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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

How do you take Company Values from Mural to Mindset?

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

This is the full transcript of Episode 10 of the Sticky From The Inside podcast, where Andy Goram, Alice Smith and Graham Watson discuss the value and purpose of company values and how you go about taking them off the office wall mural and into a business's mindset.

As they chat they cover topics such as the value that a good set of company values can bring to a business and the people inside it; the lack of authenticity that's creeping into company values and the harm that can do; how the process of discovering your business purpose and values is a bit like therapy; the importance of leadership and wider involvement in crafting your values; the dangers of copying someone else's values; how to use values to differentiate your brand as well as over-used words that wouldn't get past these guys when working on a values project. And of course a lot more and the 3 Sticky Notes at the end that you can take away to help you craft the perfect values set for your business.

A woman and two men talking values on a podcast
Alice Smith, Graham Watson and Andy Goram Talk The Value of Values

00:00:00 Andy Goram

OK, today sees me chatting with a couple of agency mates and as you sometimes get with agency mates, that one or two naughty words may creep out in conversation. So, if you're easily offended, or maybe in the car with kids, you might think again about listening or where you listen to this podcast. Anyway, let's crack on.

Hello and welcome to Sticky from the inside. The Employee Engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organizations 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 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.

00:01:33 Andy Goram

Right, today we are going to talk about the value of company values. It's another topic I'm passionate about. As I see and hear too many examples of companies who will proudly show off their mural on the wall, emblazoned with their behaviour defining values, but there's really no recognition of them in the business, they aren't really used and certainly don't provide any tangible benefit. But, there are equally great examples out there where these things really mean something. They help with decision-making, differentiate you from the competition, add value to employees in those businesses and become central to how a business thinks and acts. So, the question is “How do you go from mural to mindset when you're dealing with company values?”

Well, I'm joined today by Graham Watson and Alice Smith to discuss just that. Graham's the Co-owner and Creative Director of We Can Creative and some years ago he turned his back on the world of big London agencies to start an independent agency that specialises in creating meaningful messaging and creative for his clients.

Alice is Graham's partner and a super talented Brand and Communication Strategist, and together they help clients make their company values more than just words on a mural and really help bring them to life. Welcome to the podcast guys.

00:03:07 Graham Watson & Alice Smith

Hi Andy! Hiya!

00:03:09 Andy Goram

How are we doing, alright?

00:03:11 Graham Watson

We are very good. Thank you. Yes, we have a litre of coffee. We are good to go.

00:03:15 Andy Goram

The litre of coffee. That's that's such an agency thing. You haven't clearly left all the big London agency stuff behind. I would imagine this is a Colombian crossed with a Kenyan crossed with an Ethiopian kind of filter...

00:03:30 Graham Watson

Oh Andy, Andy it’s single-origin and it is Colombian. You are right.

00:03:35 Alice Smith

And served with Oat milk, just in case there's any ...

00:03:37 Andy Goram

Oh my God! That’s marvellous.

00:03:41 Graham Watson

I couldn't, I couldn't. I couldn't leave it all behind.

00:03:45 Andy Goram

Very cutting edge, mate. Very cutting edge. Well look, we're here today to talk about the value of values. And in particular, getting them off the mouse mat and actually into the psyche of a business. So, I know you guys, the rest of my listeners may not know you as well as I do. So, give me a little bit of a background. What, why, why this specialism in purpose and values as an agency?

00:04:09 Alice Smith

I think it's something that we’re both really passionate about from slightly different perspectives. But because what we do is all centered around meaningful creative, in some ways, there's really no more creative that could be more meaningful than your purpose and values and so kind of bringing that to life and working with businesses to help them articulate what their purpose is and what their values are is something that we find gives businesses a real sense of meaning and that meaning helps them engage their teams, and that's something that is just so wonderful to watch and really enjoyable to do. So, it’s something that we really enjoy because of what it kind of kicks off in businesses and the change that can happen, if you do that well and what that means to people?

