How To Unlock Sustainable Growth
A growing business needs the right people to grow. But there's a talent war, so how do we unlock sustainable growth, when there's such fierce competition for talent?
We're also told that innovation is a critical factor in sustainable growth. But how do we achieve that when 67% of our people give us their time, but not their best effort or ideas. The fact is most of the time, these people have never even been asked for those ideas or input, so they end up being indifferent to your business. Involvement is another key ingredient to re-engaging these people and growing sustainably. However, changes in remote and hybrid working have made that more challenging.
In this episode, your host, Andy Goram, talks to growth specialist, Tim Cakir. With a real focus on people and a passion for involvement and technology, Tim offers up some simple, practical advice on how to involve and engage all your employees in useful, growth conversations. He also shares his recommendations for technology and apps that make the whole involvement and engagement process much easier.
Below is a full transcript of the conversation, but you can listen to the full episode here.
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 their lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tons 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.
00:01:10 Andy Goram
OK, one of the enabling foundations of sustainable employee engagement and future success is fostering a true spirit of involvement and collaboration in your people and teams. There's an old stat that suggests 67% of your people give you their time but not their best effort or ideas. Now these guys aren't your worst performers either. But they are in effect, indifferent to your business. They are if you like the silent majority. The really sad thing here is that many of these employees probably come to work wanting to make a difference and feel like they are contributing to the overall success, but no one has ever asked them or given the opportunity to use their strengths, ideas, or even their fresh perspective to help the business grow. Which, as we know, can have a really positive effect on everyone.
Involvement was tough enough for lots of businesses, even before the pandemic, hit us, and greater numbers of hybrid and remote workers now haven't made it any easier. But it is not impossible and there are examples of companies smashing it all the time, who are building thriving groups of engaged, productive and collaborative teams regardless of where they work and the proximity they have to each other. So, what's their secret? How are they doing it? And how can you follow their lead?
Well, with me today is Tim Cakir. Tim is a growth consultant and Bachelor and Masters University Lecturer who helps companies, entrepreneurs and students achieve fast and consistent growth. In his work to date, he's helped start-ups go from scratch to building significant monthly, repeatable revenues between $80k and $300k. He's even built his own successful company, having never met his business partner or many of the team face-to-face. So, he's got the remote thing covered for sure.
Now, whilst there are many facets to what drives growth, Tim is passionate about how Founders can include all of their team members in growth-focused discussions, tapping into the collective intelligence of your workforce to help you fully execute on the company's vision. So today he's a perfect partner for our discussion.
Welcome to the show, Tim!
00:03:29 Tim Cakir
Hi Andy, thank you so much for having me it's a pleasure.
00:03:31 Andy Goram
Hey! Great to have you here today my friend. I’m a little bit smug, sitting here in sunny Northampton and yet in Barcelona, a bit grey today. I mean, that's very strange.
00:03:42 Tim Cakir
It should be the opposite.
00:03:44 Andy Goram
It really should be. It really should be. Well, with that beautiful backdrop to us today, Tim, can you do me a quick favour? I've introduced you a little bit there, but can you give us a better flavour about what you're up to, what your company does, all that kind of stuff?
00:03:59 Tim Cakir
Yeah, of course Andy. Well, I've just started a new company in December 14th, and as you said, yeah, I hadn't met my co-founder. He actually just came to Barcelona about a month ago, so I did meet him finally.
00:04:12 Andy Goram
00:04:13 Tim Cakir
After six months into our company and before that, we kind of flirted for a year, starting the business, so that was an awesome experience. But what we do at Juno Talent it's that we do growth from a talent perspective. So, my business partner, he's a recruiter, his experience comes from recruiting tough tech roles. And obviously my background, as you said, comes from growth consultancy. So, by mixing the two experiences we've been able to provide growth within the company.
So by finding the right talent and creating the right processes, creating the right tools and systems to get the best talent and to keep the best talent. And to offer them a great culture. So, we do help with employer branding. We do help with even workshops and training, and so on. So, we're not just the recruitment agency. We're a little bit different than that.
That's been a really fun experience creating this company we've seen. Obviously this problem in 2020 and 2021. The biggest problem that founders had is to attract and retain talent. And now we see it’s even worse, as you've seen, there's mass layoffs, there is so on... because people has... they've talked that growth is by just getting numbers of employees up. And that is not growth. So we're trying to make it sustainable growth, by making sure that you're also hiring the right people at the right time, so that will help you with your organisational structure as well.
