One of my favourite things (you may know this already) is my football club, Liverpool FC. I have invested much of my time and my treasure into it and, in exchange, it’s given me countless leadership lessons. This season’s lesson from Liverpool is that the current team have only won their trophies (two at the time of writing) because of the depth of their squad.
You see, in anything that relates to teams, the power of the squad is everything. As a team transitions from a top down leadership style into a more collaborative one, squad is everything. A squad is more than just the players and the management, it’s about everyone playing a role that benefits the whole rather than a focus on the individual.
Like sport, business should be focussed around the whole, around purpose and everyone having a role in the team. You’ll have players the client sees and you’ll also have a squad of people behind the scenes making things happen.
At times in the journey, (we currently have a relatively small squad of twelve), things change and we have to adapt. In football terms, it might be that we discover that the left winger is actually a better left back (not left back in the changing room though!)
That is why we have built weekly ‘check ins’ for the business where we discuss where we are at in light of our purposeful message. As individuals we are all committed to building brands that inspire belief and create belonging, to become the best in their sector and go beyond expectations.
In my journey of building the team and helping other members of the team reach their goals I need to ensure that everyone is playing in their best position and ultimately performing at their very best, for the season they are in.
Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that is stupid. – Albert Einstein.
The media landscape is constantly changing and everyone needs to be in the right place and not out of sorts. Having regular meetings helps address those needs and allows us to move the business forward while revealing where our next hires and opportunities live.
The power of the squad as an underlying principle helps us make the right choices to maximise the potential of each team member by learning from the past (reviewing projects), understanding what ‘now’ looks like and what ‘next’ could be in the future.
Today, I’m building multiple businesses which gives me the ability to find the right fit for team members across the group. So, if someone wants to get more involved in tech, Cre8ion might not be the right vehicle but Di9ital (a software company I co-founded) might be. The key is seeing the opportunities for people as they grow and being focussed on serving the members of the squad, rather than being focussed solely on the needs of the organisation.
A football team’s goal is to win, but to get there the many parts of the squad have to be managed effectively. Thankfully, in business we are not competing with twenty other clubs for a title, everyone can win, but the principles of winning can be bought into your business for success.
Here are five principles that I believe will help you build a more purposeful team.
Be very clear on why and how your business delivers impact.
It has been said that today’s generation is looking for work with meaning, yet, Covid has changed that. People across the generations want more. Covid got people rethinking what was important. Furloughing people with the threat of losing a job that they had been doing faithfully for twenty years left many people feeling vulnerable. Today, that side hustle, has become THE priority for security and a job that is working people to death for 18 hours a day has become an irrelevance.
Cre8ion, are very clear on what we stand for, and that allows the right people to sit at our table. There are things we just won’t work on, and practices that we do our best to avoid. We believe that other businesses must have clarity for people to follow the cause or they become a cause of concern.
Give people the room to lead.
Letting go of power is the quickest way to power up your team. Although I am involved from a strategic standpoint to some extent, the methods and execution are not dictated. That allows others to stand up and be counted. Leading together, celebrating success and taking responsibility to protect the brand when things don’t go so well. We don’t have a super hero complex (although maybe I did have one in the past). Any problem, I can fix (I enjoyed it), but now it’s about the team finding solutions and they have got rather good at it.
The founder needs to become ‘insights driven’.
Carrying 25 years worth of knowledge and IP I realised for the first time that not everyone knows what I know. I take it for granted that the lessons I’ve learned are not common knowledge or even common sense. Writing a book, after my good friend @camilitanuttall challenged me to do so, forced me to commit what I’ve carried for years onto paper. Now, I’ve also realised that there is more… When you lead with insights, you have more to discover and more to teach. For this reason, I will be running masterminds, giving people the insights that they wouldn’t necessarily get from a lineal brand process. So, as much as equipping businesses, I want to impact leaders to lead with purpose. On Thursday July 7th 2022 we will be hosting an event for people looking to build purposeful connections. When you are connected to your HeartSet, you’ll find it easier to discover who needs to be on your journey. So if you are a founder, look forward to more insights, and the help you need to discover your purpose!
Make room for tomorrow in the midst of your day to day.
One of the special things our brand marketing agency, Cre8ion, does is invest in tomorrow using research and development days that happen every two weeks. We have made room to innovate, which has lead us to explore what the MetaVerse actually means, to discover that NFT’s are more than art and we’ve been continuing in our unfolding brand automation experiment. You see, if a business doesn’t invest in tomorrow then when it finally arrives, it’s become yesterday.
So our team are split over the those tasks. It is outside of our comfort zones, but so was WordPress and teaching platforms, apps, films etc. You have to start somewhere… a five minute video promo for one client, turned into a thirty minute documentary for British Airways. Learn to enjoy the process and be a content learner. As our expertise grew in one area we even launched a new company, Di9ital, a massive tech opportunity, and we continue to scale!
Avoid working alone, always take someone with you.
How did my team get good at working with clients? I took them along. They learned that clients were not scary but mission driven people looking to change the world for the better. When those barriers broke, all of a sudden my team realised that our clients are partners in making the world a better place. Now, I get it, sometimes you need alone time, but the strength of your team is in reproducing leaders for today and for the future.
Some leaders will be with us for many years and others will seek new experiences, but because we have a commitment to help people lead we have the ability to continually reproduce purpose powered people. This approach has helped me to launch businesses after Cre8ion (Di9ital, Hum4ns and IntroBiz Bristol), and take the stage to share my experiences. When you have great people on the journey the possibilities are infinite.
I’ve said all that to say this…
This weekend Liverpool FC may or may not crown there incredible season with a third trophy and even have the chance for a fourth. ‘The quad squad’ is now becoming a thing, but what got them to where they are now is the power of squad. Incredible leadership, yes, but more importantly an incredible team.
If you want the best for your business learn the power of never working alone!
Our client, Dronecloud, is not only the first ever platform in the industry to handle the real business of running a drone operation, but they are working with a wide range of partners on some of the most transformational projects across the drone technology space. Have a look at their new website by clicking the image below.