00:05:03 Graham Watson

Yeah, I mean, you know I've seen first-hand the benefit that values can bring to a business in the growth of it, then that their results off the back of that. I think for me I feel a genuine, strong emotional connection with the final product. It's quite peculiar, once I'm under the skin of a business and we're in a privileged position that we get to hear first-hand from owners, leadership teams, the staff who actually produce products and services. We get to hear first-hand what it's like to be there and we also get to see a picture of a potential mismatch between what’s being said and what's being done and what they're aiming to do. So, it's a real privileged position and once I’m under the skin of the business, the right answer, when it finally comes to us, usually around 2:00 AM, it moves me to want to spring into action, and it actually feels inspired me to get involved myself, and it might sound cheesy, but we know it's right when I kind of get that kind of hair standing on end feeling of, “Christ! This is exactly what's needed.” I've listened to all the research, this motivates me and I'm certain this is going to motivate the people there.

00:06:08 Andy Goram

So, when you decided that the London agency life was not for you, was this something front and centre in your mind? Was it going to be a specialist creative agency? Or was it going to be broader? How did you end up really concentrating on values and purpose?

00:06:27 Graham Watson

Well, personally speaking, I thought there was a lack of authenticity I saw certainly starting to creep in in that kind of big agency world. There was less connection with the final product and the people. And it was more about the creative itself and what that looked like.

And what drove me was when ideas resonated with people at the actual businesses and the problem is that there were layers of bureaucracy and red tape in the big agency world. And so, when we started We Can, I realised that we could not only get closer to the customer and the client, we could also bring all of that big thinking and make it much more direct as a connection, and then the values and behaviours became the obvious answer to start motivating people into, you know, doing better throughout those businesses. So, I was able to speak to the owners and then connect what was going on in their mind and create messaging and creative that drove people that work for them to deliver that.

00:07:30 Andy Goram

So, ultimately, this is like an extension of the DNA of the brand, right? So, you just going, you're going deeper under the epidermis. You're not just concentrating on that, I guess, the veneer of sales promotion or communications. You're trying to sort of, say, right, “What is driving this business?” And that often gives you the answer for connected, aligned, meaningful messaging and creative, right?

00:07:56 Graham Watson

Yeah, the “big idea” was always very strong in the agency world, that still stands true now. The big idea is sentient and true, but beyond that values and behaviours, certainly at that time, maybe it's a time thing, but it certainly wasn't something people focus on.

00:08:13 Alice Smith

I always like the fact that, figuring.. kind of getting together with the business and trying to figure out that how to articulate their purpose and uncovering what their values are feels a lot like therapy. And I really enjoy that part where you sort of proving and people about what drives them and why they behave in certain ways and what that means for them as a business, and so I like, I enjoy the therapy part, and I think that's one of the best bits about working on these projects, because I think you always unearth some really interesting bits, and the fact that we tend to work with not only the leadership team, but also lots of people throughout the companies that we work with. So, you get to find that perspective from different people's points of view. And I find that really fascinating. The other thing from my point of view, because I've also wrote it and I started out doing these sort of values projects writing manifestos for brands. Doing that kind of writing is really, really interesting, because actually it's a really powerful way of bringing together a lot of beliefs that companies hold. And usually when you get to roll that bit out, it has quite an impact on people. So, from a word point of view these projects are brilliant as well.

00:09:29 Andy Goram

I think that's very interesting because, you mentioned about not just working with the leadership teams, but I'm not sure that's necessarily consistent in every business. I mean, I'm with you in that, if you are going to build, shape, create however you want to define it, the values and purpose of a business; there's definitely a job to do as a leadership collective to set a path, to put a vision out there. But, I think these things become more meaningful, the deeper you go into the business and see actually how these things translate for the people, who at the end of the day, in most businesses, are the end delivery of your brand, right? In your experience of working with companies, is that method more commonplace?

Or does it still seem to sit with the leadership team sort of taking control? How are you seeing it work?

