Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Andy Reid

Andy Reid – Founder @ Genius Box

Andy Reid is one of those people you work with once and you collaborate again and again.

Andy’s style is one of a kind, he and his team help to facilitate change within businesses from global household brands to brands that are looking to innovate or change the direction of their company. Andy and I dive into a number of brilliant topics, including why leadership is more than just being the person at the front barking orders, why storytelling works and why we have to bring joy back when fixing the broken world of work.

Andy drops some brilliantly nostalgic references so get ready to laugh, nod along and take numerous notes to help improve your workplace.

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Why Listen: Having helped some of the biggest names in business Andy will help you understand that business is about people and why workshops are so powerful for businesses that want to succeed.

What Andy and I discuss:

  • Leadership and the challenges of leadership
  • The lack of joy in work and bringing it back
  • The science of how the mind works
  • The power of storytelling
  • The art of running brilliant workshops for executives
  • Facilitating the right environment for the best ideas to flourish
  • Creating voices for everyone not just the HiPPO
  • Why leaders has to inspire

Andy’s Key Quote

Show Notes

Andy Reid Bio:

GENIUS BOX is on a mission to inspire people to think and act differently in the broken world of work.

We specialise in Vision & Strategy, Project Facilitation and ongoing capability building.

Prior to GENIUS BOX, Andy worked for ?What If! Innovation in the Learning Team, the Mind Gym as Solutions Director, Head of Innovation for a Bank and before all that, a Sixth Form and Secondary School Teacher, examinations officer and subject advisor for the UK govt.

He and the team have unlocked, taught and facilitated the creative process for over 10,000 people worldwide for 60+ global brands across Banking, F&B, FMCG and Technology sectors.

He combines social science, practical learning, engineering disciplines and a smattering of popular culture in a blended approach on unlocking insights, ideas and action.

Andy holds a Masters in Educational Psychology, is a published author, is married with 2 children, enjoyed three surgeries from skiing accidents, owns problematic sports cars and knows absolutely nothing about football.

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Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Andy Reid Full Transcription

The transcript was automatically created by our tool descript and may have a couple of errors.

[00:00:00] Danny: [00:00:00] Obviously we know each other, but the listeners don’t want, wanna give them your overview, why you do what you’re doing, who you are and what motivates you.

[00:00:07] Andy: [00:00:07] Yes, yes, of course. I’ll use. I’ll use something that I tried once before. See if you can give me some feedback on whether this works or not, but do you remember the amazing Phil Collins?

[00:00:19] Danny: [00:00:19] I do.

[00:00:21] Andy: [00:00:21] Right. So Phil Collins, he’s got a band and he collaborates and he’s also a solo artist. And , my band is the genius box. So I founded that 11 years ago and there’s a big team of us and there’s about 30 of us, I think, around the world. And we go, and design and deliver projects that leaders want to happen in their business.

[00:00:45] Um, and that could be vision and strategy work. It could be project facilitation, it could be growing people’s capability, helping them make creative connections at work. So that’s the band, the genius box. And I had that up , and when it comes to collaboration, I would also partner up with senior leaders and work with them, developing new business ideas.

[00:01:08] A bit of a suit. of I don’t want to say executive coaching because I’m not a coach, I don’t have the patience for coaching. But I will, I will work closely with leaders and try and help them understand what it is that they want to do personally, in their business, help them articulate their personal visions and translate that into the work that they do.

[00:01:28] And as a solo artist, I will facilitate creative sessions online. Just to help people within business make new connections.

[00:01:38] So at the heart of everything that I do, Dan is helping people make new connections, to inspire them, to think differently about the work they do, , at home and at work. So there you go.

[00:01:51] How was that?

[00:01:52]Danny: [00:01:52] , I can, I can safely say I’ve worked to Vandy and he helped me at a previous organization. So he and his , Avengers as he called it. But. Definitely data. And I’ve never worked with anyone internally or externally that enables conversation as much and as, as easily as you do. So,  take that as a, as a big compliment.

