Welcome to the Cam & Otis show where a father son business podcast, where we talk with other lifelong learners about making an impact and solving big problems. And you know, I've got this opportunity here that I live in live near the mountains kinda in the mountains near the mountains. I'm not for for Colorado. I'm not I don't live in the mountains, but I live near the mountains. And I was up in the mountains last night driving back down this morning. And it always amazes me the environmental change coming from you know, 9000 plus feet down to 6000 feet and you think about 3000 feet linear is not very far. But man the difference it's it's like night and day. And no no cam in your area. When y'all go hiking. You've seen that same thing, haven't you?
Oh, yeah, we have we have trees here in the mountains, believe it or not, not just cactus, but I was like to drive it down from Colorado seeing that slow change as you go through New Mexico is always such a such a beautiful thing. You know that those southern Badlands of New Mexico aren't very pretty, but you get down a little bit lower. You get the Sonoran Desert, nice cactus and everything. Real beautiful out here. But yeah, you're 6000 feet above you guys got grass trees everywhere. It's amazing, right?
Yeah, yeah. Well, it gets fried to this at this point in the year with, with the heat. As as we transition to fall, and the temperatures start to drop. And by the time when this show comes out, I think the Aspen will already be changing, or have already changed because it happens quick. It's it's like it's like a one week thing. And we were just
and I'll still be wearing sunscreen, it might be brand new. There
you go. There you go. Well, and Julie and I were just talking about that transition that she's going going through for her summer island life, whether you call her and I'm going to call it that your summer island life back to the mainland of Europe. And North said that transition is about to happen for you. And Julie,
very much says I go from sea swimming every morning to trying to find out how to fill that moment, walking around the boat to where I have the village I live near. So I live in a beautiful place there. But it is a transition. And one actually that I have to spend a day we grounding into it's really important part of going right back into the environment. Back into your.
There you go. Because it is it is different. You're always I always think of Mrs. Catherine, my, my wife's best friend who grew up in Ireland and always laughed at her. She always loves to go on road trips. And I said, Well, it's because of road trip in Ireland. You drive two hours, you hit the ocean and you drive two hours the other way you hit the ocean. So of course in the US she wants to drive everywhere. Yeah,
well, it goes, it's 11 minutes. So from Ireland to end to end. So our road trip is somewhat like a hop, skip and a jump.
And I was thinking about as you were talking about this, this transition that made me think of one of the things that you like to focus on the women entrepreneurs. And what I found interesting about that are really what I'm really I think it's just curious, because, folks, I am not a woman entrepreneur. So what is it that's unique from the, from the woman X woman's women's woman's Whoa, man, I'm having a hard time a female. That's weird to say it that way? Because it sounds too scientific. But the woman's a woman's perspective as an entrepreneur that is different.
I mean, it's a great question. And of course, you know, I'm still discovering the more and more female entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs that I'm working with. But of course, in that journey, you're starting to really understand what the motivations are for that person becoming the founder, and what they want. And I think that's the beginning of the difference that we start to see. I mean, I work with, I'm not making so much a huge statement. But the women I work with and women out there are more likely to take a product or service that is beneficial to community, its health, its well being sustainability, huge projects going on there. Of course there are other things happening. But these are the main people are also with education, things that are going to benefit the community. They've often got a longer runway. And this is some of the challenges that we want to be able to sort of focus on what's different, the way we look at motivations, what growth is to us, and also the product services that we take and this huge learning Nice to have with that I think that's actually been one of my most fun parts of this business is, is discovering what actually is different from selling or Mido? What is me? But what is the difference? What are those challenges? And, you know, are they different from, from others, starting that founding journey. And, and I think, you know, it's got a lot to do with the multi roles we take in life, the way that we look at things collaboration, the way that we gather the right people around us, and also what we feel that we're capable of, and how we can sometimes be our own barrier to what we feel success is. So, you know, there is a lot out there, that that isn't worth the exploration. Of course, it's different for everybody. But there's some important questions to ask, before we get that before a founder gets going on their growth journey, for sure. For sure.
Could you talk some about what those cuz you talked a little bit about the perspective there, but what are some of those, like advantages that women have? You know, it's I think it's always interesting, when you look at those natural differences, obviously, we're putting people into two buckets, which would you put, you know, send a billion people to two buckets? Yeah, you know, not everyone's fitting in there. But you know, when when you look at like men, men and entrepreneurship, you know, there's the money motivation, that men to the score much higher on being financially motivated. There's also more comfortable, they're more comfortable with risk, generally, what kind of and you can see how those could shape out to make a successful entrepreneur also want to follow up and fail spectacularly. That's a whole nother conversation. But what what kinds of factors like that do you see from women that play into their entrepreneurial journey?
