Craig: Okay, so welcome to the first ever Christmas special of the business secret podcast, we’re here with Penguin delighted to welcome our first MBE, Ms. Jean Church most people who are listening to this I’m sure will know Jean Church she is a legend in the Wales business community currently doing a lot of work with Institute of Directors among many other things that I’m sure will talk about so we gonna dive straight in and start to pick Jeans brains and to hopefully share some insights with all our listeners so, Jean you have done number of things over your career what would you say has been the highlight.
Jean: Oh my gosh, in my career?
Craig: In your career?
Jean: In my, well the highlight has to be the MBE, isn’t it for services to business?
Craig: How did that come about?
Jean: I’m not sure someone nominated me from somewhere, but my understanding is that it is awarded for services that you give to a certain sector or certain achievements that you might accrue, and I think probably mine has been that I’ve worked through a number of probal novus over the last number of years. I’ve helped mentor people in business particularly women who work on boards for the first time and women who aspire to be sitting on a board but don’t really believe they have the capability, so I think probably the award is a combination of things that you have done through quite a number of years.
Craig: Yeah, did someone put you forward did someone.
Craig: Right okay, do we know who it was?
Craig: Alright obviously you never know.
Craig: What was it like meeting Her Majesty?
Jean: I met Prince Charles he was the one who did the investiture, it was brilliant because I have met him on a number of occasions and what was funny was prior to going in you are obviously were _ (inaudible) what the protocol looks like so you are told that you don’t shake the prince’s hand when you are standing in front of him, you shake his hand when he leaves because the gesture for you your time is up is they proffer their hand for you to shake their hand but, of course I met him on so many occasions that I walked up and automatically went to shake his hand first thing so, I thought oh you numpty why have you done that right at the beginning of the session but, it was amazing my three daughters came with me so, I would like to thank whoever nominated me because it was an amazing day and amazing couple of days too.
Craig: So, I imagine you have been a mentor and a (inaudible 2:26) to many people over your journey. What’s the thing you find you help people with the most is there sharing your wisdom? is it helping them understand? where they are trying to go what’s your secret?
Jean: It’s a bit of both really and I guess that’s what time gives you is an opportunity to reflect on your knowledge, your experiences, what worked well, what you failed at and how you have learned to fail better because I think people shouldn’t be afraid of failure, one of the things that I always say as if you get do your dotage and you turn around to someone and say what if I had then you have lost an opportunity so, to try along the way if you fail what does that matter so, I guess I give them a combination really of first of all you have to understand the person, you have to understand what they are seeking to achieve and understand who they’re working with, what that team looks like, what their time frame looks like and also whether they really believe in where they want to go.
Craig: Okay, how would you know?
Jean: You can tell.
Jean: You can hear passion in people that always you can tell by their eyes have engaged, their eyes are sparkling when they talk about something is like a child at Christmas isn’t it when well. I don’t suppose it’s just Christmas these days it’s most days children get presents but, when you see that something in front of them that they really and truly want then everything about them their body language, the discussion is, it just is that composite of things that makes you feel you can hear the will to achieve and the will to want to succeed and sometimes I’ve met people who have been very in a bad place (Coughing – Sorry) They might be really suffering because the business is suffering, they might be suffering from personal circumstances. I remember working with a board once and we had a chair, fantastic chair but, for two or three meetings he had suddenly turned to become what I can only describe as a kind of dictator which was totally opposite to the way that he had always operated and everyone sat their heads down at the meetings, came away so, I wrote to everyone and said we can’t have this we have to resolve what’s going on here because it is such a shift in personality, such a shift in the way things have been managed so, a number of us got together and they voted me as to be the person to speak to the individual so, I had a chat and we found out that he had been diagnosed with a very serious illness and in fact died within 3 months of that, that conversation so it was obvious that whatever he was doing he was on in a kind of automotive state, you know behaving as an automaton going through the motions but, really not, not paying attention or being part of the real world at that stage his mind was elsewhere and that’s the kind of thing that that happens you know when you see difference in behaviour so, I’ve mentored people who are in all kinds of places.
Craig: How did that first happen in what when did you start to become a mentor was it after a number of years of experience it was as you started offering your services was, it people just came to were attracted to you because of your nature and then you found yourself becoming more called upon?
