It has been a life changing time for everyone in lockdown.
I left JustGiving on 31st of March after four years of Marketing, Growth and Crowdfunding leadership positions.
I have been a manager in one form or another since 1999. It has been fascinating to see the evolution of management and of the workplace. From only having desktops and a limited few having Blackberrys, to everyone being contactable 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
As I looked back at working in-house, working in agencies and running a successful consultancy, there has been a number of behavioural shifts that occurred.
Going digital created numerous opportunities but on the other hand there have also been huge challenges for businesses, particularly around trust and knowing what their teams should concentrate on.
Over the past 18 months I have made it a mission to speak to as many ‘leaders’ as I could. I undertook an 18-month tour, devouring expert content, speaking at conferences, having coffee breaks, arranging video chats, speaking to business owners and fellow senior leaders from five person companies to leaders from organisations with thousands of employees.
Leaders from Startup founders, Operations, HR, Tech, Product, Marketing and General Managers spoke candidly and openly and the main theme I discovered from the tour was Focus.
Or how I like to classify it –
The world of work has lost its focus.
Diving into the lack of focus, there were three clear themes:
The company wide direction and annual targets were not explained clearly, tactical level thinking took over and almost every department worked in silos. This caused companies to miss important targets and deadlines.
Strategy is being ruthless in prioritisation and choosing what not to do.
It was clear from talking to almost everyone that they felt too busy to be effective, they felt too busy to be an effective manager and there was a running theme of distrust of people and teams. The way people were speaking to each other, choosing to use slack and teams over communicating clearly on email or in person and not being able to have or run successful meetings really stood out.
Leaders wanted to make a change however were just ‘too busy.’.
Politics was a constant theme, especially between the middle and the highest level of leaders. This is a fundamental break that needs fixing.
The last theme was trust, trust between teams, trust knowing people were working on the right thing and trusting the company goal they were going after.
Trust is either there or it is not and as a business if there is no trust, there will be second guessing, agreeing to disagree just to move it along, as well as many side bar conversations and teams working against each other.
This all helped me to build out Focus.
The core problems Focus will solve will be bringing back a clear and concise strategy that the whole company can get behind, building the right ‘people first culture’ and enabling personal and professional development as a standard for all staff of all levels.
If you would like to know more read the Focus Manifesto & Focus 40 to understand where Focus is helping businesses.
Focus Is Open For Business
Like what you hear?
Get in touch if you and your Management Teams are struggling to develop your approach to embracing the virtual office (aka the hybrid office) and creating trust within your organisation.
Focus will be offering workshops in creating a new workplace culture and one company wide strategy.
Focus will be working with companies at all stages, whether you are an existing company needing to pivot, a startup or an upstart to build focused communication centric companies. Blending the right culture, the clearest strategy and the right tech tools.
Each week I will be writing a leaders letter, these letters are designed as a must read memo, with one piece of content to consume with one action attached, simple and straightforward.
I will be available for non exec, Marketing, Growth & Product advisory and consultancy but come on and ensure your company gets Focus.