[00:02:14] Andy: [00:02:14] Thank you. Well, it’s a lovely way to start my week. I’ll happily listen to your stroke my ego for. The next bit of minutes. Brilliant. Yeah. Sorry. And there was a, there was another part of your question was why, why it is that I do what I do is

[00:02:29] Danny: [00:02:29] That’s right?

[00:02:31] Andy: [00:02:31] Think this is all about what else I started, because it’s the ultimate expression of personal creativity.

[00:02:37] Isn’t it starting your own business, I suppose. But I do always, I’ve always enjoyed being in the company of other people. I enjoy watching people solve problems. I enjoy being in that creative process. I enjoy I’m fascinated. Why the, the science of how the mind works and how that gets hindered or amplified in the world of work.

[00:03:01] So it seems logical that if I could build a life around it, that I could lead at home and lead without this, then that would be a very fulfilling way to work. So the world is full of problems and for the solutions. And if I can be in that mix and if I can contribute to that narrative in a kind of productive way, then that’s a life well lived and I guess at the heart of all my business endeavors are, what can we do in this situation right now to make better connections so that people will find joy actually in the work that they do and would one of the quickest ways to get joy is to create something. And I was watching my kids. They, you know, when they were young, growing up, making things, they would have joy instantly.

[00:03:46] And it just, just seems to me, there’s a lack of joy in work and it does happen, but it just takes a long time to get that. So if we can get joy back into work, that’s good as well.

[00:03:57] Danny: [00:03:57] And with a lot of  the joy, is there like a part of your secret sauce that you’re willing to share? Or is there something that you think that will pull joy out of anyone’s day or, or work life?

[00:04:10] Andy: [00:04:10] Well, my joy, I used to be a teacher and it’s funny. Uh, on channel four recently, educating Essex is like a rerun. Isn’t it? I mean, that’s broken was on 15 odd years ago.

[00:04:26] Danny: [00:04:26] Yeah, it’s funny. It was really interesting.

[00:04:28] Andy: [00:04:28] Brilliant. And I was watching it with my kids. Cause the first time I saw it, I didn’t have kids.

[00:04:33] And now I have kids of that age and we’re all watching this as a family and listening to the teachers there, Vox pops about their responsibility. And how they interpret the kind of the mantle of responsibility that society has put upon them. It’s made me think about what is the responsibility that I have when a business leader, hands, me, his or her particular innovation challenge.

[00:05:00] It could be, you know, a team brand building project, or facilitating a vision and strategy workshop, or a long series of events that ultimately lead up to a program of work happening in business.

[00:05:14] And I’ve been thinking our they’ve got choice. Haven’t they, these leaders, they could go to a range of agencies and a range of consulting firms, but they’ve chosen us because of my honesty, convinced them either newly or because it’s repeat work that are off formula brings that element of surprise and joy.

[00:05:32] And I think it’s, it’s a mix that we work hard at of understanding the client.

[00:05:39] And understanding what they want to do, but without trying to S w w we can’t solve it, I’ll never know as much about the client’s world as they do, but I can understand a lot about how to solve a problem. We try and add in a bit of social science so that we can just make them think a little bit differently because somebody, somewhere else is definitely solved that problem before I’m convinced of that.

[00:06:01]And we throw in a bit of a popular culture a bit of nostalgia, you know, references to TV or film or theater or music, something to help people make those connections.

[00:06:14] And if it’s really expressed in a, in an accessible way with pictures and stories and music and drawings and all of these simple activities, I think that makes joy.

[00:06:26] I think that can be a joyful way to work and inspiring way to work. And I hope that our work sticks out from emails and PowerPoints and Excel sheets, because those are important, right? They help move information around a business, but they’re not brilliant tools to collaborate. They’re not tools to help you have ideas.

[00:06:45] I can’t have an idea of a PowerPoint or an Excel sheet or an email, but I can have an idea from a conversation with someone. I can have an idea if I listened really hard to a leader and not interrupt them and just allow that free flow of conversation. I think that’s, it’s those little bits of new that I think are the value adding pieces of our experience.

[00:07:09] I hope that that’s the case.

[00:07:11] Danny: [00:07:11] It’s definitely something that I’ve obviously personally experienced and had some experience being recommended and speaking to some of your other Avengers. It’s something you and the team uniquely could, uh, is been able to get everyone involved. And everyone been able to ideate because of so many people that believe that they can’t just come up with ideas.