Jean: It started from a place where I almost gave up a career that was beginning to make things happen for me it was my own personal experience. I worked for a very challenging director and obtusely he saw a lot of a lot of things in me that I hadn’t seen myself so, he knew I could achieve, he knew I could stretch myself more than I was doing but he was a very difficult person to work with and certainly if you talk about man management skills, I don’t think he even understood what the word meant now that’s a politically incorrect term because I shouldn’t say man management anymore but in those days that’s what we called it so, the ability to manage people and get their best out of them and we lost a number of really good people because his own likes, dislikes, tastes meant that they just he wouldn’t have them working with him and I remember him asking me to do a project for him which took me about 4 weeks to get the project together really proud of the work that I’ve done and the morning I presented it I said to him, I don’t want to meet you at that time because I know you gonna be focused on other things, I want to make sure that when I give this to you and I explain what I’ve done that you are really be able to listen and we can have quality time together, it didn’t happen he wouldn’t change it once he made his decision that’s the time, that’s the venue, and I was about an hour and half in and I had got to page 3 because the interruptions, the constant do this do that do the other to the other people and so in the end I slammed the books together which was totally against me, my way of doing things, and walked out of the office, found myself my PA drove me in my car because I was so upset, I was distraught because this was a culmination of things my PA drove me to the bridge the first Severn Bridge I had a sandwich on the first Severn bridge.
Craig: You not certain kind does prepare to jump.
Jean: No, calm down and said right drive us back in I’m going back in and I’m gonna collect my things and then I will decide which way I go, whether I go to tribunal or what I do but I’m certainly not coming this far in my career to have it wiped away and I have had enough so, obtusely I had tried to be someone I wasn’t, I tried to be I ranted and raved, I held meetings where I was an absolute dictator and that wasn’t me so the angst the inner angst that that had caused and my trying to keep everyone else on an even keel so, I made sure I be at the venue where he was visiting before he was so that I could prepare the managers, managers were frightened to death of this chap, it was dreadful and so over time I learned to manage people and I suddenly realised that I was doing things, copying the chaps who were around in those days because most of the senior people were chaps but, I could do things my way, which was helping people understand how to manage difficult people, identifying what things were the triggers, to change those you know what could be a good meeting and that was when I learned the art of reflection so if something was going really well why did it go so well, what was it I did, how did I do it? was there anything in the way it was setup was it the place in which I held the meeting was it the way that we opened the meeting was it the content so that was when I learned reflection and that was where I started sublimely mentoring these people who just couldn’t work with this with this chap.
Craig: Is that something you still practice today?
Craig: So, is that lock yourself where you after a certain type of meeting or is its certain amount of time a day or week?
Jean: A lot of it no because I practised it for so long can be when I’m in the car going home so where is it used to be once a week it can be anytime so, if something has gone well, if something has not gone so well maybe when I am driving back I will reflect on it maybe if I’m home and you know having my tea or something I reflect on it then.
Craig: Do you document it anywhere or is it just a mental process?
Jean: Yeah, no I do document it if I can understand what little trigger has changed and why that changed than I document that because if I write it down, I will remember it.
Craig: This is our first gem from Jean Church reflect every day I am I agree. We are talking about our previous podcast for something about not recognising the positives that you achieve everyday people sometimes think they haven’t done anything all day so, I use that cold winning streak where every day I just take a couple of minutes to recall the successes of the day whether personal or business then you can look back if you need that boost to remind yourself was done but, I also the I don’t think I reflect perhaps so, I will certainly be taking that in a way, thank you Jean. You mentioned earlier on in that piece than about obviously when you looking at mentoring when you help people about how to do recognise their failures and learning from them you have done a number of things over your career what’s been your biggest failure or greatest failure that you have learned from them?
Jean: There has been a number, I don’t think you can grade failure really can you because it’s there is a number of things in failure it’s either that you failed to hit the bottom line or things that are rudimentary things of running a business or there is the internalisation of failure that sometimes you think I should have achieved that and I didn’t or I should have done that better and I didn’t but, I guess when I look at business and when one of my biggest failures was in business was I bought a franchise and bear in mind I been used to working in corporate life and at senior positions you know what it is like you’re calling your FD, you’re calling the lawyer, you’re calling the HR director so those specialist are at your fingertips but, I had a lot of experience in my early career of volume recruitment because I worked in retail so, we were opening new stores and at that time we were recruiting anything up to 300 people for one store so, personal was the role that I had when I first started building my career so that expertise kind of made me believe that I could buy a franchise in recruitment and make it happen. I believed in myself, I believed in my skills, people knew of me and I had a really good reputation for being a good personal individual kind of thing so, I bought this franchise, but it was working in the placement of financial directors and lawyers.
Jean: Wrong, I had not spend any time looking at I had no network so, I bought the franchise set it up working here in South Wales, I been in corporate life I had no business network I hadn’t belonged to the IOD because that was actually when I was invited to join the IOD when I bought this franchise and in those days you have to be invited to join and I think I had one placement which was a lot of money that one placement was almost half a year’s salary but, I just did not understand how to network properly, how to pitch it up at these and cold calling goodness me so what did I find out I was not a sales person, my biggest failure.