Yeah, I mean, even if you'd wake up, not agenda thing, if you look at the sort of traits of leadership, you've got low, more masculine traits, the more feminine traits, and it just so happens that women often have more feminine traits, although my mother is I think, is far more masculine traded than my dad. But that's another story. But you know, that whole, those beautiful traits that women have, are their broad thinking, intuitive, collaborative, though the gathers. But the challenge is, is when under pressure, where what are those crates turn into, and that's what we try and capture to try and support them to be able to take right decisions, and not to hold back on their growth. So I think there are some incredible traits, especially if you look at female leaders, you know, during pressure points like COVID, that just choices they took the decisions, they took this beautiful broad perspective of community impact, and how does the decision affect the broader picture? And I think this is an amazing trait. But the challenge is, is to try and understand how we can all play and I bring many masculine, feminine, how can we play the whole keyboard in our leadership traits? And that's what I work on with the sort of female founders, understanding some of those barriers that we face, is how do we not change who we are, but how do we work and dance with the things that we need in order to grow a successful business that sustainable, not just do the first bit, you know, which is great idea of passion and fun, and that's brilliant, but how do we take ourselves out of the way, in order that some of these great ideas that out there, stay out there? And that is my absolute mission? Never to lose a great idea? So that's what I do. And yeah, and there are differences.
Before you go down, I just wanted to add on that, you know, it's one of those simple things that always takes me back to some of my development economics classes. And they talked about like, one of the best things for an economy is like women starting to work and those kinds of things. And there's the big philosophical reason of the, you know, the quality and all that. But it's also like, Well, yeah, why would you keep half of your workforce not working? And I think that's one of the interesting things we talk entrepreneurship and problem solving on that really big scale, is you need the other half of the population to work towards it just as much as this app. And I think that's such an important piece, because there's different perspectives, different ideas, and we need all of those to come out into the world to have those.
Absolutely, especially in these days, where products and services and things the world needs, needs a diverse team, and I was asked the question yesterday, how do you think we're doing on equality in the world? And so it's a really difficult question to answer, because you've got pay and opportunity. And this is the base level of the way we work. But it's those companies that actually ask themselves not about have we got enough women have we got this but what is the benefit in today's world of having that diverse thinking team? And I think when companies can grab that, and leaders buy into that, that's when the magic happens. For sure.
You touch on an interesting point because and you use your mom and dad as a reference point. Just because somebody is a woman doesn't mean that she has more more female tendencies towards her leadership style. So putting her on the team doesn't mean that you're getting that correct mix, you may just have more than that masculinity, leadership style, which complicates things more. And that's, and you're truly not getting what we, you know, I think what what gets lost in the whole diversity thing is, yeah, different colors and different people and sexes, and all that sort of stuff is one thing, but what it really amounts to, is that you want people that think can see differently. And we're all you know, if I'm all if I'm in a room with a whole bunch of former Green Berets, it's a lot of fun, man, we come up with some great ideas to solve world hunger and, and, you know, go to the moon, and all these sorts of things. We're all over the map. But it's all because we're all we all have so much fun, because we all think exactly like, and that's not that's not that diversity, where you get the better ideas. And what I was, I'm circling back around to, was my, my question, and I think this still is a really good question is, how are you? How do you see women in corporate positions, you know, the, the so called non entrepreneur, and how that is different for a woman to go, because you've, you've experienced some of this? I mean, yeah, maybe I'll let you share some of your story about growing up in your mom and dad's business. But how, how does that look like as a as a corporate woman to an entrepreneur woman and making that shift?
Yeah, I mean, for me going from corporate, it's the, it's the really is that same basis, and my journey in corporate life building, helping to build the family business in Europe, was phenomenal. I mean, there's just very few people in life, I loved every moment of my career. But the challenge is, you know, if I look back on it, which is the sort of foundation for wise minds, I think, you know, when I look back at that initial stage was very young, what voice was I speaking with as a leader, whether it's an entrepreneurship or whether it's within a corporate growth world, or, you know, brand worlds, wherever it was, the important thing is, there was before voice, my own voice, and after, when I had it, and there's such a fundamental difference, because, you know, I grew up in a big, fast moving entrepreneurial family, and it was a lot of fun, and you learn quickly, and we always had Saturday jobs available to us, you know, we could always earn the full sort of two pounds an hour, back in the day. And there's a lot of benefit from it. But what you're doing, you've got two incredible role models, where you're trying to, you know, you see success within them. So therefore, in a way, you are mimicking their voice, you know, you're going faster, you'll get so when you get out into the entrepreneur, corporate world, you know, having that voice and using the role models voice, it was great in terms of outcome, but in terms of leadership, and developing your own style, and who you are. So it sounds authentic, you know, was gone. I think sometimes I spoke like variants, sometimes I spoke like dark. And in between, probably when I was in the pub, I spoke like me, you know, that once I could really understand my personal purpose and values. I felt that I slowed the world down. And that doesn't mean that I move slower. But it was clear for people, it was, you know, I had to speak less. I know, that's going to be hard to imagine after this podcast, but there is a moment where I will speak less, you know, and actually, you know, understand and learn to listen, because I was confident because I was speaking as me. And I think that is one of the most important points, I worked with young leaders of these very fast moving companies. And, you know, they're often taking on their first team members. And, you know, these guys are in their 2526. And, you know, some are old, it's not about age. And they asked me very honestly, they said, How do I know how to be a leader, because, you know, they've got now this person in front of them that they're responsible for. And I said, the first thing you have to do, and I know it's over said sometimes is you have to lead yourself before you can lead others. And that's why we do so much work with them on personal purpose and values, who are they in all of their lives? Because it keeps them stable. It keeps them calm, and it keeps them clear. And that's how we turn this passion and emotion which can get you through forming stage you know, the startup be excited, but then you start to restate this excitement for meaning and then other people come on board and it gets confusing and this is where I find the biggest impact can be had by adjusting at that point. Point. And therefore then the leader, the founder can be their best self, you know, or the beginning of it. I mean, leadership, as you say is it's it's a lifelong learning journey. But that starting point of themselves, I do think helps very much. It just sit down and it did for me.