So, that's kind of what I'm very busy at the moment, but as I think you've seen a few of my posts on LinkedIn, I'm really busy now on content creation. This year it's been my number one focus, is for my personal brand to create content that is valuable for my followers. And I have a few newsletter and obviously I'm on podcasts at the moment, like yourself and so yeah, I'm really focused on content. I've realised that I would like to share everything that I know with anyone that would follow me on LinkedIn or in my newsletter, and that's my main focus. And obviously growing Juno Talent is also taking about most of my day.
00:06:23 Andy Goram
And I mean, you look at, I guess, clients globally, right, from your position?
00:06:27 Tim Cakir
00:06:32 Andy Goram
And this battle for talent that we've been seeing for quite a while, and quite a change in the landscape here in the UK for sure, are you seeing that the same globally? We're all facing the same sort of issues?
00:06:40 Tim Cakir
Yes, it started in the US, obviously, and then we are starting to follow up, with the US. So, the UK is in the same boat. And I think that it's starting in Europe. And funnily enough in Spain, and in the South of Europe in Spain at the moment, we still have this massive growth of recruitment in start-ups, I don't know how far that's going to go. I do believe that by the end of the year that's also going to start having some problems, because we do have an economic downturn, sadly coming. Inflation has been very, very high in the UK and in the rest of the world, and then this is going to affect, obviously recruitment. We're not too scared, but absolutely you're correct. It's happening all around the World.
00:07:24 Andy Goram
And so, let's start at the beginning, Tim. Where did all this start for you? Where did the idea for the business come from? Was it seeing this chaos going on in the marketplace? You thought,
“Yes, I can help there. I can do a bit of work there.”
Or was there some other sort of reason it all came together? Where did it all come from?
00:07:46 Tim Cakir
It's a combination of a couple of things, Andy. So, the first one is my business partner, Michael, my co-founder. He was a recruiter for a few companies and he was leaving the company that he was working at the moment, and he had a couple of offers of consultancy, or external work, like a freelancing recruiter. And I was doing something a bit different, which was on growth for start-ups, and I had this demand. And as I was doing this growth, I had most of the CEO’s, 'cause I used to work very close to the CEO's, and they would ask me about recruitment. They would say, “Hey Tim, we need these people, that people. We can’t find the right people. There's a talent war.” And I keep hearing about this talent war for the last year, and we had the chance to look around a bit. And yes, in the metrics I've had the chance to ask about, I think 50 founders, or something like that. 30 to 50 Founders and they've all said the number one problem was attracting and retaining the best talent. And then I start thinking about it was like, “Hmm! OK.” And I met this person, Michael on LinkedIn. It's been a year we were chatting about business, ecosystems and what's happening around the market, and so on. And we spoke about it. And we were like,
“So what is growth?”
And we saw that a lot of people saw growth as employee numbers, as mentioned, right? And in some podcasts, I've been saying that's not the metric that you should be looking at. You should be looking at turnover per employee. Or you should be looking at revenue per employee, right? That is the better metric to understand return on investment.
If I get 10 team members, how much more MRR, monthly recurring revenue, do I do, right? If you do start looking at it, then you can scale a little bit more sustainable, or a bit more of sustainable growth. So, when I was looking at this, I turned around to Michael, and Michael had this opportunity, and he said, “Hey look! They just want recruitment, but why don't we pitch them a little bit of your growth? Your systems, your tools, your processes, with my recruitment on top of it?” And that was just a pitch. We wanted to test it. And we pitched, it went really well, and very quickly it was a bit of a reactive company creation, to be honest, and very quickly we had to create the entity and we were able to productise and prepare all our services. And all our services started to make sense to this client. We still have that client that we started with and on top we got a bunch of more clients. And we realised, OK, there is demand, but the demand is not in the old school system of agencies.
Agencies charge you a percentage on success fee, right? And we realised one of our clients got charged in 2021 about £1,000,000 to recruit about 25 people.
00:10:27 Andy Goram
00:10:28 Tim Cakir
We're able to do that for a quarter of the price, but not just a quarter price on recruitment but a quarter price on also preparing your systems, making sure that you have the right culture, so, in six months, nine months, a year they don't leave, you're creating the work with the best workspace for them. And on top of it we realised, Andy, that we could also offer an extra service that most agencies don't, which is we can hire talent for you wherever you want. We got a partner that will do all the compliance, all the documentation, all the paperwork. So, if you tell me, “Hey! I want 15 data engineers in the UK” and you have this budget, but there are no more data engineers at that budget there, or they're not the right data engineers that you're looking for, I can tell my clients now, I can be like,
“Why are we doing this in the UK?”