[00:07:31] If you facilitate that far better than many people that I’ve, I’ve sort of experienced before helping myself in different workshops. Is there a bank? Yeah. Is it have a perfect work day for you? Is there something that you, was it workshop based? Is it talking to leaders? what’s your perfect way.

[00:07:51] Andy: [00:07:51] I think it’s obviously wake up at six in the morning, you know, breakfast with, you know, George Clooney then get interviewed by radio four for desert island desks. That’d be quite cool day. But no, my my days are perfect day. I think making progress, just making a little step. Yeah. Forward in something.

[00:08:13] If there’s, I don’t know, maybe there’s a dozen things going on in my world at any given time. And lay down in front of me. They’re a bit like a graphic equalizer. And for young listeners to the show, you need to look what those up is on the internet. But if I can just slide some of those channels up a little bit, make a little bit of progress. Variety, I think is important. One doing one thing all day will make me quite tired and itchy pretty soon. So it’s good to have a two or three things that are a bit , different in a day. That’s that makes for a perfect.

[00:08:45] Because then last I’m thinking about one thing or doing one thing I can make connections about the other.

[00:08:51] I know the mind, the way that the mind works, that’s quite good to do , and you were saying earlier about you were very kind Dan saying that we’re good at making, helping people make connections or genuinely believe that absolutely. Everybody can have ideas because they, they do it all the time in the way that they lead their lives.

[00:09:10] Yeah. They’re family, friends and loved ones. It’s just, sometimes they forget about that when they’re hooked up in the world of work. But it is a cliche. Everyone can have an idea, but you genuinely can. I’ve not yet met anyone that can’t make a new connection given the right circumstances. So if I can remind myself of that in a perfect day.

[00:09:30] Yeah.

[00:09:32] Danny: [00:09:32] It’s really, it’s an, it’s a fascinating point. You said, I completely agree. Anyone can have ideas. I think some of the best workshops that I’ve ever participated in or hosted is one that really screams out , the I ran in Germany and it was around people just don’t have the connection with other people that help nurture and bring out different ideas.

[00:09:54]You tend to just work with the same colleagues or it’s on the same projects. So you don’t actually you’ll instinctively take a role within that group. But one thing in your workshop do is take different people from around the organization and that enables them to come up with different ideas or think differently.

[00:10:12] And that’s something that I think you do really well. Is there should be something deliberate or people should make a deliberate action to integrate people differently and connect them differently within organizations to enable them to have better work or deeper connections or more, more cognitive dissonance?

[00:10:29] Andy: [00:10:29] Yes. I think it’s important to mix project teams up. I think that we’re all aware of the science of diverse thinking. I think that can get a little that strength can get overdone by people selecting complete randoms, just to tick the diverse thinking box. It won’t work. You if we’re having an idea on how, you know, a project about getting more power from hydrogen fuel cells, don’t just grab hold of a teenage skateboarder and bring them in because then you’ve ticked your, your diverse thinking box.

[00:11:03] You have to think. What’s at the heart of the challenge that we’re trying to solve, where else, or who else has solved a challenge similar to this before, and then bring people from that world in, I think that’s a short circuit, a lot of waste, but you’re only, you only need a tiny bit of difference in order to make new connections.

[00:11:24] You don’t necessarily need big, different thinkers in order to make. Oh, I days it’s not, it’s not directly proportional your sort of naive experts as it were, or your, your, your guests for the day, the further they are away from your project, won’t guarantee a weird and wacky idea.

[00:11:46] Remember, it’s, it’s just something that somebody says or a story that someone shares or an article that someone’s recently read or podcasts that someone just heard.

[00:11:57] You just need that injection of new. And I inferred in your story there then, you know, project teams, because they’re with each other all the same time that they get into the rhythm of homogenizing, don’t they, they read the same things and they start to talk about the same topics all the time. And that that worldview becomes particularly team centric.

