, that the values at Status Social has probably had an impact on me, far-reaching outside of Status Social. I think that for all the team. That the value, you know... this just in terms of their confidence. You know when you see people who... you know we had a somebody who came on work experience. No confidence whatsoever. She spent, I can’t remember whether it was 2 weeks for a month with us. She was a 6th-former, just transformed, absolutely transformed, and now she's working in marketing in a great Derby organisation. And she puts down part of that success down to the time she spent with us. Where she realised she had so much to offer and that's wonderful, wonderful.


00:18:53 Andy Goram

And you also set a high benchmark as well with people's expectations of how companies will operate and how staff will be treated and valued in the way that you approach it. So, it will be interesting to see how she feels about that when she goes into other businesses and sees how they operate.


00:19:09 Mark Saxby

Yeah, well, somebody said to us recently, when they were thinking about leaving, they said, “I'm thinking about leaving. But the trouble is”, he said, “I don't think I'll find anywhere as good to work as here.” I mean, you hope that the things that people take from here will then be able to be rolled out. So, in other words, you know like that the work experience lady, that the business she will be in, as a marketer, hopefully, she’ll be able to influence those around her, because of the values that she's seen. Although, to be honest, the business that she went into, you know she came for experience four or five years ago, it's pretty different from what we've got now anyway. But that’s why I love that whole thing of inviting people in from other businesses. And, you know, we've had people from Boots from Experian, from the Universities all coming to see how we do things, so they can see what they can take back to their businesses. And I love that, because that for me is the most exciting thing. When you see other people change as well by what you're doing.


00:20:06 Andy Goram

No, I completely agree and having sat in one of those presentations, it's really interesting to sort of see the enthusiasm that there is in the room for, not just businesses that kind of operate the same way, because I think there is a bit of a kindred spirit thing, but in the places where it's perhaps not so commonplace. And it's not that people aren't interested; it's they haven't really been exposed to it necessarily.


00:20:28 Mark Saxby

Yeah.


00:20:29 Andy Goram

And I think the work you do you do exposing what that can look and feel like is a really good thing.


00:20:36 Mark Saxby

I remember somebody from a big global business said, “Oh, it's all very well you having values you know, there's only some handful of you in your business. We've got hundreds of people. How can we get people in the shop floor to really buy into our values? This is not going to be possible, is it?” Well, I said to them, “Look, one. The reality is that you can. And two; if you can get those guys buying into your values... You know if one of your values is Innovation, for instance, and you get them to buy into it, the amount of ideas and savings (you’ll get), and as well as just the fact that they're going to be happier...”


You know people work for us are going to stay for longer, because they feel valued, is so much worth the journey. And I know this took us several years to get to where we were as a smaller business. What's it gonna be like for a big business? Well yes, it's could take him years and years and years, but the journey is definitely worthwhile.


00:21:29 Andy Goram

Oh, look, 100%. You think about the pandemic and you think about the need for innovation and creativity to help businesses survive and move forward. And you think about one of the key benefits of engagement of which values play a huge role - it's all connected my friend, and actually whilst there might be 8 to 10 brains around an exec table. Having been one of those guys, let me tell you, all the answers are not in those brains, but he's got 4000 brains around your company and they're all kind of alight and buzzing. You can achieve some incredible things. So, like I'm with you 100%. It's not always easy, but it is possible.


And that kind of leads me onto the sort of elephant in the room. Look, it's been tough the last few months and I will come back again to your statement of, “You can't run a values-based business remotely, Andy” So, to get me over my concern for you and for the whole thing around values and engagement. What’s been the challenges that you’ve faced, my friend?


00:22:34 Mark Saxby

I think, well, I would say there's a couple of challenges. I think the first one that’s being talked about more and will probably talked about even more, is that just that mental health challenge and I think that that loneliness and the reality is that it's very hard to feel the values of a team, if you're not part of that team. If you're not seeing that team. If you're not seeing the values, outplayed. If you're not talking to your line managers on a regular basis, and talking about the values, I just think that the mental health challenges of being at home for long periods of time - People need people. And if they're gonna be at home for a long time it... I just think that's going to be a struggle. But also as well what comes into that is that then, as an owner it’s very, very hard to then build those true relationships with people over the phone or with Zoom. It’s very hard to really...


One of our values is open feedback. It's very hard to be open when you're not face to face. When I'm looking at somebody and I'm asking the questions I can see when I look at them, what's really going on, 'cause you can see the way their body reacts and you can obviously spend longer. And you can take them out of their environment, somewhere else, and you get just a real honesty. Which you know, I would say that over over zoom you just can't do it. You cannot get that level of relationship. We all know that. Nobody's going to say “I don't need to see my mother and father again 'cause I see them on zoom every week.” No-one ever’s going to say that, that would be ludicrous. So I, I think the human relationship, which is so important when it comes to Values, just needs to be face to face.