Craig: Yeah, what would you do different?
Jean: I would certainly research the market, understand the sectors that I intended to recruiting, build my client network up, build my that business to business network but I certainly would do a hell of a lot of research which I didn’t do at that time.
Craig: So, obviously took a big gamble there would you say that was your biggest risk or have you taken bigger risk than that along the way?
Jean: Well I have taken bigger risks than that but of a different type.
Craig: Can you share one of those?
Jean: I have taken risks where I’ve noticed we had a graduate join us in one company I was in, he was on the autistic spectrum but absolutely brilliant in figures understanding he could look at a diagram and say oh not sure not sure that fits really have you thought about this, this, this and this and what had happened when we took him in as a graduate we had placed him in given him a quick resume of the business what it was about I showed him around various department etc. and put him to work in a particular department which bore no resemblance to what made him tick, what he really wanted to do, we did not use his recency of research and learning methodologies that he come out of university with and we were having lunch in the canteen one day and I started saying to him you are not very happy, are you? no not at all so talk to me, tell me what’s happened, tell me about your whole experience from that conversation I said right don’t care what your manager says we gonna have we gonna move this we are gonna do different things so, I don’t want you to do what you are thinking of doing you work with me, I will work with you and will see if we can move this on let’s just give it three months and see what we can achieve so we designed a new graduate program which was eventually implemented by the organisation and he became one of the senior directors in the organisation.
Jean: But when I said what I wanted to do I was categorically told if you don’t turn this around in three months that individual leaves whether you, whether he wants to or not.
Craig: Wow! Congratulations on that.
Jean: So yeah, and it is great when you can see that when you can and that’s how you learn the other thing I would say is never switch yourself off from learning, it doesn’t have to be in a formal environment but, when you are talking to people and I think that’s one of the values I have gleaned from the IOD, there are so many fantastic specialist with thousands of years of experience when you put them altogether it’s absolutely wonderful that you can tap into their expertise and perhaps not make the mistakes that you would had you not have those conversations.
Craig: Fascinating never switch of learning, I think is a massive lot of people feel that you get to a point where they know it all and don’t develop themselves, don’t keep reading, don’t listen to podcast whatever it might be so, I think that will take that as a lesson number two. Just staying on the mentor scene for a bit longer we always had a mentor here supporting us and we talk about people should have mentors in the book at what point do you think it’s important for business owners to engage with a mentor if they have never done it before?
Jean: Probably from day one.
Craig: Can you expand on that?
Jean: Yeah, if you and I guess this is something that people like myself who believe they understand business my weakest area is my finance so, we are just in the process of setting up a new business so we have to get solid financial specialist advice if we don’t then wherever we go, whatever we do, it won’t happen. I don’t understand the funding arena I can understand how to fill in the forms, understand the process, but I don’t understand it sufficiently to optimise tax relief or whatever you are looking at because that’s not my specialist area.
Craig: And just to be clear so that I don’t want people to think that we are talking about financial advice here with in the stakes of Penguin.
Craig: Talking about funding in terms of money from a bank money from a lender.
Jean: Yeah, absolutely setting a new business up not Penguin at all and what I would say is if you don’t have a specialist to support you when you start a new business than you have this fantastic idea but ideas without action are worth nothing and one of the things that I say is in terms of mentoring I might have been around a long time, I might have a wealth of knowledge in terms of contacts etc. I might have a wealth of knowledge in how to manage people but, I can sometimes get into a well, if I do this I will get that and of course time changes you talked about podcast I can’t be bothered with podcast the last time I used what people would I say loosely described as a podcast was when I was doing some self-learning tapes because I used to drive 56,000 miles a year in one job, I invariably had tapes on and I will be listening to the tapes in the car so, that’s driving self-learning stuff.
Craig: And that’s what podcast have become.
Jean: That’s what they become yeah, but very loosely so for me I have listened to podcast until you invited me to do this podcast, when I listened to yours and listening to your very first one Frank who has also done the forward for your book some of the things that he was talking about I thought my goodness me, I have missed that, I missed that well what if I do this that scenario setting but sometimes when you are in the top of an or at the top of an organisation is very lonely, you do obviously have your staff and you can be confidential with your staff but, there is always those things that you want to spin of someone that you can’t put it their door if you like because it’s too much of a risk for them to take on and so, I think one other things I hadn’t done was engage mentors early in that form in my career.
Craig: Even when you were in corporate life or you’re talking now in look into.