[00:12:17] So all the time you just try and break that, that worldview, just adding a tiny percentage of difference into the mix a bit like dropping calls. Into a pint of water, right? You only need a little bit of cordials don’t you for the whole thing to be affected. So just, that’s a simple analogy. I think that

[00:12:39] Danny: [00:12:39] I’m definitely going to borrow it. cordial analogy. I might even have to record me doing it just to add different effects.

[00:12:46] Andy: [00:12:46] Yeah. Yeah. Not pimms, like don’t start chucking, don’t start chucking in all sorts of flavors because you just end up with a really messy project. There you go.

[00:12:56]Danny: [00:12:56] This, isn’t a question I would have probably planned, but I know you have over the punches we’ve we have different teams, different makeups and different organizations, obviously you help. I know you’ve helped the biggest to it up mid tier to smaller businesses and some of the really big ones. You’ve take them on a journey almost, and your workshops are really fascinating and put together. And I’ve observed you guys for, for about half an hour before the session starts and it’s methodical the way that you deliver them of the words with each other numerous time.

[00:13:28] Do you think a, there’s a way that you can, there’s obviously hippo. So the highest paid person’s opinion  often counts the most in your workshops, you typically try and reduce that down or help other people integrate into the, the workshop and have a bigger voice. Do you think that’s something that you’re, it’s a conscious thing that you do or something that you work on the group dynamics and understand that once you spend a little bit time.

[00:13:55]Andy: [00:13:55] Um, so the question is about how do we manage the hippos? Yeah .

[00:13:59] Danny: [00:13:59] And how do you sort of get the best out of people that don’t necessarily have don’t feel like they always have a voice or does the  same level of voices as a HiPPO?

[00:14:11] Andy: [00:14:11] Yeah, so it’s, it is con it is, uh, uh, a conscious part of the disease. Is over a pill, let’s say an intervention three days, like three or four days in during that time, I will make sure. And behind the scenes, the team, and I’ve worked out how to make sure that everybody has time to incubate thinking an individual reflection. There’s such a lot of that that needs to go on.

[00:14:37] That doesn’t happen in business. People just need time to think about that. That’s why I believe I’m satisfied. The brainstorms don’t work, you know, quick after lunch, everybody come up with ideas to solve the business. It’s just, it’s not going to happen. They don’t sit there at work. Having epiphanies instantly. So why should it happen on a forced project? So time for people to think and digest what’s being heard during the intervention. So overnight thinking homeworks, this is a particular time. Then I’ll make sure that everybody has worked in pairs or groups of three so that they can hear their colleagues and calibrate their colleagues’ reactions to things.

[00:15:17] And they can then work out how they’re thinking in comparison to other people. So I think lots and lots of pair work is good. Then there’s group works and by group, I mean four or five people, anything bigger than four or five it’s one person’s talking, everybody else is listening. Isn’t it just think of an intimate dinner?

[00:15:36] You wouldn’t all two sofas next to each other with four or five people on it is a perfect size because everyone’s sharing the app. Anything bigger than that. It’s,

[00:15:44] Danny: [00:15:44] it’s a lecture

[00:15:44] Andy: [00:15:44] it’s not exactly. And then those lecture pieces, they’ve set pieces that where broadcast information is given to the team. A few of those at the start and end of each day to kind of set the scene, some things up or give important instruction for all.

[00:16:00]When the hippos. And they are engineered so that their journey is individual reflection, pair work in groups, and they are part of the process from the inside that I think that goes a long way to let them feel welcome. A lot of people go, oh, I probably leaders as they walk in a room and everybody clams up.

[00:16:21] What I think, well, what’s it like for the leader, everybody walks in the room and everybody clams up. That’s just awful for them. Isn’t it? We can break down those perceived , hierarchies and social awkwardnesses by just giving clear instructions and say, everybody is welcome on this particular part. The problem solving process in your groups.

[00:16:42] I want person A to do this and person B to do that and then swap over. It doesn’t matter what part of the business you’re from. You’re not going to carry into that particular situation anything that’s going to hinder the process. So clear instruction, mix things up. And then if there is a senior that does need to say something, then it’s, it’s framed in a way where he or she has like a fireside chat at the start of the project.