00:10:34 Alice Smith

I think lots of companies would prefer it to be a leadership team discussion, or at least in the first instance, because I think it's something that generally they tend to want some control over, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. And there is that... what it's important to get the leadership team to do at the beginning of those projects is talk about their vision, the business and where they see the business in five years' time. Because I think that we're always trying to balance a reflection of how a business is and how they behave, with where they want to go. And so, you are sort of balancing the ambition of business with the reality of business. So, that piece is really important. And I know that lots of companies would prefer to do it that way, so the leadership team kind of sets it up and you might get some input

from other people across the business. But they're not necessarily keen to do that. But we've seen how powerful it is to involve people from throughout the business, and what a difference that makes. But yes, I think you're right, it's not necessarily an assumed way of working.

00:11:38 Graham Watson

No, I think our role as well becomes very important, connecting that vision with how things are. I think that's exactly right, that's what you were just saying. The hardest job in any of these projects that we do is trying to create that pathway, that bridge between where things are and where they want to be. That doesn't necessarily mean that the values are different at each of those ends. That scale. But it can often mean fighting cynicism or maybe years of perhaps, projects like that not working. We've been involved before, where we've unpicked previous values and behaviours work that have been perhaps, as you just mentioned, driven too heavily by leadership and not as much by listening. You need both of those. You need strong leadership and a clear direction, but you also need that listening piece in order to, the same sort of bringing up children, in order to encourage them to do what you need to do. You have to understand where we are at the moment and what their mindset is.

00:12:36 Andy Goram

Sure, do you think this leadership team reticence, if that's not too strong a word to use, is driven by control? So, the need to kind of keep it simple, keep it direct and have it their way. Or is there an element of fear that they may unleash a beast and make things more complicated? What? What's your view?

00:13:02 Graham Watson

I think that's a little bit of both. I think there's definitely a fear that... And just, I think almost as well as an expectation that they need to be very clearly the ones in a position of leadership. I go back to that point of leadership isn't necessarily, of course, instruction and direction. Leadership can be, you know, gently coercing, steering, motivating. There's a Gulf between those two.

00:13:29 Andy Goram

Sure, but you've got leaders throughout the businesses now, right? I mean, I think there's a top team, but I think leaders take on many, many forms within businesses. I just think it's interesting because, I'm more excited to sort of get your views on this deeper approach, where you're involving, engaging employees throughout the business to help shape, or refine, or consolidate this this vision.

00:13:54 Alice Smith

I think the interesting thing is, up until recently there was this kind of assumption about company values that they needed to sound a certain way and they had to be kind of... They had to be quite corporate. I think for people to think that you've done them properly. There's kind of an assumed language around values and there was a lot of...There are a lot of leaders in lots of businesses who are still very comfortable with that language. And the trouble is really, that lots of bigger businesses, who have lots of people, who working maybe directly with customers or with clients all the time; a lot of those corporate sounding values didn't really mean anything. So, although they kind of could get on board with them and. You know kind of “Yeah, that they're OK”, since they didn't really ever mean anything and they were always kind of wallpaper and so it's been really interesting to watch over the last few years as we've done more of these projects where we go and speak to people who are often on the kind of customer side of things and they use really different language. So, what they're describing, it's not anything different really. It's what the leaders are saying are the values of their business, but the way that they express them is not corporate. It's much more everyday language. It's ordinary stuff, but it means a lot more to them. And I think over the last few years there’s been a bit more of an acceptance that it's OK to not sound like, to not sound corporate in your values, and to have phrases and principles that mean something to, or for want of a better phrase, “Ordinary people” Just as if you were just having a normal conversation with somebody, and I think that's really powerful, and that's what we love doing.

00:15:31 Graham Watson

I think you need to use language that encourages action in a very natural way and just thinking about how you would inspire actually, if you were talking to somebody face to face, those statements and those words that you would use need to sound real. I think if there's a mismatch between how you would talk and what's being said, people are less likely to trust the authenticity of that message.

00:15:52 Andy Goram

Yeah, so I mean clearly language is an important factor to consider. Are you? Do you see any common pitfalls that businesses can idly wander into and fall into when they're putting these things together? Have you set up sort of anti-trap mechanisms to stop them doing those things? I mean, how do you work it?

00:16:15 Alice Smith

Yeah, and I think this comes from fear of looking silly. Often companies do a thing where they sort of look up what another company, that they sort of admire, has done. And then do a bit of a copy and paste job on it. Because, if it's worked for that company and they admire them, they think it will probably work their own business. And that's very often not the case, even if the values themselves are sound.