“Well, we have an office here and that's what we did.”
“Well, no no, no, no. We're in a talent war. We will open you an office, if you want, in Poland. We will open you an office somewhere else in the world. Or we will hire them wherever they are in the world, and we will create this remote company for you.”
And our clients were getting a bit scared, like,
“Well, we've not done that. We don't want to go remote.”
And we were like, “You’re going to lose in the talent war, if you don’t go remote. Everybody wants remote work, now.”
Especially data engineers or technical people, they can just sit in their in their bedroom, or in their office room and just work for any company wherever they are. U.S. companies are grabbing people from all around the world. And when we start showing this to our clients, they're like, “OK, but what about paperwork? What about compliance? What about all that?” And we're like, “Well, we can handle that.” And we've been able to handle that. We are able to hire any talent from wherever they are, in 72 hours. And our difference is that we can find the talent and hire the talent for you and finish all the legalities for it. And also, as I'm a growth consultant, I I can help you understand which type of tools you're going to use, how you're going to communicate with them, and what are the trainings. How's the onboarding looking like? And we get you involved. Basically, we’re a management consulting firm, but really looking from an HR growth perspective.
00:12:27 Andy Goram
There's a lot of good things to unpack in there, Tim. Because I think this whole battle for talent is interesting. I mean, I've got a couple of things, for me. I'll ask a couple of questions and you come back and tell me what you think. Firstly, the way you are trying to deal with recruitment and growth from a, I guess, a proper people placement perspective, and then the support mechanisms to make things sustainable, right? Which you talked about culture, which is great.
So, first question. What are the biggest common failures you see with clients when they're trying to recruit people? And secondly, a perspective. Because I suspect, remote/hybrid/landscape change is changing the way we get hold of people or people can work, for sure,
but there's still, I think, a bit of a perception, certainly in the UK, that recruitment is broken.
It feels like you dump your information into a big vat, and if you're lucky someone picks your name out of the lottery and you just get fired off to people. There's no communication about salary, or all this kind of stuff. It's pretty horrible. It's a pretty horrible experience. And I'm interested to understand with this changing landscape and your different approach, what are you trying to deliver? And actually, is my blinkered view that recruitment is broken, true, or is there is there something different going on there?
00:13:49 Tim Cakir
Well, I think first of all, let's touch upon if it's broken or not.
00:13:52 Andy Goram
00:13:54 Tim Cakir
It's absolutely broken.
00:13:55 Andy Goram
00:13:56 Tim Cakir
Why is it broken, Andy? Let's think about it like this. Let's say that Andy is a founder, and he has a start-up, and Tim is a founder and has a start-up and we're both looking for a data engineer, right. And we're working with an agency and let's call agency XYZ, right. And it's the same agency we're working with. We don't know that we're working with the same agency and we're working with this agent. So, what does this agency do? This agency goes and finds a data engineer and goes to Andy and says,
“Hey, Andy! I found your data engineer. And this data engineer, sadly, is a little bit higher than the budget you've told me.”
And you're like, “Oh! OK. Well yeah, I gave you a budget of £120K a year.”
And the agent says, “Yeah, sadly this person is going to be asking for £140k”
And you're like, “Oh! That's not in my budget.”
And then the agent says, “Yeah, but Andy, we're not going to find other data engineers. This is a great data engineer. You need this person.”
And Andy goes back and is, “OK, I'll get back to you tonight or tomorrow. I'm going to see if I can create that budget.”
And you go, you're like, “OK, you know what? I'll do £140k.”
And then the recruiter goes, “Oh yeah. Another company offered £160k. Tim offered £160k.” And then they come to me and they say, “Tim, Andy offered £170k”
And you're like, “OK, I need to do £180k.”
So, we start at £120k budget, right? We're up to £180k. Why? Because the recruiter takes a percentage.
The recruiter takes 20%. 15-20-25% sometimes. The recruiter does not care about your company. The recruiter cares about their percentage. Because they're going to make more percentage. So, the recruiter that makes them more percentage, the person, the employee, the data engineer goes into the wrong company, possibly, culturally, they're not going to fit his culture, because they didn't care. They just wanted a percentage. And six, seven, eight months later... six months later the recruiter gets their fee, right, and eight months later the data engineer says “Yeah, I'm sorry. I was expecting much more remote work, or a hybrid, and this, and they told me to come and that would change, and so on...” And that's it. You have to change jobs again, right? So, we've lost money on that percentage. We tried to onboard that person. We trained that person, and that person is going in a year maximum, right? It's not fitting, culturally. So, what happened here? It's a very, very old system. It's a broken system, ongoing on a successful on a percentage fee, right? It's a little bit looking like the old school sales models where we just care about commissions, we don't care about what we're selling, to whom. And that's what's happening with the recruitment firm. With the recruitment agencies. So, the agency model is a little bit, a little bit broken, and I think this is what we need to change.