Jean: That’s when I since I moved away from corporate life.
Craig: Would you when you were in corporate life would there have been the opportunity to get someone to help you in certain rules or that do not exist in corporate life?
Jean: It would have had I been a better time manager but because of the demands of the business, I was also divorced so, I had 3 children so there were lots and lots of pressures and yes, I come across the 80/20 Prorate Rule did I practice it. Some of the things in your book know if I had had those snippets and practiced those snippets because we can all say lots of things but unless we take the action it the benefit won’t materialise and one of the things that I learned in one of the courses that I did was there was just one strap line “if it’s to be it’s up to me” which means that if you gonna make it happen it’s up to you to make it happen so, mentoring was something I should certainly have taken up and didn’t.
Craig: So, from what appeared there then with the new business you got some coming into as a mentor in terms of finance and how to raise fund in to help you get this going, I guess.
Jean: We are putting that package together now.
Craig: Once that happens do you will you then help someone else at any be do you or a personal mentor for you are in the business to help with the business going forward?
Jean: Absolutely and when I was when I managed that franchise very lonely because it was me on my own. I have just joined the IOD and then I took the certificate and diploma in company direction with the IOD which are the first two steps you have to take before you can apply to become a chartered director, when I learned for the first time what the responsibilities of the director were and when I thought god I didn’t know any of this I subsequently went into talk to boards where people would say look our board is dysfunctional can you come in and have a look at it and you say to them so tell me what you know about your legal responsibilities as a director it’s amazing how many people have not a clue so, that kind of business information I didn’t have at my fingertips at all.
Craig: Fascinating okay, so you mentioned there 56,000 miles a year at one point 3 kids, divorced, we talk we are big believers at Penguin, and we talk about the work life balance what’s your work life balance your journey been like over your career?
Jean: If you spoke to my children, they would say she is an out and out workaholic. I do love something that keeps the brain ticking over, I gave up sport I used to play a lot of net ball until I was about 38, 39 gave that up. My sport now is watching the Rugby from a seat in the stand hopefully but I have my family is a steeped in Rugby for you know generations my grandchildren all play, they are all very very sporty apart from the girls this is the three boys not the two girls but, I guess my work my work life balance in terms of energy the last thing I did was the 90 kilometre walk on the Great Wall of China for charity (Craig: Wow!) so, I did some training for that that’s nearly 10 years ago now found that really difficult and said to myself you need to get out, you need to keep this walking up, you need to keep this exercise up, sorry, business took over so with all the roles that I undertake I don’t spend very much time on my own leisure apart from my children and I will go out for a meal or attend a show or theatre or whatever at least once every 6 weeks probably.
Craig: And that goes in the diary and that becomes sacrosanct.
Jean: That’s it.
Craig: Yeah okay, would you say I mean we keep having this internal debate about work life balance and I’m kind of like you I love what we do, keep thinking, keep doing, you know keep the brain ticking do you see that changing anytime soon or you still backing games you what you are doing with them they throws you (Inaudible) out?
Jean: Well I am just I am better I do have more relaxation time now and more time every Friday is sacrosanct because that’s my great granddaughters’ day, so I collect her from nursery she is 4 so that is one day when I do absolutely nothing other than my great granddaughters.
Craig: You have little check of the mobile?
Jean: No sneaky check and in fact my mobile now is just my telephone it doesn’t have the link to my laptop, the link to my email addresses, it’s my mobile telephone and on the Friday’s so, I guess I’m you know one fifth of a five day working week is absolutely phenomenal for me because it’s usually a seven day working week.
Craig: So, what would you do when she goes to school?
Jean: Probably find something else to do.
Craig: Work or would you keep it leisure?
Jean: No, I want to keep it leisure. I think years ago we did a project when we looked at the way that Germany managed it’s potential retirees from business and I can’t remember the name of the company we visited now but we went out to have a look at what they were doing because their pension program was really first class what they were doing was 5 years out from retirement, 5 years people were given 1 of the trainees within the organisation to work with over that 5 years they worked with a lot of the trainees etc. they were given external work to do with other companies entirely outside their field of expertise but within their field of passion so, if they had a particular passion for something that didn’t resonate with the business that was no problem they could still spend this time so, over that 5 years it culminated to the last day of employment they were actually not doing anything that was absolutely phenomenal.
Craig: Lot of that must have been big business there is a lot of investments for some to take over the firm.
Jean: Oh it was yeah, but it was a really, really positive program and of course many of those people who did retire went on to do other things anyway, their experience, their value that they added into the society as a whole was brilliant and I say because I have tried to retire on 3 occasions so, my claim to fame is I now have been resurrected more times than Jesus.