[00:17:08] And everybody can just get all those questions out, get their voice into the room earlier then they’re released through many issues. Aren’t they just, yeah. Just thinking carefully about the design of your intervention will really mitigate a lot about any perceived behavior. Actions of a leader will have on other people.

[00:17:31] Danny: [00:17:31] It’s a nice segway into the leadership style questions.   . What’d you think the meaning of leadership is

[00:17:40] Andy: [00:17:40] Crikey, the meaning of leadership? I’m going to start. If I could put it down into a cheesy word, I would say inspire.

[00:17:49] Danny: [00:17:49] Perfect.

[00:17:49] Andy: [00:17:49] And I’m thinking when I have, I’m thinking of the differences when I have been led in man.

[00:17:55] Dan back in, in, back in the day, I’ve had lots of managers and a handful of leaders and the leaders, I would, I would stay up late at night for, or get up early for and cross town by foot, into my blisters room or shoes because I was inspired to help them.

[00:18:15]and he, or she. Bestowed upon me, the expectation that something great was within me, that I thought was leadership.

[00:18:23] I’m just, I’ve become something bigger than I am because of you was the impact that a leader had on me. And when that wasn’t there, I realized I was being managed, you know, don’t do this. Say that full of it. It was just instructions. And that, that sense of autonomy had been taken away from me, or I had lost autonomy and I’ve decided to take it away from other people.

[00:18:45]I think, I think the impact of the leader is makes someone else feel so much more than what they feel without them.

[00:18:56] Danny: [00:18:56] It’s perfect. Yeah that’s one that I think the difference between leadership and management is so vital in and i think a lot of people that think they are a leader but then they can’t they can’t even manage to manage.

[00:19:08] And the more and more that we move. Towards like a hybrid world. Some people working in, some people working out at the office, I think leaders are going to have to be made and managers are going have to sort of become coaches and mentors. And if they can’t, then they shouldn’t be a manager.

[00:19:26] Andy: [00:19:26] Yeah. I can’t see that the, the, the, the evolve world needing much management or managers, I think there’ll be a need for a lot more leadship. To set the parameters of what what’s expected and what can, and can’t be done, but how you get there, that’s over to you. You know, I think that that’s that’s leadership territory, isn’t it?

[00:19:46] Whereas management, I think is, yeah. Following that following process and ticking boxes and making sure that checks and balances have been,  spotted, but yeah, that’s, that’s a glass of wine conversation.

[00:20:02] Danny: [00:20:02] Obviously you said inspire is a great leadership trait. Do you think there’s any others that stand out from all of, your experience in years with different leaders and different companies?

[00:20:13] Andy: [00:20:13] Um, well, I’m, um, I’m sharing traits, not, I would never say I’m a good leader. I think I’m awful actually, but I’m thinking my answers based on people that our leaders I’ve seen in, in projects and workshops, and I’ve seen hundreds, right? Because they’re often there at the start. Well, the good ones are there, the start middle and end of all these subjects and people that know bouncing off them and watching their behavior. So I’ve observed masses of leaders.

[00:20:42] I think the ones that I remember they laugh. They have a sense of humor. They don’t, they don’t take things seriously. They certainly don’t take themselves. Because they can see that this is all life’s rich tapestry and that they’re, that they’re not going to please everybody in order every day.

[00:21:01] I remember one leader said, oh, because I’ve got so many people asking me for things, I have to make a conscious decision. Who is it that I’m unfortunately going to upset that day and let them know before the day begins just to have that human understanding, I thought was, was, was amazing.. So sense of humor, that sense of empathy, that awareness of their own impact on other people.

[00:21:24] The ability I think for, to be reflective about their actions, I think is makes a great leader and reflexive, you know, change, change their plan in the moment. Um, great storytellers, people, I think, remember stories about people. So when Jenny did this and when Sue did that and when Claire did this, it’s not about when Monica. Like companies are made of people. So I think great leaders tell stories about people and often you can, you can infer or I’ve decided to infer that they’re telling stories about their own personal struggles.