I'm not saying that recruitment, in general, is broken. I think that the fee system is really, really broken. So, what we do, we do a retainer. So, we won't really care about how much you know the team member wants, we would care about what's in the market, what's the culture? Is it going to fit? Is this person going to be happy for two years, three years? Is this person going to grow in your company? Are you going to be happy with that growth? Is it going to go in the right direction? Have you prepared the three-year plan, at least, for this person? If they’re a data engineer, are they gonna become a senior data engineer? Will they be able to manage a team later in your company, or will they want to change again in a year? So, we think a little bit more holistic. We think a little bit more futuristic for your company as well. We want to make sure that you're hiring the right person, at the right time for the right reasons. And so that's starting to work really well with our clients. You know when, especially when they see they spend £1,000,000 on their agency, and then they spend a quarter price with us, but we care about their employer brand. We care about their culture. We care that it fits. We care that they're going to stay with us with you, right? And when we do that, we see that the system is actually broken.
So, we have communicated this with a few other partners that we're working with and we're seeing slowly quite a change. A few agencies are starting to offer these types of services, and then the percentage model might stay for a certain type of industries, but I don't think it's going to stay for the tech industry. Because the Tech industry, you really have to be a cultural fit. It's just not about the compensation and the salary. It's about having that growth. Having the passion for the mission of the company as well. And that's what we recruit for. Find the people that are passionate about the mission of our clients. And it works so much better.
00:18:23 Andy Goram
Well, and I know you're very passionate about involvement and what have you, which is one of the key things you want to talk about today. So, I think that's really interesting to sort of look at. You're trying to take, I guess, a more long-term view of a relationship with the client, understand the business, make sure you get the right fit; and the same will then happen for the guys that you place in those businesses, right?
So, let's change it up, then. Let's get into this topic of of involvement. And I guess this is fundamental now and landscape again has changed and made involvement a little trickier for many businesses, who, I guess, have played the traditional office model, and now everything is a bit more distributed. So, from your perspective, Tim, and I don't know if this is stuff you cover in the University stuff you do, or whether it's through the growth consultancy, or a bit of everything, but for you, how can founders, or leaders, really start to bring everybody into these growth-focused discussions and conversations? How's that work in today's fragmented world?
00:19:26 Tim Cakir
It's actually very, very simple and we try to overcomplicate it. It's be super transparent, right? It starts with that. It starts with communicating your goals, communicate what the company is trying to do. Communicate why this person should be involved in this project. Communicate why you want them with you in this campaign. Communicate everything you can. Over-communication doesn't exist. Under communication definitely exists, or miscommunications, but over-communication doesn't exist. This came from a personal passion of mine, because I've had roles, Andy, before my consultancy of COO, CGO. I've been put into very interesting roles and they've not being the right role, sometimes, they’ve been the right roles for me, but most of the time, no. And I've realised that, you know, I've been hired because of my creativity, because of my problem solving, because of my thinking outside the box. And then we get put in a box.
And then you join the company and they’re like, here's your job description. Here are the things you're going to do. Here is the people you're responsible of. Good luck. You know, a year and a half later you've done your job well, and you haven't done amazing because you're not able to get out of certain borders, right? And you’re stuck in this box. So, that became a passion of mine.
So, what I've realised as a consultant, as well, what I've tried is systems, processes, even documentation and workspaces that involve everybody, right? So I will request, from my client, everybody’s attention of their team members on documentation, right? What do you do day-to-day? Can you document that please? So that we can help you. We can optimise that. Maybe, what are you doing that you love? What are you doing that you don't love? Then suddenly we realise about 10 things out of 50 things that they don't love, we can automate it. And then we automate it and then suddenly there's 10 less things they don't like, and their job gets a bit more involved. They're like, “Oh, OK! I have a bit more time. And I had these ideas. How can I put this idea into play?” And then I realise OK, why don't we do enough ideations sessions? If we do ideation sessions, does it have to be just on a whiteboard, physically? No it doesn't. We have amazing technologies, like Miro, which is an online digital whiteboard tool. We have Mural, we will have many, many collaboration tools that can work in remote and hybrid in many, many different ways, so why don't we do that? OK, we started to do workshops digitally on zoom with our online digital whiteboard. Actually, zoom has a new feature as well, called whiteboards. I haven't tested it yet, but I'm sure that it's going to help.