But also, as well I would say, that that whole thing of living out your values and seeing them practiced if you're not there in person, it just won't happen. I’ve heard people say “I think our culture’s still good, we’re working from home.” Yeah, yeah, whatever. I just don't think it's really true. I would say that often businesses that say "our culture and our values are still working well remotely” I would say to them was the values really there in the first place? Was the culture really there in the first place? Because if you got a culture of actually being there and team working and supporting each other and listening to each other,

can you really do that remotely? I'm just not sure you can.


00:25:08 Andy Goram

I think it's a really interesting topic because I don't know whether I'm 100% in agreement with you. I certainly empathise. Actually, I get all my teamwork from working with clients. Otherwise, as you Mark and no one else can kind of see from this zoom picture. It's me in the corner of my living room and as somebody who spent his life in teams, building teams, it can be a very isolating experience. But I think it's interesting when you talk about whether values were there or not in previous businesses if they're saying that they're finding this stuff OK during the last few months. I mean, I had a chat with a close connection the other day. He's run a big independent London agency for some time, and he thought he really did have his values in place before, and really had a good culture in the business. And I'm not saying he doesn't, but what he's found is that his conversations with his team members on Zoom have taken on another level, because they are far more personal than they perhaps used to be when he would walk around the office and touch people shoulders and sit down and have chats and talk about the business and what have you. Because what zoom as an example has done for him, is giving him a more personal one to one conversation.


Now you might have been having this anyway, with your team, and to be fair, he probably thought he was too, but it was interesting when I spoke to him because he sort of said, “I now understand a lot more about my team than I did previously. I certainly know who's engaged with the business and those who aren't or are struggling.” So, from his perspective, actually, whether it's the right way to do it or not going forward, it's helped him get closer to his team. But I think this is this point that you've made about the difference between how you perhaps operated before and how you didn't.

I think the connection thing is really interesting, and I don't know whether there's a generation thing in this, because if I look to my kids, as I do for inspiration, a lot of the time, I will often walk into their room, have a chat with him, not realising that two or three of their mates are also in the room, but on the phone and they're not even talking. They're just connected and every now and then one of them will say something. Obviously, I always make sure I'm fully clothed now when I walk into my children's rooms, because you never know who else is there, but I'm wondering whether from a generational thing, there's a different sort of contact that's the norm or required, or is making it easier for some people to deal with the last few months. I don't know when those things are interesting to you or controversial to you, but I just think it's interesting to sort of see how other people are dealing with it.


00:27:59 Mark Saxby

I think the main one of the things about, this whole working from home scenario is that the holes in your business had been uncovered. So, you see things aren't being done. You see, as you see you see people who are engaged you aren't engaged. The gaps appear. I suspect a lot of business owners will feel that they need to have those one-to-one conversations with people in the office, over Zoom now, because they recognise it's important to stay connected. While wandering the office they were so busy running around that they actually didn't talk to people in the same sort of way.


00:28:35 Andy Goram

Because they took it for granted, I bet you.


00:28:37 Mark Saxby

Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that we have at Status Social we have what are called “coffee catchups”. So, depending on who you are, but for instance of social media management team, our Head of Social Media Management would take out one member of the social media management team every week, for a coffee and the idea of this was not to talk about work. Although obviously if work came up that's fine. It was to talk about how they are. What's going on in their lives, how they're feeling. That sort of thing. So therefore, then those depth of relationships I think were lot stronger than what they are now. I mean, I think every business will experience it in a different way, but I'm hoping at least I mean, it's interesting anecdote you just said there and I'm hoping that that guy when he goes, if they go back to the office he will think actually what was the benefit of me doing those talks? And how can I live those out when I get back?


00:29:25 Andy Goram

Definitely yeah. It's a good point and he definitely is. I think it's made him think about some very different things and there are new tools or what have you out there. You know people are trying some different tools and productivity stuff. I think even Slack has got an app in there called “Donut” which randomly selects a person within your Slack team to have a coffee break and a chat with at certain times during the day, which might feel quite contrived to some people, but to others I think it's a lever they can pull to try and keep that team thing going. Try and keep that connection thing going, but from your perspective, Mark, what do you think the way forward is?