[00:22:00]Yeah. Humor, storytelling, honesty, and the ability just to go, do you know what I fucked up then

[00:22:06] Danny: [00:22:06] a hundred percent,

[00:22:07] Andy: [00:22:07] sorry guys like that, that genuine Fallot fallibility and you can see when that’s trying to be false. Because they’ve read a book about who you sell for. So they go through something wrong deliberately and try and be authentic. And it’s just rubbish. You can spot that model off corner.

[00:22:24]Danny: [00:22:24] There’s definitely leaders that, that lean into certain traits and there’s others that will read it in a book and believe that they have to wear it.

[00:22:32] And after they have to be seen to experience it, but whether they truly believe it or not, I don’t know if that’s the difference between authentic leaders and bad managers.

[00:22:42] Andy: [00:22:42] Where you can just smell. You can just, I think you can just smell it instantly. There’s some he jar, he just walked into a coffee shop. You and I, before the recording, we were talking about coffee about me and you just walk into a sort of independent coffee shop.

[00:22:58] You get a sense of the place. You get a sense of the vibe instantly. And it’s not one thing is it it’s many things. And I guess you’d have to pull it apart. Maybe it’s the temperature or the lighting or the sound or the proximity of the furniture. It’s the same with a leader. You just, you can just pick up whether this person needs.

[00:23:16] Seconds is someone that you want to follow or believe, or even if they’re clumsy and a bit awkward with their language, you can just sense their intent. And I can’t, I can’t imagine someone can fake intent for a long time without being spotted.

[00:23:36] So those are the leaders. That have inspired me, the ones that are just totally consistent with what they do , and it’s not all reassuring or overly worked or professional. They’re just, they’re just people I want to hang out with you think, oh, if I saw you on the other side of the street, I’d wave at you and I want to run over and say, hello. I think that’s a good measure. Isn’t it?

[00:24:00] Danny: [00:24:00] I think the most charismatic leaders or the best leaders are ones that you w you would make time for. So, if they say, have you got a minute, you’d make a minute or five minutes. And if there’s an opportunity to just hang out with them and you’d learn so much from them, if it’s a true leader, I think if you wouldn’t make the time for them and you don’t feel like you would follow them exactly what you said.

[00:24:25] Yeah. I think that’s. That’s the true sign for me of a leader. But when you, when you think of a leader, is there one that Springs to mind to you? It doesn’t have to, you don’t have to name names or, or if there’s some, a famous or from history is,

[00:24:40] Andy: [00:24:40] oh, no. Well, I’ve never, yeah. I’m going to cite some famous historical figure who I’ve never met and apparently did this.

[00:24:49] Cause these are the, these are the documents written about them now. I’ll, I’ll go close to home. Okay. All them, my old boss let’s just do initials JT. So he typified the description. You’ve just given on, I remember one day walking past the office and it was a glass door office, you know, those sort of corner offices where it’s all like I can it’s, I could stay up to his eyeballs and paperwork or something.

[00:25:17] And he had that don’t come in energy about it. Me being there, open the door or tapped on the door and he got five, you got five minutes. Like this held my hand up five minutes. Okay. And he kind of looked at his watch and shook his head, but then he, he caught my eye again and said, come in, come in, come in.

[00:25:32] He said, what is he? I said, oh, you know, have you got five minutes? Not really. But two hours later we were still talking and we had left the office and we were walking around the streets of London talking out particularly. And it had just happened looking back on it, it, it just happened in it. What was incredibly important to him two hours ago, who vanished.

[00:25:57] And I was made to feel the most important person in the world. I thought that was a brilliant piece of leadership looking back on it, but it just felt natural. It was only later in the day, I realized that he’d given up such a lot on his plate that morning to deal with me. And I wondered if other people would have had the same experience.

[00:26:13] I felt, I thought that that’s what leadership is. Well, you just sort of swept up in it all. I want to say he was a good ball.

[00:26:22] Danny: [00:26:22] Do you think that if you’d have gone back and needed another five minutes a day, would he have made it?

[00:26:29] Andy: [00:26:29] Yeah. Yeah. And he always had, and it was interesting. Cause I think deliberate, I deliberately, I wanted to minimize the amount of time that I have.