Could you could you talk some about teasing out the the personal beliefs, those personal values when it comes to leadership versus those role models, because I think that's, that was such a key piece there that it's you have all these people who teach you how to be a leader. But then at some point, you have to start speaking for yourself, you can't just, you know, that we always joke about, you know, we paraphrase stoic quotes on here, right? It's like, at some point, you can't quote Marcus Aurelius, you've just got to say, you got to make that jump, at some point, did you talk a little bit about teasing that out, because at the same time, you're also not wanting to the phrase that came to mind was beat a dead horse, that's not the right phrase more. So there's no point, you know, changes that are trying to fix them in a broken, there we go. There's the right phrase, if somebody has a great leadership model, there's not necessarily that much value in completely changing it. But then how do I find my voice inside of that?
That's right. I mean, as I say, you can read all the books in the world, but their competencies, their behaviors, and you need to decide the lens through which you see the world, what are the values that are most important to you, you're going to project from, because then you can take the best of your dad, the best of your mom, the best of this, but the basis and the core is yours. And actually, I was talking to an entrepreneur last night, girl, America, and you know, she wants to join this company. And I said, make sure you join as yourself. They're, they're asking you to become part of the team. Because you are you you're not merging into their story, you've got your story that connects into theirs. And, you know, this whole thing about trying to remain as your unique self? And how do you bring that power in the leadership that you're gonna go into, I think was the greatest learning, you know, from my initial failure, you know, failure stories of precious, priceless. You know, mine was one was bad, I, you know, I had trapped myself in my own company, and, you know, sat there, and was mistaking enthusiasm for being united with the team. And it wasn't it was just people serving, say, look at this in the right context, serving me, rather than the journey that we were on. And then from that, that's why I always say, growth begins with you as the founder. And I think that's the same corporate world. And when I could get my voice, I could actually, for the first time, understand, although I'd never met him or listen to this, you'll know why my brother would say something that has a good point. And I would say something, he goes, very emotional, very emotional. And I used to get really annoyed by it. And I was like, they were I've just, I've just said the same thing. But when I can actually say it was was authentically associated with me, it was just that natural point. I'm not, I'm not giving him the credit for that leadership, learning for me, but you know, there was, but I could really truly understand how that you have to begin to make the point from who you are. And you know, and that comes from understanding your values. It's nothing about you. It's not about vision, how do you communicate? And I think that's so important with young startups when they're going for investment. And, you know, sometimes they go I got rejected for investment. And I think to myself, deep down, what did you sell, you know, and that beautiful thing of taking the back to be able to knock on that venture capitalist or stronger if that's what they want to do, or wherever they want to go? Because they're speaking from themselves through their company. And it's just beautifully clear. And people listen then and also most importantly, they listen.
Well, what was that that failure that you that? I'm guessing it was one of those? Alright, you better fix this now and get your life straight. What was that?
Well, I think after five years, I took Specsavers into the most competitive marketplace room, which was the Netherlands. And it was our first place that we went outside the mothership UK and and so it was all about experiment, curiosity, you know, going through there and we were we were growing, and then came the Great Recession in 2008. And it was starting to chug and chug oh seven was failing the recession. But we've got a brand that is opportunity in a recession that shouldn't have been. And you know, working banged my head against the wall, I sat in the garden about 3am in the morning sort of those hands the air as if to say, God universe help me, what more can I do? And I was surrounded by amazing people. And I shared this story, because obviously, I looked terrible at work the next day. And I was very honest with them. I said, you know, what more can we do? And, you know, Pater and Hani turned around to me and said, Do you still love what you do? And I, and I thought to myself, well, you know, at this time, we I'm in crisis, and we're having this sort of hugging moment, but actually, they were right. And from then on, I learnt to make myself redundant every six months, to make sure I never get trapped again, because I didn't love I was kidding myself. And I, in fact, read the founders crap mistake of leadership, which was trapped myself in my own company, and assume that we were all on that same journey. And to be quite honest, it's it's natural, you know, it baby, holding on tight, and then still holding on tight when it's trying to escape. And, you know, that's a big founder's thing, and especially this collaborative, you know, way that we work is the traits, the, the nurturing, and bringing up those initial people, we forget to let go of what no longer serves, including our own role. And, you know, that was the probably the greatest learning point, the biggest one I take into wise minds. It solves 80% of the problems, I will guarantee it. So even if you know, we don't read just do you want to make yourself redundant, and see how much fun worked. Go back to,
I'd love for you to get into the little bit of that process of how, you know, so our listeners can learn that process of making yourself redundant. How do you how do you do that? What's What's your Yeah, process?