00:22:12 Andy Goram
It's good. Yeah, I like it. Yeah, yeah.
00:22:13 Tim Cakir
So, it's again, it’s going to help on that kind of thing. And then what I realised after ideation sessions and ideas are put into a place, right, like a whiteboard as we said, or digital or physical.... Six months later, where is that idea? What happened to the idea? Oh well, we stored it somewhere on a document on the drive. OK, and... then nothing. Nothing happens to these ideas. So, the person, Tim, who became a CGO, Chief Growth Officer, had a great idea, communicated with the CEO, people loved it in the meeting, the ideation, we've stored it, we've forgotten about it, right? So, I started to look at this problem as well, and be like,
“OK, how can we make sure ideas don't disappear? Good ideas get prioritised. How can we rank? How can we score prioritisation, right?”
There are many, many prioritisation models. RICE, ICE. ICE is a scoring model. It’s impact, confidence and ease. And I was like, “OK, let's start scoring these.” And then the CEO is like, “OK, I'll score it.” I'm like, “No, no, no, no, no. You're not the only one scoring these. Everybody is going to score these. Even people that were not involved in the meeting.” And everybody’s like, “Wow! How does that happen?” Well, if we have a one pager about every idea. If we have a clear kind of project kind of one pager about every idea. Possible blockers, success indicators, risks, what we have in mind, what we're trying to achieve, why is it attached to our mission? And so on. And if we can create that, a mini pager, a mini one pager, mini doc, and you can communicate to them, to the whole team, to everybody, and you can ask them, “Hey! Can you score this on ICE? The impact that you think this idea is going to have. The confidence that you have on that impact, and the ease of implemented idea.” Suddenly your 50 members, 70 members scores this idea, right? And then we have an average and then we do this across 100 ideas or 50 ideas, suddenly we find your top three ideas that are the most relevant to your mission as a company, and they're going to have the most impact.
So, then we iterate. Then we put these ideas into play. And then team members see it. And then the CEO sees it, that it came from a junior marketing assistant, and they're like, “Oh! That was that new marketing assistant’s idea?” “Yep!”, “OK, well I need more of these ideas.” And then suddenly we can involve everybody. And then you start thinking about the systems and the meetings and the workshops or how we get everybody to contribute.
00:24:51 Andy Goram
And what sort of systems are involved with, I guess, raising public awareness and interest in all of these one-pagers? Because, you know, look maybe it's just me, but I've worked in businesses and I wouldn't say the same sort of process exists. But there's the same effort to try and get people involved. And there's numerous documents. And people just can't be arsed to find them, and read them, and comment. So, what has to happen in order to kind of like foster that spirit of curiosity within the business to take part?
00:25:25 Tim Cakir
But you said it, people have to find it.
00:25:28 Andy Goram
00:25:29 Tim Cakir
That’s the problem. You should not need to find it. It should come to you. So what I’ve realised is what I've taken a little bit from Google's, you know they do, I think is it 20 %. 20% on new projects and creativity. 80% is your day-to-day kind of job, and so on. And 20% is go crazy, right? So, that 20% go crazy, I was like, “OK, how can we do that?” Is it a Friday afternoon session where the one-pagers actually come on Slack automatically on a workspace, on automated messages? And they're like “Hey, you have 66 new ideas from this week to rank.” You're like, “Wow! It's Friday afternoon. I was almost going. I finished my emails. You know, I was going to do my report.” But it's interesting to read ideas, especially if they come to you. You don't have to go find them. So creating these routines, these little frequency, I call them like, weekly frequencies, monthly frequencies, quarterly frequencies, and how to get these in front of your eyes so that you can read them.
There is many systems. There is systems where you can automate a bot that would chat to you on Slack, right, and be like, “Hey, here's an idea. Can you rank this?” And you're like, “Oh wow! OK, I didn't have to go for it. A Slack bot is chatting to me about amazing creative ideas from all my team members, from my peers, from my managers, from different people. I do want to read it.” And also the problem about those documents that you said, to find them on the drive. Plus they're very boring. They're boring. They're just 10 pages of text, right? And they're boring. So my documentation has to be what I call, if I may say on this podcast. Sexy documentation.
00:27:08 Andy Goram
You could use the word “sexy” as much as you like, Tim.