Craig: (Laughing) So on that note then we talk a lot in the book about how people as business owners generally don’t plan for their own financial freedom. I have come away from this word retirement we as business away from the word retirement over last couple of years I don’t think it’s about creating financial freedom so that you work if you want to and not because you have, to have you consciously during your journey plan to make sure that at some point you could or you retire if you don’t want to do and now you are doing out of choice.
Jean: You see that is where age and experience mattered to me because when I first started back to work after having my children, I had a fantastic boss he was absolutely brilliant, they introduced the pension scheme which was voluntary in those days and he said to me you have to join this pension scheme. I said I can’t afford it I have got three children I can’t afford it, so he said how much do you pay on spend on make up every week, how much do you spend on those stocking things, how much do you spend on clothes?
Craig: You wouldn’t get away with that now a days.
Jean: Absolutely not but in those days, he was trying to make me think about the things I was spending my money on so, you have you know I had a finite amount of disposable income that I could use for those leisure’s or you know really posh purchases in those days.
Craig: But what you thought the necessity years on.
Jean: Absolutely until I realised that they weren’t necessities you know I didn’t need that second suite when I already had a suite that I could wear that was fine for purpose or fit for purpose and he said to me it’s only this much per week out of your salary you benefit because even if you stay with the organisation 10 years you have still got a pot that you will putting in and he was much older than I at that stage so, I joined the pension scheme and then and in those days they were finer pensions schemes.
Craig: Yeah for our family.
Jean: So people say there was the golden days maybe they were but then we had a share as you earn scheme appear so of course this conversation was you need to join this, I can’t, you need to join this because you know this is the time to join at the beginning as the trajectory for the company is taking off and on the first pay out, I had was seven and half thousand pounds I bought us a holiday and a new car.
Craig: Okay, I thought there is gonna be story of you reinvesting into some.
Jean: No, I haven’t finished yet.
Jean: I bought us a holiday and a new car and I had to put some in my savings why did I have to put it in my savings because my youngest daughter when she had money given her, she would always put something aside and my eldest, my middle one unfortunately was a bit like me she would spend it all if she had it in her pocket but, it was really that family thing that you know I thought no I put a bit of this away so that’s how I started.
Craig: So, the lesson for those listening if you are not already is make sure you are putting something away for yourself for the future, would you agree with that?
Jean: Pay day is save day.
Craig: Pay day is save day absolutely for all 4 of that and I think to be politically correct now a days we were asking to look at the things you spend in the Starbucks and the eating out rather than maybe then make up drawer and the stocking is that everyone we be saying that certainly would. In the book we talk about the importance of recruiting the right people obviously, you have been involved in recruitment in number of ways leading teams and then the franchise as you kindly mentioned earlier, have you had a fail proof method now for recruiting given your experience.
Jean: I don’t think there is a fail proof method is there one of the best teams I ever put together was when I worked in cooperative retail. I knew two of the people that I brought into work with me but the other team were already there members of the team were already institute and we needed to put a succession plan in place because one of the things I have always done in the last 20 years is make sure that I within 6 months of joining an organization I liked to have identified my successor.
Jean: I think that’s really positive because it keeps you on your toes that individual is nurtured.
Craig: Do you let that person know?
Jean: Yes, but it’s over a period of time so, it takes me about 6 months to really be certain and if that person wants to go and do their own thing of course they can but the pleasure is in seeing that that realisation of where they are going and you can put those development plans in for any member of your team no matter. I mean, there were 35,000 staff across the region we have like 44 direct reports which was crazy but, none the less they could all have personal development programs and worked together. So, when you when you recruit I guess the first thing I would say in having have the failure in the franchise is, when you are recruiting in any organisation make sure that you understand what the role specification looks like, what the persons specification looks like, and in that I mean what the behaviours and values of that individual need to look like.
Craig: So how would you read that out Jean as the best challenge. I think recruiters a business owners face is people turn up to interview and they have got their game face on what key nuggets have you learnt along the way to help people get up beyond that that facade and find the real values what would you tips would you give?
Jean: I use some really quirky questions that are politically correct, but I also use a competency framework that is, is imbedded in behaviour we, I have used competency frameworks for about 40 years now.
Craig: For those who might not occurred a competency framework can you give us that?
Jean: It’s a framework that identifies what kind of behaviour you exhibit in achieving certain results and how you interact with people, what you expect from the business and the organisation, what are the values of the business how would they say that their own values resonate with that business and a lot can be gleaned if when you talk particularly at senior level, if someone at interview doesn’t say what are your values then I would certainly introduce that into the conversation because even for generation Z coming through where their approach to work is far different I think to that of when I first started work they seem to think of those you know intrinsic values of.