Well, why process is very, very, very clear, obviously, purpose values established. And then actually asking yourself the hardest question as an entrepreneur, do you still love what you do? And where are you best sat in your company for your growth and your future? Sort of vision. And you know, which most often is the founder is that front end, that driving of that vision, the passion that first got you there? Now, that's all good? Well, and all the people that walk around go delegate delegate, that it's not about delegation, it's about creating the trust around you, that you can share what you're currently doing with somebody else. And so that really is that is the processes. If you're here, it doesn't mean you start tomorrow there. What do you need to do? How do you install, and what's your measure of purpose that unifies you so you can go confidently, confidently forward. And that's how we create the Powerball. I mean, it's just about the alignment of things and putting a measure on purpose, and leading the United Way, which women are very good. Not necessarily like in the name of that servant style of leadership, it is a very strong strength. And I think it forms the basis of what you need for teams in the future. You know that, in order to get that diverse way of thinking, you need somebody who's not going to be there, hello, and you know, listen to it, you need that there, you need that wave person, uplifting others. I wasn't brilliant at it and making out that I'm an angel. It took me a while to come up to there. I didn't go well thank you for that feedback and get on with it. But eventually I did. And that was the year we became market leader really. And that's something that I've taken on as the basis of wise minds. And, you know, talking about that, that measure of purpose and values and how you collect people together, that's when the team is the best. And if you ever want to see team working in a diverse way, walk into a startup because there is no hierarchy. And it's you know, the only thing you have is values and a belief and it's pure is beautiful.
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Good. Could you talk some about the you covered really what I would call like the big picture like the perspective aspects of what changes, you know, when you make that change to make yourself redundant? Could you talk a little bit about what that looks like in the business? You know, you get somebody to do your job. Alright, well, now what are you doing? You got to find a new job. And you just keep going through the cycle like what's going on there, Julie?
Yeah, so sorry, in that current explanation, though, once you're happy, because it actually gives, you know, future role. So, but what the example that we actually did, so the practicality was, was that I chosen to go back onto the road. This is the Specsavers one, I chose him to go back out on the road out of the office, lead the complete and utter customer journey operations and logistics in there. But of course, that doesn't happen overnight. So we basically closed all our stores for two days, not all together. And we reentry trained everybody on the vision, purpose and values of the company, and got everybody to look at what their contribution was towards that. What the measure was, it wasn't some so that everybody belonged to it so that we took everyone's personal purpose and values and map them into the vision of change that we wanted to do. Because everyone was great at giving great service. Don't get me wrong. But everyone then belong to that vision of change. And then we changed what we celebrated to the likelihood to return within two years, not record sales week, nothing to do with money, because everybody contributes towards that. Absolutely everybody, you know, and it's measuring that purpose. It's, am I going to inspire that service enough, that they'll remember me in two years time and choose to come back to me in a highly competitive marketplace? And when you get to 1700 people united on that. That's the power? And but I think it was that word contribution? What are you personally contributing towards that vision and bringing that force up? Because when you talk about sales, it's only the marketers that put their hand up really. We used to have the standing joke in the office, we sell record sales, we did all that was because of us. And you know, PR used to say no, because of me because he said take the mick. So as soon as we dropped that it creates a little bit more of you reunited force, and it's supported my new role of where I wanted to be because I was in the stores, talking about hey, how's your contribution? Go, you know, how's that going? How's the purpose results, so I could really lead that cliff edge, you get a cliff face again, which I loved. That's, that's truly where I you know, driving around, speaking to people that are at the cliff face, I loved it. So, you know, it starts to really come to life then. And that's what I've taken forward and wise, mine's
good. I think I think it'd be really good for us to talk some more about the about that measuring of purpose and how important that is. But I want to kind of go to the other side of that, which was that you mentioned, you know, shifting the focus away from the cash flow sitting and focus away from the sale. And I think there's a really interesting thing there because that is the you know, that is the blood of the business, lifeblood of the business. That's the thing that keeps the lights on, obviously. But I think there's this really interesting thing as a leader, where you think you have to drill that home to every single person. But the The truth is that for most people, there's an innate understanding of that, you know, like, no matter what your values you have in your life, you're like, Okay, well, I do need a job so I can keep my keep my house and you know, it's like you have you can understand that without being told that every single day whereas purpose is a little bit murkier, it's harder to wrap your head around. So you need that kind of reminder. You need those measuring those types of things. Could you talk a little bit about that relationship there and what you saw offer the team when you made that switch?