00:16:39 Graham Watson

We come across that often as we do with branding projects as well. In branding projects people often throw Apple around as an example and in values and behaviours, companies such as Zappos are often thrown around as well, and I think you have to, people have to understand that those values worked so well for that business because that was authentically how people needed to be spoken to in that business, and drove action that they had to take. And that wasn't or isn't necessarily the action or how you need to talk to people in your own business. So, admirable and good to look to other examples, but not to fall into the trap of copying them because they worked before.

00:17:18 Andy Goram

Yeah, I mean very sad news recently that Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, passed away, but he's left an amazing legacy. I think that lots of companies when it comes to values by, you know, I wouldn't say I'm a student of Zappos, but if I look at the work that they did, it was very deep. He asked a bunch of questions of all his employees. They came back with a bunch of values that they thought would help them achieve their objectives and then to me, most importantly, and what really made a difference is they lived and died by these values. There's a great story of how they use these values and one of one of their values is loosely talking about being humble, right? And they used to bus loads of candidates in from the airport for interviews in the Zappos minibus and the guys would get out and they would have their have their interview and leave. And obviously part of that interview is yes, there's a bit of skills all the rest of it, but they're really looking at whether you represent the values that they want to hire.

Including, and this is the gem, is that they would go and have a chat with the minibus driver who bought the candidate to the meeting. And they would have a chat, and sort of say, “Did they talk to you?” “Did they ask you any questions?” “Or were they playing the big guy in the back of the car off to a Zappos interview?” And if the report back wasn't favourable that person didn't go any further in that process. That's living and dying by set of values. And I personally, I think that's one of the biggest pitfalls that businesses fall into. Is that they think the job is all around language and words and they forget about the action piece.

00:19:13 Alice Smith

Yeah, I agree. I think tech firms in general have done an amazing thing for values and purpose because I think until... not today's big tech and being started taking this kind of project seriously, it was all very, or not all, I’m sure there are very good examples within that. But a lot of it was quite uninspiring and actually tech companies have, you know, there's lots of examples, Facebook, and Air BNB are two that we might touch on later, but there's lots of companies... HubSpot have done incredible things with values and purpose and put them right at the heart of what they're doing. It's had a real impact on how everybody else looks at values and looks at how to install them in the business, and I think we have a lot to thanks those companies for.

00:20:01 Andy Goram

Are you able to sort of pinpoint some of the things that those guys are doing that you think are making the difference?

00:20:07 Alice Smith

Yeah, so AirBNB actually, I love as an example of Purpose and Values. And the reason that I love them so much is that they've tied the two together very nicely. Their purpose is all around creating a sense of belonging and feeling at home, anywhere. And then they've got a lovely set of values and one of the ones I wanted to pull out was “Be a Cereal Entrepreneur” And that’s cereal with a “C”, not “Serial” as in “killer”. And that refers to a really specific incident quite early on in AirBNB where they were, really running out of cash and they had very little money. They had a lot of debt and they came up with this idea to create some cereal. Breakfast cereal for political conferences. They created a cereal called “Obama O’s” and “Captain McCain's - a maverick in every bite” was the line they used for that one. It's hilarious. And they basically sold them for $40 a box. It was nothing to do with their actual, you know, AirBNB business that they're doing in other places. But it was kind of... It was along the sort of feeling at home breakfast cereal was a very normal, everyday thing, and they made a lot of money out of it. And they have got that value - “Be a Cereal Entrepreneur”, because they don't want anybody who works at AirBNB to ever lose what they call “Creative Sketchiness”, where if you've got a good idea and you need something to work, you will just go for it and do it.

And the reason I think that one is so powerful is because it's tied to a story. So, it's tied to an actual event that happened in the company. Its value is very much something they still value in their own employees now. But also, it promotes this idea of storytelling. Of telling each other about experiences. And that's one of the ways I think values are really best instilled. If you can tell a story about how that value has helped to grow the business or the impact it's had, then people are much more likely to think about it and think, yeah, do you know what, that's something I could do. I can get on board with that. And I think that “Be a Cereal Entrepreneur” is a lovely value to have.