Craig: What you stand for?
Jean: Absolutely yeah, so I use a competency framework for behavioural analysis, I make sure that they have done some research and you would be amazed how many people sit in front of you and you say what do you know about the organisation. Well, I know you work you know you are here, and you have got this numbers are here but what do you know about the organization would you believe in this day and age there are some people don’t even bother to look.
Craig: I absolutely believe, I have seen it yeah.
Jean: Oh, right so those kind of do they bring that kind of have they done the research, do they know how to articulate their values? can they ask the basic questions about the values of the organisation? do they understand the vision and purpose of the organisation? have they spoken to anyone before they came in for the interview? and
Craig: Someone else in your organisation or someone whose been in the organisation or someone?
Jean: Both and I remember going someone a head hunter rang me for a particular job that I got to I can’t say which it was but they rang me and I said oh I am not sure about this never worked in that sector before so what I really liked to do is go in and spend a day in the organisation before I make my mind up because I don’t know whether it’s for me don’t know much about it so I went and spend a day and the HR director of the organisation said I am not sure how we are going to manage this chain because we have never had a conversation with anyone like this before so, it was new for them but that was something they adopted thereafter so they looked for people who would say you know can I spend some time with someone and I am talking about senior of course but, it’s the same for any individual no matter what level you are in an organisation there must be that kind of passion and want to do the job.
Craig: I’m conscious that we were getting a number of downloads of these podcasts now which is great I am conscious that we have you have talked a lot about C level recruitment there, can you give any top tips for someone who is about to take on their first role, take on their first employee where they need someone else, let’s assume it is not a senior level it is just coming and do a particular role any tips you can give them on apart from maybe asking about their values anything else you could share?
Jean: I think they have to be sure that the person wants the job for the right reasons because if someone comes in and says I work in 20 hours a week, I need something to make my 18 hours up so that I have got a full time job, that is not the correct way to go about things so, they still need to have that meaningful conversation with the individual and if it is a small organisation where you know you might be a one man band becoming a two man band or maybe a three girl band becoming a five girl band but, at that stage at that small level you have to make sure that you can get on with that individual and people say you know you should always never allow the halo you know recency factor to take over so, if you have met someone and you think they are the best things since sliced bread, don’t be kind of carried away with the fact that they have achieved that one success and they gonna replicate that when they come to you so, dig a bit deeper, talk to them until you can have a chat as we are because we have known each other for quite a while now so, I feel it’s easy to speak with you and to you so, you do that when you are taking on that one member of staff feel that you can have that conversation, feel that if your backs are against the wall you could rely on this person to be there with you.
Craig: So if you are managing the lead let’s say it’s a three girl band as you mentioned and let’s say they are taking on their first person do you think there is not the challenge in those situations where the person on the other side of the table maybe the conversation is hard to flow because this is their potential new boss their potential new manager, how do you get over that barrier would you say?
Jean: That’s stand the boss, isn’t it?
Jean: And if you have a boss and this again is where knowing yourself is really key because if you are the type of person who finds it difficult to speak to people then share that with the individual. There is nothing wrong in that I have worked with some brilliant people but making conversation was one of the hardest things that you could do as you become more experienced as a manager you can understand that they may compartmentalise their role so, they do not have to get on stuck in do their role and conversation to them is kind of what well, I don’t really want to participate in that because it’s not my style so, as a manager if you are not used to doing that have someone in with you how.
Craig: There comes the mentor thing again isn’t it?
Jean: Yeah, have someone it to sit in with you who can lead the conversation, who can begin to get that flowing conversation and who is good at asking the penetrating questions one of the things I used to say to a lot of people. I don’t know but I used to say what makes you angry? that came out of my experiences of working with people who were very dictatorial in their approach because quite often that kind of individual the slightest thing would trigger of you know a conversation that really wasn’t necessary the tone wouldn’t be correct, it certainly wouldn’t engender any feeling of camaraderie so, I guess that comes through because if a person knows what makes them angry, what they get frustrated with, and you understand that some of that might resonate with you.
Craig: Yeah, I can just imagine that I was thinking of you the new business you mentioned you’re starting and let’s say you are interviewing for your first member and I happen to be the person applying for the job if I have done a bit of research shouldn’t (Inaudible) who Jean Church is I might be sat here very struggling to articulate because I’m trying to impress someone like you so I was just trying to find out how you dream that and maybe in your and your business would you still be the person sat across the table would you call someone else in or is it someone else in the business who could do that?
Jean: No, it’s a new business.
Craig: So, you would be doing that?
Jean: So, I would be doing that.