Well, absolutely. I mean, what we, you know, if you look at it, say we say a store need to to increase sales by 10,000. You know, in terms of the customers, if you said to a team, we need 10,000 more a week, or, you know, how can we together create this likelihood to return? The greater performance is going to come from the latter because everyone go 10,000? Oh, well, I'm nothing to do with money. Well, you know, I, people can't relate to it. But if you kind of say and talk about their sort of joint contribution, everybody is united. And we had people start making little films about what they were doing to contribute. And it didn't matter what your role was, whether you were the optometrist, or whatever, it was all about service, and, of course, the whole brand uplifts, then, and this is something that I'm so super passionate about that, you know, putting a value to purpose, you know, this is my pet project, myself, behavioral psych psychologist and a financial consultant saturated, locked down, and we put a value to purpose, we calculated cost, the sales, the last sales staff costs, like with turnover, and we actually created this module that we're at the moment proving about something as valuable as purpose in today's world, is 20 to 40% increase in sales and opportunity, if you even think about it, if if you're not connected to purpose, or you're not aligned on your customer, you think of the increased cost of sales, loss opportunity, or if your team we're all on United that the cost of taking a new staff member, it all adds up. It's it's not revolutionary, but we actually did calculate that equation. Because it's so important that if you've got put money to it to prove it, that's what we'll do. But purpose lead the alignment of your four key drivers was what we did Specsavers? are we aligned with our customer. Well, how is the way that 1700 People are working together? What's the culture of it? Who are the people who were taking with us that are the great how who can bring up? And what do we celebrate? And that's why I wrote your book, what you celebrate, it's more important than you think. Because if you celebrate fingers, you're talking to two people in the team, you know, finance and marketing. Big statements, of course, but you know, it's a conversation. It's not, it's not a contract, but it normally is a small percentage. And when you talk about likelihood to return, you uplift 1700 people. So it's really worth thinking about your future measure. It's not the true purpose. But it's a pretty good indication where it was for us anyway. So I try and encourage it as much as possible to really get that vision of change. And that also helps female entrepreneurs, because they start in terms of their growth. When they're looking at the vision and they've got a measure of their vision, they're less likely to block themselves worrying about the how, because they live in that beautiful curiosity. And that is where they're very good at. Rather than panicking. How will I do it? I don't know. But you will inspire that curiosity so other people can. And so that that that is I think it's a really important part. And it just gives people space to be the best they can be without you going, you know, intensely What did you do today? Because we're all in it together if you're the right people, of course. So that was a very interesting period. That practicality of breaking it down and getting people to think every time we get a wrong customer you know, that's a cost.
Yeah, and not just, Oh, we got a customer in realizing there's a difference. That's fine. I'd love the love to hear what's what's a lesson you learn from being a grown up in a family business with the ever opportunity to have a Saturday job that that is that is still part of you know, your leadership, your wise minds as you go forward. What's What's that that core thing that you gained as a as a young lady young child working those jobs?
Yeah. Well, I think you know, even just in life, your first initial jobs, always turn up on time. Do as you're asked, and do a good job no matter what it was. And I had I picked frames for two pans an hour but I was also a KP in a kitchen restaurant. And that's where I really learned I I've really learned absolutely everything because you can watch how a kitchen works and roles, responsibilities, how you have to be nice because everyone's at a chain. And when, of course, I was doing the washing up, so I was kind of lost out. First in, but it taught me how it works, you know, watching it, you know, respect time. And I think that's a very important one. But coming from an entrepreneurial family, I realized that growing businesses should be fun. I mean, I know my sort of parents were very frustrated sometimes where it didn't go the way but they were never miserable. They never came back and complained, you know, that it was always, you know, failures were always seen as right, let what can we do instead? You know, and I think that is a very healthy way of looking at it. And also finance, they never they grew a 3 billion pound business, they never took a finance loan. And I think they only spent whatever they earned, and, and how they collaborated with partners and partnerships. From a very early stage. Our house from a very young age was always full of parties, good people, and people having fun. So always associated growth and businesses. Oh, my gosh, it's, it's really fun to have your own business. You know, it's fun to be growing. And I think that was a very important thing of learning. And I got that from both of them, you know, surround yourself by people who know more than yourself. And I think and then I added into that was Specsavers, make sure you give them the space to be the person. So that was my last mistake of learning. But yeah, I think that was the biggest learning being an entrepreneur. Growth is fun. And surround yourself by those people and bring them in unified. And my mum has a mantra and never take more from the earth than what you bring so that shared profitability was a big one. And that's why we've always worked in partnership, joint venture.
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Y'all don't leave your team to struggle alone on their own. If you're not giving them the tools, they need to be great. They're not going to be great. You can't expect them to so given the tools they need to be successful. How could you balance that because there's two things that I think are really important, which is the authenticity and building those relationships, those partners dissolve a very, very, very important lesson that can't be understated. And then there is also the real world of business where they're not always good people, they're you know, all those kinds of things. How did you square those two as you stepped into the real world and got that experience?
Yeah, I mean, partnership. I mean, our whole company was built on partnership. And that's down to culture, because you can't say you're a partner and then dominate and the whole way it works. So all of our stores will take the full profitability of it. So it's a real shared responsibility and clearly equal roles. But of course, when you go into a new country, you know, the importance of recruiting on those values is very important. And that goes forward in terms of how I support entrepreneurs now is value based recruitment, because you're sat opposite someone and everyone's got the Let's say you're an optometrist or optician or you're a professional, you're marketing. And really deep down, you don't know how that person works. But the one thing you really can establish in recruitment is, is this going to be someone who's going to share those values with you. And that is the most important thing. And especially in small teams, if you get I'll sort of say the deflation of a Powerball if you get even a supplier contradicting your deflated. And that's going to make it very hard to be effective in what you're doing, especially when those small teams, so I kind of work with them on value based recruitment, is have the conversation about values more than skill. And that goes for partnership as well.
Can you talk us through an experience that you had with a vendor? Because I think that's a really good example for, for everyone to understand is, you know, I might be getting a good deal. But we're our values don't align? How, yeah, what talk us through one of those experiences, please?