[00:26:41] Cause he said like, you’re in this organization, I want this to happen. How you do it is up to you. You know, a couple of rules don’t do this, don’t do that. There has to be legal, ethical, and compliant, but other than that, the way you go, well, I respond really well to that piece of freedom. So I didn’t want to keep asking permission all the time and I’d send a little weekly email at the end of the week saying, these are the things that I’ve done this week that expect to reply to that one pager.

[00:27:09] So I want you to keep my effort on his world quite light. So when I did tap on the door and said, have you got five minutes? I guess he might have inferred that it was important. He said a two way thing, perhaps

[00:27:23]Danny: [00:27:23] when I think of leaders in the past or one that is a leader, there’s a couple of people. I wouldn’t say there’s a couple of where I have worked. We’ve been around and, and for, and they were very deliberate and crafting and the environment around them, the people around them, and they were in there. They had only had one business before and it was, it was their own business and they would hire people very deliberately on what they would add and how they could improve people around them.

[00:27:54] And for me, that’s what leads. A leader sort of Springs out to be, even if it’s a leadership team and they knew their strengths and weaknesses. I wonder if you think a weakness in a leader is, is important, not necessarily showing it all the time, but do you think being able to recognize weaknesses are as a leadership strength for a trait that people should have?

[00:28:17] Andy: [00:28:17] Yeah. know thy self, yeah. Personal insight, your, your, your fallibilities your limits. We call it, we call them weaknesses or strengths and weaknesses, but we can’t all be brilliant at everything going back to that graphic equalizer, we can’t all be 10 on everything can be because then everything’s distorted.

[00:28:40] It can’t be right. It can’t be sustained. I think a good leader has that self-awareness to know where he’sor her’s limits are,  I can’t think about, I can’t speak on behalf of others. I know I’m not. Okay. Well, I’ve got a picture in my head about things done. I’m not necessarily that community communicative or the Playmaker, you know, it’s I’ve, I’ve got this picture in my head.

[00:29:07] I know all the details. Let’s just go, just follow my errr. I’m Mr. Control freak.  But it’s because I’ve got set standards and I don’t want to slow down and explain it to them. Did not make me very good the leadership because I’d constantly be leading people behind because they’d be in the dark. But it’s only because I’ve been given loads of feedback and done all of those tests that show me where that particular dark spot is.

[00:29:32] But I know that there’s no point me working actively to outbalance that dark spot, because it might be at the sacrifice of something else. I work with people in the team who are very good at bringing other people along and taking the time to explain what’s going on behind the scenes. So I think a good leader would perhaps fill in the blanks with the team.

[00:29:58] He says with his voice going up. Cause he’s not quite sure.

[00:30:03] Danny: [00:30:03] I hundred percent agree that if the leaders can’t fill in the blanks, they probably don’t know what it is or what the team needs to connect to. And I think bad communication is the worst type of trait within a leader.

[00:30:17] Andy: [00:30:17] Yeah.

[00:30:18] Danny: [00:30:18] Interestingly. I think if you don’t, if you know, you’re not the best communicator, there’s loads of ways to bring different communicators in there. As long as you can explain it and storytelling a little bit, and then other people can fill in the blanks. If you know you’re bad at it then you’re on your way to be a better leader.

[00:30:33] But yeah, I completely agree. Was it something that you said  leads me on to another question is why, why help businesses. Obviously there’s a, there was a monetary point, but is there something that sprung out to you that for, I need to help more businesses. I need to have these leaders inspire their people?

[00:30:56] Andy: [00:30:56] Yeah. I mean, selfishly, I’m going to get a, I believe I’m going to be a better person, um, and a better consultant, a better facilitator. If I get given stretch here projects each time. That there was this fascinating book I read years ago called the ingenuity gap. I think it was written by a Canadian God, it’s going to bother me now.

[00:31:21] Thomas Homer Dixon. There you go. Got it. Boom. Um, and he talked about there’s this growing gap between the complexity in business and the, just the wider world, humanity’s innate genius. We’ve created these amazing. But our ability to solve a problem when those systems falls down has been diminished as a result.