Craig: I could just imagine if I have set opposite that might be a challenge I think your skills obviously would help disarm me but I just I am trying to see if there is anything give our listeners because I do feel I have stepped out of the interviews in Penguin outside, do you feel when I was first doing them that I maybe there was that fear factor that you know you are there you are the future boss potentially?
Jean: You can see that in an individual or can’t you? Even if you are not used to even if you are not used to recruiting and so that is in my view the managers responsibility to say you know we both here I have a need you believe you can fulfil that need let’s try as best we can to have a conversation that enables us both to find out about each other so, I guess my tip biggest tip would be if you have someone who has a reputation then and they are the manager then disarm that individual by saying that you both have a need, you are there to fulfil the purpose (43:00) so, you want them to be as challenging to you as you might be to them and I you know we have all been through when we try to ask the clever questions because we want to tie someone up.
Craig: I read it somewhere that that’s the question to ask.
Jean: Absolutely stupid and you can see that people might have a an array of questions that they written responses down to and one of the things I always say to them is, let’s put that to one side a minute, let’s just spend the first five minutes understanding each other, try tell you why I’ve started the business you tell me, why you want to join me what is it that makes you tick, what you think our challenges would look like, so it’s having that conversation upfront.
Craig: I just can’t do in all of that just that little gem of starting a question I have got a need you got it lets try and have a conscious just wish I had talked to you about this ten years ago. Jean now I think the take nothing else from today’s podcast. I think that’s a fascinating when you are interviewed just starting to bring things to a close then Jean, I’m conscious your time what three pieces of advice would you give to yourself you are starting this journey all over again?
Jean: Well I am starting the journey all over again.
Craig: True okay.
Jean: Get the finance right.
Craig: Okay, let’s stay on that for a second then if someone starting, they are in employment at the moment or are they are freelancing or whatever they are now gonna created a business what does that what do you think that means and what they need to be thinking about?
Jean: Think about getting a good accountant if you are going into the funding arena, think about someone who knows the funding arena so, getting the specialists that you know can help you through your weakest areas that’s the first thing. I do is make sure I have got that kind of support, make sure you have got your insurances right so, don’t start any venture without having insurance behind you.
Craig: You just work just simple things like public liability.
Jean: Key person.
Craig: Key person okay.
Jean: Key person public liability if you are a one-man band that’s quite dangerous if you have got if you build up a good portfolio but, you are the one working in the business and not on the business something happens to you in the early days things are gonna go belly up.
Craig: So, we are massive believers and obviously that’s what we do in the end there might be businesses, you haven’t got something simple like that in place to ensure their family ensure the business ensure key people where responsible profit is horrendously scaling us up with well. I can only speak for South Wales but yes huge, huge thank you for that I didn’t ask you to say that one just for the record.
Craig: Have you got experience you have seen that you can link that to, is that experience you have seen something happen to someone to some business?
Jean: No, but it’s from the study that I did with IOD.
Jean: When we talked about you know different types of organisations, we had lots of case studies about what can and can’t go wrong how to protect yourself?
Jean: And protect the people that you gonna take on this journey with you so, I guess it’s having the specialist in place, making sure your insurance is right and making sure that you love whatever you want to do because you gonna be knocking doors some of them will shut very firmly, one or two might open but, there will be times when if you haven’t got someone that you can share that the way that you’re feeling share that learning, share the good and the bad, and the indifferent than it’s a tough journey setting up a new business unless of course you have been gifted a lot of money and you would you want to put it to use by setting a new business up that’s the different scenario.
Craig: You’ve learnt there a lot on your journey around change management and culture any top tips on how to create good culture? How to lead change?
Jean: Leading change is a brilliant book by Daryl Conner “Managing At the Speed of Change” it’s a, it’s been around a long time that book but it’s, it’s got some fantastic practical tips in it about understanding what the change journey looks like particularly understanding people and the way that they react through change so, I think that’s one thing I would say, what was the last?
Craig: Culture sorry, I mean tips on how to build culture as you have been into big organisations you mentioned the corporate 350 plus people.
Jean: And there are various, various scenarios aren’t they so, if you are in a tried and tested environment and you want to change culture one of the things I’ve always done is used a set of suite of tools called human synergistic they have one of the best tools for understanding if you’ve been constantly changing things in the organisation and it’s not sticking they have got fantastic tool for a school for tool even for understanding where that change is gone wrong.
Craig: Right is that way on the where is there another book is that a?