00:22:20 Andy Goram

Yeah, that's cracking. I think that's a great example to give and it gives that deeper connection to the people within the business and an attitude. But importantly, it has an end result. The behaviour will help deliver the objectives of the business and values that add value to other employees or the business is what we're really trying to get to here. It's not a slap on the back because we've managed to get 5 words. Because you have to have 5 words for your values, right? And you've already got integrity, right? So, there's only four to go. Yeah, you know, daft things like that get in the way of really taking the time to get under the skin of what's going to help people in their in their behaviours to help the business really stand out and really deliver against its objectives. It's a far deeper exercise, in my opinion, to get these things right. So, with that in mind, and with your kind of focus on this stuff, what are the sorts of techniques that you are trying to make more mainstream, that help businesses do this? You know? Make more of their values.

00:23:33 Alice Smith

So, something that we found really useful is getting people together and you can do this remotely if you need to. Getting people together in small groups, but small groups who don't necessarily know each other. So, they might all work in the same business, but they have probably never spoken to each other and there's no expectation of how you might behave in that situation, and people from all levels, together in a room and asking them some questions. Starting out with some questions about what it is that they enjoy about working there and how they talk to their friends about what they enjoy about their job, why they go to work, what makes them proud to work it at this company. And I think we often start off with some really positive questions which are not... they don't even mention values. They don't talk about personal values, it's just about, you know, what do you tell other people about your work and why you enjoy it? And often you get some really lovely answers which you would never get from a senior leadership team sat around the table, about casual conversations you might have about the things that really matter to them about their day-to-day jobs.

00:24:40 Graham Watson

And they're typically things that you'd say to, for example, you know a relative, a friend, someone you just met in the lift that you’ve never known before, asking them how they would phrase what they do. Often jog some really interesting answers. There's a lot of silence during those sessions, when people really think about that. But it's something we all, not so much struggle with, but how we talk about what we do, defines how we think about our roles and usually that uncovers an insight around how they have been made to feel, or rather what it is that they do. So, asking those, asking those questions that as Alice said, don't touch on the word “value” themselves, but they uncover truths about day-to-day life.

I think what was interesting earlier on when we were talking about the minibus driver as well, because we pride ourselves on talking to a diverse range of people throughout those businesses and often some of the most interesting conversations that we have during that process are with people such as front of house staff, the cleaners within that business, the people that come in and out who are, for want of a better word, often invisible in that day-to-day running of the company. Their view on how things run is extremely powerful. And I think any business you’d do well to talk to people that you wouldn't normally speak to when it comes to driving values and behaviours.

00:26:08 Andy Goram

And do you get to go as far as to speak to customers and suppliers of that business, to kind of really get under the skin of stuff?

00:26:16 Graham Watson

100%. We usually get approval obviously from someone quite high up to do that and then often then no one else really knows about that throughout that process. That's a very important part of that. How again, to just clarify, how people are behaving. That has never been more true than it is now. Never been more important to get that truth about how companies and people behave, over what they say they do.

00:26:45 Alice Smith

I think the other thing that that does is it brings out related stories. And some of these stories are a really interesting way into thinking about what your values really are. The thing about talking to clients who interact with the businesses and people who have contact with them... there’s that phrase, “A brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.” There's a huge amount of truth in that, when you come to think about values. Because, you might think that you have a very set, set of values, and yet, other people will see will always perceive very slightly differently, but there's a lot of truth in that, how that comes over, as opposed to how you see it. This comes back to the idea of this purpose and values piece being a little bit like therapy, because you have to talk to people about how they perceive things. But then you also have to think about how that comes over to other people.

00:27:40 Graham Watson

But also very importantly as well, that becomes much clearer then the job that we need to do with the business to try and move them from point A to point B. If that's necessary. Sometimes it isn't, but as you know yourself, how are the people talk about you versus how you think about yourself could be different. And if you want to genuinely change your behaviour has to change. And so our job is to then to try and figure out how best to motivate people to create that change, and then if that's possible and over what timeframe.