00:27:11 Tim Cakir
I tried to aim for sexy documentation. And people are like, “What does that mean?” Sexy documentation starts with a flow chart. A little video of you explaining what is that doc, and that one pager being actually a one pager, not 10 pages, but being easily digestible. We have amazing tools now like NOTION which is an amazing workspace tool. Much better than the drive. We have CODA, same kind of thing ex-people at Google that did it. You know you can have flowcharts. You can have interactive dynamic content inside it. You can have so many things that makes a one-pager very robust and makes it look very sexy, very digestible. The information is not just scattered in load of text around it. It's content in a beautiful way and you can read ten of these in about 30 minutes, nicely, you know, and you can take your quick notes. You can even ask team members questions on Slack. You're starting to have conversation with them. You understand the idea and you're like, “Wow, that's a great idea. I'm a customer support agent and I've been fixing that bloody bug 50 times a day, right? And nobody’s doing anything about it. Somebody has a solution for it. There's an idea that is an amazing solution for that, and I, as a customer support agent, I know that's going to help our clients because I'm very close to it. I'm in the trenches, right?” I know it, so I score that very high and suddenly I see that that idea gets scored the highest and we implement that and the next quarter we don't have that bug anymore. We don't have that problem anymore. What happens is we celebrate. We say wow guys, so we finally fixed that and everyone says yeah, that was the idea of XYZ person. And we celebrate that person. That person feels much more involved now as well, right? And other people see that. They're, “Wow OK, we’ll listen to everybody’s idea in this company.”
So, suddenly you're fostering this culture where everyone wants to get involved. People wants to be suddenly build better systems for you to be able to achieve these things. And what happens is better culture, better workspace, better understanding of my day-to-day job. Plus, where I can contribute too. CEOs start getting happier. Because they start seeing the contribution of different team members and not on just day-to-day, but suddenly on revenue generating projects and so on. And Andy, when I say this, I realised that I haven't said it, but of course, some of the ideas goes bad.
00:29:41 Andy Goram
Yeah, of course.
00:29:42 Tim Cakir
Failure is great. Why? Because we've documented it. We implemented it and we're going to learn from it. We're going to analyse it and we're going to do a document after it, which is our analysis and learnings. And then, our next ideas are going to be, a bit better. And from these failures we also learn so many things that our company is being good at, or bad at and so on. And when that happens, that learning happens, that listening to everybody happens, you're fostering that culture. And as you do, it suddenly organically starts building on top of those blocks that you've put on the groundwork, basically.
00:30:18 Andy Goram
And when you say all those great benefits, you know, why? Why do we think Founders, CEOs, businesses are apparently so scared of transparency, which was the thing you said right at the beginning of the piece? What's stopping... when you've got all those lovely benefits to get hold of, what do you think is stopping the freedom of transparency?
00:30:42 Tim Cakir
Well, I don't want to say this for everybody, 'cause I might be very mean about it, but I think ego is, it was a big one, I'll be honest. And the book Ego is the Enemy is exactly talking about that, right? Founders... it's their baby, right, most of the time. And they’re like, “It’s my baby. I brought it until here. It's my baby, I know it the most.” Well, that's not good that you know it the most, because you have hired people to look at an area and they're going to become an expert. You have to be, as its founder, now a generalist. And you have to be a servant leader where you serve the people that needs your help and not vice versa. They don't serve you, right? So, when you can switch that around, servant leadership style, then that works. That's number one in my opinion. The ego and being a servant to your team and and delegating. You know most founders doesn't want to leave the reigns sometime. But you have to, right? After 75 people, 100 people, you have to. At 300 people, if you're micromanaging, that's where you burn out. You have stress. You go to the hospital. You have a heart attack...
00:31:48 Andy Goram
It doesn't work, Tim.
00:31:49 Tim Cakir
No, but it happens.
00:31:50 Andy Goram
Yeah, a lot.
00:31:53 Tim Cakir
Yeah, I've seen teams of five other people and the CEO wants to know everything. So you cannot know everything anymore. It's great, it's actually success. You’be built a team of 500. Don't know everything. Go spend time with your family this weekend and don't be on Slack, asking everybody questions. Disconnect, you know. So, it's difficult to do that. I think that's the that's the major problem in my opinion.
And the other problem, to be honest, Andy, it's really we do want this to happen, but we don't take the time to build these systems, right? We think it's going to happen automatically. And this is why, actually my job works really well, 'cause I'm a growth consultant and you hire me for this, right? And then I'm able to show you the work that I do, Most of the time, I don't do a lot of work for you, I do a lot of work with you. I'm able to show you these things and you realise them and you're like,
“Oh! OK, how can we fix that?”