Jean: No, no it’s a suite of tools human synergistic you have to become I was a practitioner in it but, you can attend their courses and you can use one of their practitioners to utilise that within the business so, there is culture measures in there, there is a huge amount of information on the web about it but, it is a fantastic suite of tools because it also runs individual measurement for behaviours for leaders so, you can run those tools across and individual department or an organisation in terms of understanding the culture, where it is going wrong, what’s not sticking, and perhaps pressing the leavers that you can to bring about that change. The other thing in terms of culture is you set the tone from the top so if there is something not right in your organisation with culture turn the mirror on yourself what is it about you and always remembering culture that you are being watched the minute you become a supervisor or a manager or you own the business you park your car outside and it’s one of the basic things that I always remember I had was lucky enough to have a parking space but, where I parked was right on the edge of the building and the wind was just absolutely crazy so, you have to hold on to the door to make sure it wasn’t ripped off and when I got out of that car I was new to the organisation and for the first couple of weeks when I walked in and said Good Morning to everyone they grunted so, I had I had enough of it within about three weeks and said look what is going on I say Good Morning you lot grunt as I’m walking past you what’s the problem. Well, we see the way you slam the door in the mornings so, you get out of the car so, always remember you are being watched whatever you do however you do it and the interpretation in culture can be manifest if you are the boss so set the tone from the top.
Craig: I hope you get you the parkers space in the building or they see you slam the door okay, we like to finish all our podcast with a couple of quick-fire questions, what book are you reading?
Jean: I brought it for you to see “The Wisdom Network” I’m half way through it it’s an 8 step process as it says on the front for identify, sharing and leveraging individual expertise, what it does if I read that network that book when I first started as I said I would have understand much better how to leverage that network for that organisation that I was trying to put together to recruit financial directors and but it’s a brilliant book.
Craig: Okay, what’s the best book you have read business wise to date you go to?
Jean: What’s my go to book it’s going to sound really strange because it’s not a business book, it’s a book that was written by a survivor of Auschwitz and it’s called “Man’s Search for Meaning”
Craig: Frankl, I suppose.
Jean: Yeah, ViKtor Frankl.
Craig: I have got it on my ‘to read list’ haven’t got to there.
Jean: Well, if you want to borrow it, I can loan it to you.
Craig: Oh no, I have bought it yeah haven’t gone to it, thank you.
Jean: That is my go to book why because it’s not he hasn’t written it in a way that you think yes there are some passages in there that you think oh gosh that’s you know that’s very challenging from the sensitivity a reading sensitivity perspective but it is not very much in there like that. It talks to about logo therapy which is a purpose behind what you are thinking and how you are thinking and sometimes when you are in you have a busy life, you are doing things day in day out, you don’t stop to think is there a mechanism that is forcing me down this thinking route, have I thought about the way I am thinking, can I disrupt my thinking, is there a purpose behind my thinking and I find that very useful in that book but it was profound when I read that book.
Craig: I will move it up my list what music you are currently listening to?
Jean: Oh, I love Country Mustard (inaudible 52:59)
Craig: Wow okay, what box-set or TV show is a must for you?
Jean: TV show has to be “Strictly Come Dancing” because I am an ex-ballroom dancer.
Craig: Alright okay then you can learn about Jean Church MBE today, any box sets.
Craig: No okay, who is your business idol?
Jean: Lord MacLaurin.
Craig: I don’t know who it be?
Jean: Ian MacLaurin was the chairman of Tesco in the late 70s, 80s absolutely phenomenal. He, I think from I could have been the trolley girl at a store and I would have known exactly what my purpose was, not just to serve my customers by making sure the trolley was there but, I knew we have to knock Sainsbury of that number one purge and no matter who you spoke to in the business after he’d taken over within about 7, 8 months everybody had that same mantra.
Craig: Wow, profound like that have he written a book?
Jean: Yes, “Tiger by the Tail”.
Craig: I have heard about that okay, well I just thank you for your time Jean, thank you for participating. I just summarise the key messages I took from there so Jean said to me I think one or two of our guests have said before about reflecting understanding why you did, what you did, what went wrong, and what went well, never stop learning which is something we talk about a lot in the book. If you go into a new market research your market was a big learning for Jean along the way ideas without action are worth nothing. I think top phrase for to take from today’s talk when you ever your interview in look at potential candidates and ask about their values and what they know about your values maybe ask new potential hires, what makes them angry some fantastic insight some insight there and if you haven’t already read “Mans Search for Meaning” anything you would like to add any final thoughts.
Jean: No, I have thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you very much indeed and I guess you have now made me whet my appetite to listen to more podcast.
Craig: Fantastic with the first one obviously being the business secret.
Craig: Thank you everyone for listening – Merry Christmas!
Jean: I hope you got that okay, it comes across, okay.
Craig: Problems but the worst one was.