Yeah, I'll do obviously, I won't mention names. But I think the challenge for many suppliers is, especially when you're trying to find somebody that's unique as a small business, someone who's going to take you seriously. And that is very, very important. And how you, we had a situation where it had gone wrong, where in the end, it was so misaligned, we were ending up doing a lot of the work and leading them so much in social media, we might as well have written it ourselves. Because we didn't check their stock the right thing to check, we didn't look at the values that they had in their team. So their team were overworked and strapped, we didn't look at how you treat people. So there was a complete and utter conflict in that because we were on the end of this poor team that were doing twice the amount of work they should have been. So one of the questions we always ask now is, who is your team? And who's the successor for that team? So that you want to see, are they thinking today? Are they thinking tomorrow? And are they going to be there, and I learned that one from my father, he always said, I learned that one and remembered it actually when I'd made the mistake. But that's a good learning that I completely forgot. He always used to in the early stages he used to go in to, to go and visit the suppliers that he would take on. And he would always say I love it lovely to meet you. But it's also nice to have a coffee with your successor. Because he wanted to know that they were also in it for the long run. And he wanted to make sure they weren't there for short term gain, to make money from, from his growth, and then to sell out to some of the biggest suppliers. So that was very important thing in terms of the family values that we had. And he would always do that. And I went Oh, yeah. Now that's a good question. I forgot. And it's not so much about success. Just make sure that they're thinking beyond what happens when that are they thinking growth? Are they thinking how much can I squeeze out of the team of what I've got. And that's very important at wise mines for us to look at those values and to work with the people that share the values of the team that we've got. Because, you know, I don't want my team picking up the slack. And we don't know it enough, otherwise we wouldn't be looking for them. So that's that's a good example is just just check how forward thinking your suppliers are.
I love that. I wanted to shift gears a little bit. You talked about the sum and this this is one sorry, Dad, this might just be Julie nerds out a little bit all the time. Just want to hear the answers. You talked about going into new countries. I always think that is the most fascinating problem set when it comes to business of taking this and it's like you know what? We're starting. We're starting, you know, oh my gosh, Specsavers. We're having a Specsavers India, what the heck does that look like to go there? Or to Canada, all these different places? Could you talk a little bit about your process for analyzing that? And you know, like I said, really just nerd out about ticket businesses? Because it always fascinates.
Right? I think it's I mean, it's obviously a fascinating subject. We we've got much better at it. Now. We're in 13 countries, but I would say the first country. And you know, the first learning is I wrote the top 10 things that if I had my time again, I'd never have done a basically it could be that black and white. One, nobody's waiting for you to arrive. That's number one. Especially when you're coming from a very strong mothership, like original, and you're going in there, and you are all you're expecting people to be. Oh, thank goodness. Thank you So one realism is very, very important. And along those lines, early governance that is different from your original country. So for example, we went in there, and we were opening it like we were opening another store. But what I feel I should have done was stopped think three years, and renegotiate the position. Of course, it's a private company, but we have people all over the world that depend on our company still being viable. So we should renegotiate, it's going to take three years, this is what we can achieve each time, this is what we're going to need in terms of support, rather than doing that initial startup mentality, which is what we did, which was sort of fighting this mature a company in the UK, and we were there going, who just send people send people and it was a little bit chaotic. And that would be the number one, followed by if we want to get very nerdy is, the pain of your customer is the same? Absolutely. Otherwise, you wouldn't go into that country, but really understand what sits around that pain and how the customer wants that pain solved. Because if I can say to you, I could see if you matched up, if you had a person in a room from every country in the world wearing a pair of spectacles, I could probably 80% give you the name of the country they're from now for experience, and, and an even they're sort of saying that what do they want out of their specs? What is it? You know, in Britain, it's, you know, right back in those days, it was to have a practical pair to look okay. But students in Europe, you know, want to make a statement. So their motivation for solving the pain is different. And that's a very important important question not to assume that's the same. So yeah, that's a very important journey, and get the 10 partners, by initial 10 partners with was still fun to this day. You know, they were magic, but that's value based. And, you know, we used to dine out, we used to go out, we used to party till 3am. And in order to collect this team together, we may be hung on to it for too long, but it was a lot of fun. But get those people on there and really bring them united and share that responsibility. Because there's a certain type of person in life that loves that first, challenge and change. But those would be my greatest piece of advice. But it was a lot of fun. And we learned a lot. And I think when you go into a new country, your existing country can learn a lot as well. It's a two way thing, because that's a way of keeping yourself vibrant, keeping yourself you know, that entrepreneurial spirit, we learned a lot. I was still learning.
What was one of those lessons, you're talking about? Talking about the glasses, you know, is it that you were like, okay, hey, we need to start doing some stylish Paris here in the UK, because five years from now, that's gonna be really cool, cuz that's what the French are doing? Oh,
yeah. Well, I mean a lot about spectacles, I mean, obviously, fashion and design. But also, you know, the color of the, you know, what people wanted, and the statements that they make, and the styles and how important design was in Europe. And now, of course, that's across all of our countries. And, of course, we are supposed to have a box, it's 80%. There, but that 20% that locality. But I also say it to the entrepreneurs that are going across borders that I work with now, is those assumptions, especially the way that people work. Like, for example, in the Netherlands, when you want to make partnership come alive, it's a very collaborative country, so is Denmark. So the partnership and the way that you work with the cultures, you know, it was, I had this whole thing, introduce it, support the idea, and then work with them, so it belongs to them. And that was the, that was understanding the culture and the way people work. And of course, how you bring in team members, how you work with teams, and we have this thing in the UK called Top Team. You see, that wouldn't work in though because everybody's that, you know, it's so it's actually understanding, you know, just checking in the people in the product and just say, okay, not exactly the same, but what is uniting us, and then what will be our unique part that is required by that country. But it was, I mean, I look back on it now. And it was, it was it was fun. It was learning fast. You know, it was really learning fast. But amazing. Absolutely amazing.