“Well, there's a few ways to do that? These are the ways.”
“Can we implement that?”
“Of course we can, but I'm going to involve these people in your company.”
“Oh Yeah! But they're busy.”
“No, they're not busy. If you involve them now, they're going to have a better time. In six months a year, two years, they're still going to be here. They're gonna love your mission and they're gonna work for your mission. Do you want to invest that time now, or in two months do you want to have problems?”
When you start showing that then things get a little bit better. I've had the chance, luck. I mean, I say luckily because the pandemic is not a very lucky thing, but when COVID came I had a bunch of travel tech clients, and obviously things went a bit south, right? And I had the time to say to the company, “That's great guys. We have a time to think. We have a time to change systems. We have a time to change our processes, to optimise them, to analyse.” And luckily, we did that because these companies that I’m mentioning, came out much stronger post-pandemic than pre-pandemic.
00:33:46 Andy Goram
And I think that's it, isn't it? I think we've had to get on with stuff and move stuff and be a bit braver in the last couple of years, to sort of just try new things and move things forward. And that's, I think, that's really, really helped. I would be stupid to have you on this podcast and not ask for your advice. You've mentioned a few tools today as we go through, but if you were to pick, I don't know the top three collaboration tools that you work with today, that perhaps not everybody knows about, that they should have a look at, could you recommend three of those or something?
00:34:21 Tim Cakir
Yeah, yeah even more. I'm just looking at my stream deck right now 'cause I have this little stream deck with buttons that are shortcuts to open certain applications, right? And I see three, six, nine about 10 very important, but I'll go three to four if that's ok?
00:34:38 Andy Goram
00:34:38 Tim Cakir
And so first of all zoom is great, but there is definitely zoom fatigue. Yeah, we definitely don't like to be on zoom. And my team, we’re not many people at the moment, there's only seven people, but we're working on AROUND. And it's little bubbles that are floating on my screen. I'm able to do my work still and I see my colleagues, my peers, my managers, or, you know, my under's, as I'm the co-founder, in little bubbles. We work together. Sometimes I'll put the Spotify playlist. Sometimes somebody will put it. You know, we create this little virtual office space and it's not on zoom that it doesn't take my whole screen or a big chunk of my screen. We have games there. Sometimes we take a break, we play games. There's like a snake-type of game. And so what that really creates is a better culture. I'm not saying that you can do that with 70 people, 100 people. But little teams can do it. The product team can do it. You know the marketing team can do it and so on. If you're doing some synchronous work, or you want to be online with people right, it works really well.
00:35:45 Andy Goram
Nice, it helps that connection between people, yeah.
00:35:47 Tim Cakir
Yes, that connection. Creating that culture, and so on. And you know, you can send a little message, you can raise your hand. And if your manager is there, or you're a team, they can say “Hey yeah, what's up?” And you can ask a question. Other people can hear or not, if you want to. And so what you can really create a great space there. So, zoom is great for one-on-one meetings, but AROUND is really nice to collaborate and work with. That's number one.
The most important one, in my opinion, at the moment, since the pandemic is because I've invested all my time into it as well, possibly so, I'm a bit biased is NOTION. NOTION is an amazing tool, because it's a mix of Drive Doc, Excel Sheets and and a bunch of other things, to be honest. I build Notions for my clients. I build it for my own teams. I build it for myself. I build it for my... even for my baby. My baby has a Notion space, so that I can track everything and so on. And so basically notion can be a space where it's the first thing you open in the morning, or when you're going to work. You have all the documentation there. You know what has been the last edit in which document, which last idea was scored or not scored, and so you can create many, many, many, many, systems inside Notion. And it's 100 X possibly better than the Google Drive, because as you mentioned, Google Drive documents get lost.
00:37:08 Andy Goram
OK. Yeah, yeah.
00:37:11 Tim Cakir
On notion you can create a little map. You can create beautiful spaces.
00:37:15 Andy Goram
00:37:16 Tim Cakir
That's that. I'll say Slack, but I think that we all know Slack. And yeah, we put Slack in the centre. But when I say that, it's very important, because Slack has amazing integrations. If you look at the bots and integrations of Slack, you can really create an amazing space on Slack. So that that's your centre, right and everything happens. A Notion can speak to Slack. You can start an Around meeting from Slack. I'm chatting to Andy and I go “/around” Boom! We’re in Around and we're jamming together and we're looking at the latest design of the product blah blah blah together. In relatime, which is awesome.