00:28:09 Andy Goram

Cool and just for the benefit of the tape, you know when I say you have to have five values, one of which is integrity. I am being facetious.

00:28:20 Alice Smith

I was going to say you can't forget “Trustworthy”. Because, unless you put it on there, on your value sheet, nobody will behave in a trustworthy way!

00:28:27 Andy Goram

Yeah, I think these are the these must be the pitfalls right? That people need to really take a good hard look at when they're looking at these things, because this thing about differentiation is missed. I think values have a huge opportunity to really help you differentiate yourself from the competition, not just with employees but also with customers. I think they will really help potential candidates and employees for sure, but nowadays consumers are far more interested in what's behind the badge of a company, I think, and I think we've seen that in recent times in in the way that brands have behaved over the course of the pandemic, right? I think some guys have done themselves huge favours in in the way that they've acted, in line with values, and other guys have caused themselves bits of problems that they've got to fix in the eyes of consumers, but I think that's an important thing to kind of, keep in mind.

00:29:18 Alice Smith

I think in your world of “stickiness”, values are something that needs to really stick, and some people have really come unstuck when... I'm sorry. I think we might, I might have...

00:29:31 Andy Goram

No! You could never overplay the sticky motif in this podcast. It's fine. I'm very, very grateful for it.

00:29:36 Alice Smith

I think you're right. People have really come unstuck recently, because it feels like a veneer has slightly been removed. And we've seen people for who they really are, and companies for who they really are. And so that's why it's really important for values to be authentic. And even if you've only got one value for your company, but that one value is really authentic. Yeah then that is much more powerful than having a set of values that really don't mean very much to you. Yeah, nor anybody who works for you.

And the other thing I wanted to say about that is I think that you know there's a huge amount said these days about engaging people who work for you and actually finding ways to make them much more involved and feel much more involved in how the company operates and, I think values are a really important part of that engagement piece, because if you feel like you are working for a company that really embodies a lot of your values, you're much more likely to go the extra mile. You're much more likely to behave in a way that the reflects that, and you're much more likely to have much stronger teams across your business. When we're talking about why values are important to businesses, they really aren't just a sticker on the wall and forget about it. They're really something that can massively help your business grow.

00:30:58 Andy Goram

Yeah, couldn't agree more. I think alignment can be confused as being something quite controlling. Well, actually it can be incredibly liberating. I think. Everybody pulling in the same direction. I wanted to touch on modern times and in your perspective, what has been the impact of remote working on things like Values creation.

00:31:20 Graham Watson

Huge in one word. Behaviours are more important now than they’ve ever been. Previously, there was a chance for businesses to almost hide behind the corporate environment and do a values and behaviours piece. Stick them up on the wall, put them on screen savers, create badges, flags, gonks on top of computers. Hats, T shirts, whatever. Pick your favorite value. That's all that can all be good stuff. But that environment at the moment ihas largely gone. And how companies are acting. And how they care?And what they do, what they expect and how they act in a time of crisis, shows businesses for what they truly stand for and believe in. So, no longer can you hide behind a set of values. The behaviours matter.

00:32:18 Alice Smith

Yeah, I really agree with this. We were speaking about this last night. It's so visible now what your values are, what you stand for as a business. What you're trying to achieve as a business, and what that means for how you treat your staff. And I think we were talking about the power of things like video when everybody is working remotely. So, if you're not all in one space together, suddenly videos are really and not just video calls, but making short little videos that explain things, that talk about things that you've done in the past and things that you want to do in the future and anything that has a kind of narrative to it. Again, I'm kind of going back to storytelling, but I think some of these they're quite visual, but they're also that kind of storytelling mechanics. And I think those are really important at the moment, for telling people what you're doing and why you're doing something. Because when you haven't got everybody together in a room and you can't, kind of, you know, stand up and give a rousing speech to people in the same space. You still need to have that ability to inspire people. And videos are a really nice way of doing it.

00:33:27 Graham Watson

I think people are obviously desperate for connection as well. Where is that a lot of that connection has been lost. Certainly interactive and video content between people rather stories, stories from real people within the business about what they've been doing, how they've achieved certain things, how they've been living out some of those values. And I think, those stories, as Alice said, are very important.