00:30:05 Mark Saxby

So, I think there's no right answer for every business, but I do think we shouldn't throw out the office, baby with the bathwater. Just because everyone else is saying let's you know, move out of our office, let’s save a fortune on rental fees and let's all work remotely from now on. Just because everyone else was saying it, doesn't mean it's right for you. So for us, you know, I’d love to get back to the office. Some parts of homeworking, I love it. I love being outside my children's school easily, I like going for cycle rides early in the morning. You know I love being around my wife more. You know, it's fabulous. But on the other hand, I also miss that level of what the office brings. Brainstorming ideas, that rapport, that "how you getting on?”, those to use a horrible phrase “water cooler moments”, you know, those things that seem to be time-wasting but actually aren’t really time-wasting because they’re the things that, well, let’s be honest, most people will stay working for an employer for longer because they like the people who work they work with. Yeah, if you don't see them, you're not really going to have these moments, are you?


So, I would say that you know the way forward for us it's going to be back in the office, but still allow at least considering more flexibility. I mean, I don't think if somebody came... when we recruited recently and we have some people from, well, somebody from the Isle of Man for instance, wanted to apply and said, "Oh! can I. Can I just work remotely?” and I said, “No, we're not having people who just work remotely.” Sometimes it is good to work remotely. Sometimes, you know, I know I go to a coffee shop on Friday and I know I get loads done because there's less distractions around. But I don't think I want that happening all the time so people don't see each other. And I certainly don't want to be suddenly disappearing, being that absent boss, who knows what he's doing? ‘Cos he’s probably on the golf course, I can’t even play golf!


00:31:59 Andy Goram

Now, I think hybrid working is definitely going to form a part of whatever the future looks like, and I mean I spoke to someone the other day who was trialling, a bit like my kids, really, whether it was zoom or another video platform, that they were just having groups of small groups of people connected for an hour or two not to sit and chat, but to work in the same environment as in an office. So, if you're sitting in an office at your little desk and you look up, and have a chat with the Chap or Lady opposite you, and you have that casual bit of banter, that's what they're trying to sort of replicate on Zoom in their office. Now whether it works or not, I don't know. But I think the messages for me on this is, yeah, not everything is easy, and there are lots of tools and methodologies and people trying stuff, and I think that is the message. I think you've just gotta try stuff that feels right for your organisation. And if it doesn’t work, move on. There's plenty of other things to do, but have a go.


00:32:55 Mark Saxby

So we've got a great office in the Cathedral quarter in Derby, and when we get visitors they see the culture, you know. Like for instance, you know when somebody arrives we have their favorite music on the stereo. But also, what they also get the chance is to meet the team. So therefore, they're not just buying into somebody who's trying to sell them something. Not that we ever do try and sell somebody something. But you know what I mean. Like a Business Development thing, but they actually get to see other people. They get to see the environment. They get to say hello to people, to have a conversation with people. And I think if you went into an office and it was just, you know, there's just two people there because actually everybody else is working from home. I don’t think it's really gonna really help your business.


00:33:37 Andy Goram

It's a different world mate, isn't it? It's a different world and it feels very different. I think you're a good person to have on here to talk this sort of stuff through because of how you operate and how you're dealing with the challenges at the moment. So, I have this part of this of the podcast to try and summarise everything. It's called Sticky Notes, Mark. And I like to try and leave the listeners with three things to practically takeaway back to the office about how they can improve and in this context, you know, I guess whether they're trying to keep the values and culture going now, or whether they're going to see the new year as an opportunity to reset. If you're leaving behind three sticky notes today, what would your advice be?


00:34:19 Mark Saxby

Ok, so number one. Don't follow the crowd. If you want to bring everyone back to the office because it's better for your business then do it. Number two. Pick your values according to what you truly believe. truly believe, not what you think will win you business. And number three, truly live by your values. Don't pay lip service or else your damage your reputation forever, with everybody, clients, staff everybody.


00:34:46 Andy Goram

Halleluiah to that my friend. They are three tremendous pieces of advice and I think anyone setting up values or reshaping them as a result of everything that is going on would do well to kind of listen to those three bits of advice, thank you for that.

And thank you very much for your time today. These half hours go by incredibly quickly, but I really appreciate your time today Mark 00:35:10 Mark Saxby

Thanks, Andy. Thanks for having me.


00:35:14 Andy Goram

Well, absolute pleasure my friend and I look forward to seeing you in person, Very soon.


00:35:17 Mark Saxby

Absolutely.


00:35:18 Andy Goram

You take care.


00:35:19 Mark Saxby

Thanks Andy.


00:35:19 Andy Goram

OK, so if you'd like to find out a bit more about Mark or Status Social, or any other topics that we've talked about today, please take a good look in the show notes.


00:35:32 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 forwards. 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. Thanks for listening.

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