But I'm going to mention LOOM. If you’re not into loom yet, it's a video recording tool. In hybrid work, remote work, asynchronous communication can be tough. And it is tough, especially if you're going to write me what you have in mind, in like, you know, 2000 words. You're writing me an essay on Slack. I'm not going to read that, or I'm going to read that, I'm going to skim through and it's going to be boring. Why don't you create me a little two-minute Loom video, right? A little 2 two-minute Loom video showing me what's the problem area? What are you feeling? Or even just a Loom video, not just your screen by yourself. I do it to my team in the mornings. I do a little Loom video, “Hey guys! How's everybody today?” And so what they respond with a little Loom like, “Hey, I'm in India right now.” “Hey, I'm in London.” “Hey! I'm in Finland.” “Look, I'm at the park working” or, “I'm at the beach.” You're like “Wow!” So we created that communication. The asynchronous communication becomes a little bit more streamlined, because you see the person, but you can respond at your own time when you wake up, because we do have, I think, four time zones or so across seven people, you know.
00:38:52 Andy Goram
00:38:54 Tim Cakir
So we create these. And one feature that I want to remind everybody on Slack, if I may, Andy, is schedule your messages. Don't send the message at 3:00 AM in the morning, to one of your team members somewhere else, right? Because it is stressful, you know? Notification can go on or in the morning, you see that before your work time. So, try to understand when does people work in your team. Have it on Slack. Have it clearly and you can schedule messages. I did that mistake. I was sending messages at whatever time, and then I realised that was very stressful, especially if it comes from your Founder or your Boss.
00:39:30 Andy Goram
00:39:32 Tim Cakir
But you get a bit freaked out. You're like “Oh sure! I need to get to this now, right?” But you don't have to, and that's not what I expect from you. So I've learned to schedule my messages, and I schedule it for the time of the person according to their time zone, and and you're creating already a better communication, a better culture by doing that.
00:39:50 Andy Goram
That's a great tip.
00:39:51 Tim Cakir
So these tools are little great tools, but they have amazing features that we underutilise in them. So, look at these features, what works for you and utilise them accordingly. And create a document for it, and tell to your team, “Hey! Use this feature like this, because it helps one another.”
00:40:06 Andy Goram
Brilliant, brilliant. That's some great tools there that will really help for that, fostering that inclusion collaboration stuff. Final thing, before I let you go, mate. At the end of this podcast, we have a little section called Sticky Notes, where I'm going to ask you for a summary, I guess, of the three best bits of advice you could give to the people listening, to foster this spirit of inclusion and collaboration going forward. So, what would your three little Sticky Notes be?
00:40:33 Tim Cakir
Document everything, but document them beautifully. Make sure that everybody likes your documents.
00:40:39 Andy Goram
Yes, sexy documents please!
00:40:39 Tim Cakir
Yes! Sexy documents. Let's put it on that, you know, sexy documents. I think that I should put that sticky note on my wall.
00:40:45 Andy Goram
I think so.
00:40:47 Tim Cakir
That's awesome. I think the second secret I'm going to do is, get to know each other’s working style, right. And according to that you can really build better relationships with your peers, and your managers and so on. So, get to know each other
Sounds silly, but you know get to know each other. How do you work? What time do you work? How do you like your messages? How do you like your communication? Get to know the people and you'll have a better workspace. That should be my second sticky note.
My third sticky note is build systems and build them now, right? So, we always leave system building until 75 to 100 employees. And early founders at five members or ten members, they're like, “Oh, I'll build these later.” And then we don't get the time later. We don't pause later, because the company is growing so fast, that we don't take it. So build systems, right? It's systems that makes you grow. People work on systems. They work better if there are systems. And they can find little errors in the system and they can optimise your systems, if you build them. If you don't, you just do day-to-day and you're not preparing yourself for scalability.
00:41:53 Andy Goram
Fantastic three brilliant little Sticky Notes there to help people foster a better spirit of inclusion and collaboration and grow those businesses. Brilliant!
Tim, thanks so much for your time. Lovely to speak to you today. The power of zoom’s connected Northampton and Barcelona beautifully. Thank you very much, my friend.
00:42:12 Tim Cakir
An absolute pleasure. Andy, thank you so much.
00:42:16 Andy Goram
Ok, buddy. Well, everybody that was Tim Cakir, and if you'd like to find out a bit more about him and some of the things that we've talked about today, including those fabulous tools, please check out the show notes.
00:42:30 Andy Goram
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.
Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world.