You touched on something I'm always curious about and kind of talked about it a little bit and Camden kind of mentioned it, but it goes back to what we were talking about very early on in that diversity. And yeah, what's what's a a cultural thing that came up, you mentioned the partnerships in, in Denmark and how it's very collaborative and developing that. But what's what's what's for those? Who don't you know, don't do that.
I'm laughing already. Yeah, you can hear I'm laughing. Alright? Well, we like because the Dutch are fairly direct in their language. So it's, you know, where's the British more like, Well, hi, I loved how you did that. But perhaps you could maybe take that bit and do it differently. And then we'll have a better product. So that's how a British person would this is. A Dutch person would say, that is not great. Change it and making the point, I'm probably going to be an hour, but there's, but there's a much more directness. So when you're used to communicate and stuff like this, you know, a lot of people used to think they would have the option to change it. Whereas what I was saying was saying, we really need to change this. But it's how we put those communications together, about how do we understand what level of importance is what needs to must do, et cetera, et cetera. And that really built this incredibly strong partnership. And I loved that learning, and collaboration. And like a heart, it was just, it was such a beautiful way of working. And it taught me an amazing amount about how to let go, how to let go, how to trust how to have a team that supports what you do, and not have to hold it tight. I learned a lot from the Dutch, the Dutch team a lot, for sure. But there were just there were so many funny ones. I mean, it was just my dad got caught on one because he used to come across occasion, they and it was my birthday. Now one of the traditions in the Netherlands, if it's your birthday, daughter's birthday, you congratulate the family, as well as a well congratulations for this and done a walk through the office door. And they went, Oh, Dad, congratulations. And he goes, Well, I've done anything yet. It's no small little things that just brilliant, you know, working in just different places.
Oh, you know, I wanted I wanted to shift gears a little bit, you know, talking earlier about, you know, the differences and advantages that you know, women have as entrepreneurs, it got me thinking to the, the concept or the problems that I guess of the glass cliff. And for listeners who don't know it, I'm guessing Julie, with your work, you're very familiar, but you have you have the glass ceiling that people have talked about before, you know, women are hitting the ceiling aren't able to get to those higher rolls. And then the glass Cliff was the I would say it's roughly last 20 years or so that it's now women are teams that roll but they're pushing them off this cliff. You know, I think the easy example was with Pepsi a few years ago that they were like having their worst possible year they hired I can't think of her name, they hired this woman CEO and she lasted like three months or something. And they kicked her out. And now that back to a man and it's like this like sacrificial thing that they're doing. And one of the one of the interesting factors to that, I always thought when you look at women in business and finding those paths forward is the mentorship the other women to give them the opportunities moving forward. How do you think female entrepreneurship solves that problem in the big picture? Because I could see, really, when you look at the big picture, those people who are giving those opportunities, they are the entrepreneurs of 20 years ago. So is this the path to fix that glass? Cliff?
I don't know. It's a really interesting question, because everyone always goes to the role of the CEO. And I suppose you have to ask whether that's the coolest role to have. Is that is that the aspiration? Is that how we measure it, you know, but I think going back to the entrepreneurial point, is that by trying to get entrepreneurs and leaders to look at how to build these diverse teams, you know, obviously the CEO when I was just joking about that role, but how you look at diversities has to start from the top. And that requires the change. And that change will come from evolution through throughout the company. But you we have to start at the bottom that actually there was a very interesting article in Harvard, I think it was last year where it actually challenged. Are we setting our companies up for enough growth? Is it our own problem that the US economy is stagnating? And I thought, oh, you know, on a tray, and I thought, oh my gosh, that's so true. How we set up the companies in this hierarchical fashion. And how do we set these growth groups these growth teams in order to challenge the growth of companies? Not from looking at it in from a hierarchical how do we evolve? How do we put icing on the cake of what we do? But how do we set up diverse teams in order to get the growth is that we need that's going to get the economy going is going to not solve the problem of today, but really change it, you know, design thinking. And that is where I think entrepreneurial female founder leaders are brilliant at, because of this whole bit that they are happy, leading, challenging, curious. And I think that's how you develop leaders of the future leaders of growth. And it's not always leaders of people, but leaders of people who bring growth, though maybe maybe that's a better way of saying, it was a very interesting article. And I use it quite often, about, you know, because entrepreneurs get very nervous, but we haven't got the team, I said, you've got the best team, because you have a growth team, it doesn't matter that it's only three or four, you have a growth team that's working on the growth of your company every day, you're resilient, and you're agile, and you're there. And it's diverse, you know, it's, it's great, and they're really focused on it. So interesting enough how it can help the corporate world is by looking at how you can have these diverse teams. And if we want the quality, I think, as much as the Equal Pay the equal opportunity is very, very important, of course. But unless companies understand the benefit of diversity, and leaders who can lead diverse teams, you're giving everyone the choice to be heard, to listen to be there. And to build those teams. That's where it's going to fall flat. There you go. That's
awesome. I did some thinking in that. Yeah.
