On Wednesday the 3rd July, I attended the Manchester Digital leadership training workshop at the Manchester technology centre for the day. Being in a new operations management role for six-seven months now, I felt it would be really beneficial for myself. Since joining Embryo Digital in January 2019 with a team of six, we now have a much larger team with 14 members of staff. This can have a big impact on the day to day for employees; culturally, having new personalities in the mix, and managing an increase in workload etc. Therefore I think it is important to be aware of any skills needed to help manage these changes. Here are some of the interesting things that the course taught me in order to improve my management and leadership skills…
The Golden Circle and Value Proposition
For the first half of the day, the course was probably more tailored to the business owners in the room (interestingly 2 out of the 10 people in the room were employees as opposed to owners/ directors, me being one of them, which I found rather intimidating at first). However, it was reassuring to know that we were all there for the same reasons and I actually thought it worked out better as I could get to hear people’s stories of their own businesses which was fascinating.
The first activity focused on what was called ‘The Golden Circle’ (see image below). This looks at your ‘what’ you do, ‘how’ you do it, and most importantly ‘why’ you do it. This is most commonly explained to people in this exact order however, Simon Sintek discusses how Apple compare to other businesses in the way they write their value proposition and why they stand out so much from their competitors. See below:
If Apple were like everyone else, their marketing message might sound like this…
“We make great computers, they’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?”
BUT, this is how they actually sound…
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers, want to buy one?”
When I heard this I couldn’t believe the level of impact this had by simply changing the order in which we say it. Interestingly, since then I have seen this model being used by other people for their businesses within a presentation at a BNI group just last week.
Why is this model so good for a digital agency?
I enjoyed learning about this model so much because straight away I could see the benefits of putting it to use when speaking to our own SEO, and PPC clients, and learning about what their own value proposition is. It really helps get the message across to users about why they do what they do in order to attract more customers for them. Is the phrase ‘people buy people’ coming to mind? It did for me.
The DiSC Model
For the afternoon session, it focused on managing people in the workplace and being aware of the different personalities we can come across in order to help us learn how to approach/ handle certain situations.
In the 1920’s William Moulton Marston carried out research, which today, has been developed into what’s known as the DiSC model. This tool provides us with a simple and easy way to assess behavioural styles (see image below). The DiSC model classifies people’s behaviour into four different types; D= dominance, i= Influence, S= steadiness, and C= conscientiousness. It also looks at an individuals preferences in two ways:
- Task vs people
- Fast paced vs moderate paced
By understanding the DiSC model, and acknowledging that everyone has different preferences, you can improve your interpersonal relationships and manage team members in a way that plays to their strengths. It can also become a nice team building technique by gathering the team together and informing each other of how different we all are and letting us know the most effective way to communicate with each other based on these characteristics.
‘Millennials’ in the workplace
Millennials are those who are born in and from the year 1980-2000 and are often accused as being entitled, lazy and tough to manage. However, do we ever ask ourselves why they may be like this rather than simply just blaming them for it? Do we ever try to understand the reasons behind these characteristics? Simon Sintek explains why, at no fault of their own, they have acquired this kind of behaviour and attitudes:
- The presence of social media allowing us to become addicted to the need for instant gratification.
- Growing up being rewarded for simply participating rather than winning.
- Being told by parents that they can go out in the world and get anything they want.
As employers it is now our job to help coach them and understand this behaviour in order to help them achieve things and be successful within their careers. We can use things like the DiSC model to help us do just this.
I will be writing more blogs based on the course sessions 2 and 3, where we had guest speakers, looked at the future of digital as well as A, B, and C class employees. I have taken away so much from this leadership course and have since actively tried to put it to practise within the workplace. I highly recommend anyone (no matter what your job title is) to keep a look out for sessions like this, you never know what you might take away from it!