00:33:54 Andy Goram

It's been a proven way to get facts translated down from people to people for a very long time.

00:34:01 Alice Smith

I just want to jump in flag a book that I've read this year, which I think is brilliant on this kind of stuff. It's called, “The Art of Disruption” and it's by Magid Magid. I'm hoping I've said his name correctly, but he was the first Muslim Mayor of Sheffield, a few years ago. He ended up writing a manifesto which was also called the “The Alternative 10 Commandments for Sheffield.”

And he's now written this book about how his term in office was governed by his own values and his own sense of purpose and how he tried to communicate that by acting in a way that was quite disruptive. But he wasn't doing, he wasn't being disruptive for the sake of being disruptive. He wanted to show people that the values he had reflected the values of the people he represented, and you don't have to look a certain way or act a certain way to represent those values. So, it's really interesting, but again, it's a story. It's a story of how he did that and how he made sure that anybody who he came into contact with while he was the mayor of Sheffield, knew what his values were. It's fascinating, actually. It's a really good book. It's very easy to read.

00:35:17 Graham Watson

It’s called, “The Art of Disruption”.

00:35:18 Andy Goram

I remember the guy. I remember the guy. Really interesting guy. We’ll put a link to that book in the show notes at the end.

OK cool right. We’ve got to somehow try and put all this stuff together because we've run out of time already, so we are, but don't worry because I have a mechanism. To completely overplay the sticky metaphor another way, we're at the part of the show I call “Sticky notes”. OK, so we have to consolidate all of our thinking into three helpful sticky notes. You’re an agency. You love a sticky note. Yeah, that really helps my listeners kind of go back to the ranch, and in this case, start understanding or putting together a more meaningful set of values that can really help people in the business.

If you're going to leave behind three sticky notes on the walls of sticky studios, what are your three sticky notes guys?

00:36:17 Alice Smith

OK, so the first one might be pushing what you think you can write on a sticky note, but I assure you, if you get a slightly larger post-it you can definitely fit this on.

Listen and keep listening long after they’ve answered the question that you’ve asked. Silence is really powerful. Keep the camera rolling.

We found that the most interesting conversations often happen after you've asked a question that you thought was going to provoke some really interesting stuff. When people relax and they start talking to you about what they really think they really believe, some of the best stuff comes out.

00:36:51 Graham Watson

It’s one of my mantras and I tell it to any new starter within the agency. The second one is. If it sounds like a team name from The Apprentice, fire it, it will haunt you.

00:37:04 Andy Goram

So, any words that represent a previous team on The Apprentice as one of your values. Reconsider, right? OK good.

00:37:13 Alice Smith

Ditch. Particularly, if you've chosen “Endeavour”.

00:37:18 Andy Goram

It's clearly touched a nerve with you guys there, good. And your third and final sticky note, please.

00:37:23 Alice Smith

Be glad if it pisses a few people off. That probably means it's worked. Nobody wants to end up with a “Gary Barlow of Values”. And yeah, if you’ve annoyed a few people, that's a good thing.

00:37:33 Andy Goram

Annoying Gary Barlow is a good thing?

00:37:36 Graham Watson

No, not annoying Gary Barlow, I don't want to annoy Gary Barlow, he’s a lovely man. But nobody wants to be the Gary Barlow of Values. That kind of middle of the road. Kind of, actually find everyone “quite” likes it.

00:37:47 Andy Goram

OK cool excellent. Thank you for those that's great. Generally, whilst they are fun, there's some good practical advice on those sticky notes and hopefully people can take those back to the office and start thinking about it and improving. And yeah brilliant, lovely to speak to you. Thanks very much for your help today.

00:38:03 Alice Smith

Lovely to speak to you, Andy

00:38:05 Graham Watson

Always a pleasure, Andy.

00:38:06 Andy Goram

Alright guys, I'll see you soon. Yeah, take care!

00:38:08 Graham Watson

Take care! Bye-bye.

00:38:11 Andy Goram

OK guys, if you'd like to find out a bit more about Graham and Alice and We Can Creative, I'll put some links in the show notes.

00:38:24 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, thanks for listening.

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