I think it's such a great way to think about it in that whole aspect of the diversity the right people, you know, I was having this conversation this morning, with a friend of mine, and, and it was like, well, we should have this kind of board and this people and these, this, this isn't, he's like, how about we, we take a couple of steps down the road? You know, with the core group, like you said that that those three or four people that are the founders, if you will, to just use that term, and then see what the board needs to look like. So that, you know, match that diversity, if it's necessary. Maybe, maybe it becomes natural, maybe it's not, you know, because if you run out and start grabbing all these parts and pieces and put it in, I think it becomes a distraction for what you're you have to initially do is, is get the ball moving down the field.
Yeah. Oh, it's great point. I think it's what is your starting point at that time for that building that structure? I think it's a really important one is what questions should you be asking? I think it's a very important starting point, I think a lot of people try and build old infrastructures, as you say, into a world that just needs something different. Yeah, that's a really good valid point.
Which also leads me to the point that what I learned in I thought this was it's so simple, and it but I love your methodology of it is that, you know, making yourself redundant every six months. And there's, there's something to be said, you know, Camden asked you all, you know, doesn't that work your way out the job? Well, yeah, by with and through, right. But as, as, as a leader, we want to have somebody that does the things that we do, so that when we're not here doing those things, they're still getting done. I mean, they may not do it, as well as you, they may not be that, that person that's up on the stage, you know, talking about the vision and creating that, but they should, they should be able to fill that space in there. Which even goes back to another one of the things that I talked about with businesses cross training, you know, and how do you teach those people to do those other jobs and share in that? So? Yeah, that's, that's what I, I learned, and I just love the fact that you've, you've got it to a process six months. All right, who's next? Damn, about you. What do you learn?
Yeah, for me, I think, you know, it's, it's, it's one of those big picture ones, you know, we talked about, of course, you know, solve solving these big problems. And I think it's, there's always, it's always important to try to solve the problem. Now, I also very partial to these 20 years solutions, and these long term things and because when you look at the long term, that's, you know, that's an important piece of it, we can't just try to solve everything now. Everything is on that long term. And when it comes to leadership and leading diverse teams, and you know, that whole area there I think it's a really important piece to like you were talking about, of building up those leaders now. You know, it makes me think of a book I've read called donut economics. And one of the things that the author talks about in the intro, is that the kids who are reading this book in college and are studying economics are going to be the 60 year olds writing policy. down the road and have that is such an important thing to be able to provide that perspective. And I think that when we talk to leadership, we need to have that same kind of approach that this next generation needs to understand all of these different aspects, so they can be better leaders, because then eventually down the road, when you have the better leader, you know, you get that trickle down effect of the culture throughout the organization as the leader is changing that culture. So I think that's such an important piece. And just one of those. It's always nice to hear other people talk about it and seeing that path forward. Okay, hey, people are working on this will solve the problem might be a 20 year solution. But you know, people like Julie are working on that problem.
Julie, how about you? What do you learn?
I think I love your questions. I must admit, just having a conversation about things that you don't excuse me, you don't always talk about, like a quality. And like the glass cliff, they're very important reminders of some of those little milestones that you have to be careful with in growth. So I've really enjoyed the questions you've asked in order, because you don't often sit around and talk about what you do from start to finish. So it's been a very good reminder. I love glass cliff. I think that's there is that drop. And I think that's also really worth visiting. And, and of course, I've learned to remember to always listen to my father. Well, I'd say okay. No, but it's really good. Your questions are really good. They, they start to come out of things that, of course, I'm answering in a different way. It's such a good reminder about some of those early challenges that I had at Specsavers to make sure that I keep them in the process with wise minds, because you mustn't forget those very important points that you've asked me to translate. So huge. Thank you for that.
Great, great data folks. Find you follow you learn more about wise minds and what you all have going on, Julie?
Well, I'm on social media. I'm wise mines. Why? So why not an eye because someone who was very young said I looked I was old if I use the eye. So I changed it to why?
The question I have written down, but I didn't ask
why. And now it's like this, because I was why is the Canal, which is not the sort of culture what we do single website wise minds.com. On LinkedIn, reach out, you can also go on completely free, and do the alignment to purpose and values, evaluation. And you get this full report that we've written bespoke bespoke to your company, how you've answered it. And it also gives you if you're brave enough, it gives you an estimation of your last opportunity costs for your misalignment. But you can be brave or not. So yeah, reach out have a read this lovely stories of the people that I've spoken about today, entrepreneurs, and I hope you find it useful.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Julie's great to great to hang out with you and talk with you.
I've loved it. Thank you so much for having me. I've really enjoyed this conversation.
Camden run us out.
All right, thank you all for listening to today's episode of the Kevin Yoder show and a special thanks to our guests Julie Perkins for joining us today. Remember, you can watch full episodes of the show on YouTube at the Cambodia show. If you enjoyed today's episode, please make sure to share it with other lifelong learners in your tribe so they can enjoy to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And as always, the full archive of episodes is available at www dot cambogia show.com Thanks again and we'll see y'all next time.