[00:31:45] So we’ve, we’ve, he opens the book by talking about a plane that’s trying to land and something goes wrong and the pilots don’t know what to do. The system is so complicated and when it doesn’t work, everyone’s at a loss on what to do, and then sort of sights about architecture and engines, quite engineering, but he, he sort of talks about society.

[00:32:07] And I th I, I see that in, in business, we, have made such a lot of needless complexity and apparently complexity grows by a small percentage year on year, inevitably in business. And yet we’re still not giving people the basic skills in how to pull apart a problem, how to explain it to other people, how to express it in a way that other people can get attached to it..

[00:32:34] How to navigate thinking in such a way you can tell the difference between a thought and an idea how to, how to judge an idea or how to build an idea and separate the two mindsets. So what are these skills aren’t taught in school or college or at work? And I think our role or my role is I can become a better person and a better problem solver if I help other people do that.

[00:32:57] He who teaches, learns, I think is the outage. And there’s no reason in 2021. We should be living light the Jetsons. Do you remember back to the future? And he went forward into time to 2015 or 2005. Was it like where’s my hoover boards. Where’s my flying cars? Where we should be here now, but we’re not, and there’s no reason for us all to be upset and stressed!

[00:33:28] But we are we working longer hours than ever before? Where the average lunch is something like 19 minutes. That’s just appalling. Isn’t it. We need apps on our phone to help her sleep. Yes. That’s a bit scary. Isn’t it? No, it’s not that I would like to reverse the world and take it back to the Georgian era, but I think I’d like to simplify it.

[00:33:50] I think I’d like to help people get a sense of balance. I don’t know how well that’s answering your question, Danny. I confess I’ve forgotten it. Actually. I think I’m just talking about what put me on the earth, but I just genuinely, I get a thrill about seeing other people make connections on that. I think that’s why I started life as a teacher. Cause I, I wanted to be part of that moment when kids go… Oh, ha. Cause I, that, that cliche is true, but I left here. For a bunch of reasons. But when I left, I could see six formers just type questions into a search box search engine. I thought that’s not way to solve a problem.

[00:34:32] That doesn’t make sense. And it’s the same in business. I see a lot of really smart people just get tripped over the simplest of things. I think we we’ve all got that innate ability to solve problems. That’s where the name came from, by the way genius box is I believe that the people in the business are the genius and the box, I suppose, is the metaphor for that office walls or that particular challenge. We’re here to release that.

[00:34:59] And I believe that there’s a need for that in the world. And I can do that with my kids at the weekend. I can do it with my, my friends and loved ones. I can do it with my family, my colleagues, and my clients.

[00:35:11] And it’s a really nice way to live making.

[00:35:15] Danny: [00:35:15] Was there a negative story or like an aha moment that made you just realize this is exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing.

[00:35:25] Andy: [00:35:25] There, wasn’t a, a moment there. Wasn’t all I quit on Friday and start genius box on Monday. That didn’t happen. I don’t believe that that has happened. It happened over a period of about a year.

[00:35:40] I was getting up at say six in the morning to walk. This is my commute. Lots of people have emphasized this. You get up, go for a walk to get the bus.

[00:35:50] The bus would get you to the tube. The tube would take you to another tube and then I’d have a choice about getting the bus. We’ll do the last bit walking again. So it was two hours there, two hours back. So four hours every day commuting and it was in the dark. So I was up, I get up in the dark and go to bed in the dark.

[00:36:06] And at the time, our daughter was only a few months old and I would only see her at 11:00 PM at night for the night feed and then at the weekend. And I think that was a turning point. So I’m literally this voice that she has this sort of warm Skiddy temperature, 11 o’clock as well. That was my only contact.

[00:36:30] And I thought I don’t want to work in order to live like this for her. That was in the background. There was also I’m working very hard for other people. I would like to work hard for me. So there was the selfish economic thing.  There was the, my career. It’s not that it’s plateaued, but I’m only going to be doing more and more of what I’m doing. And I wanted to, I want it to stretch me, variety. Uh, my clients were asking me to do things that the businesses I worked for, weren’t going to deliver under their current brand and proposition. But I knew that I could so lots of things or all came to a head and I got very good at making lists. Dan, you know, we, we like balancing lists don’t move.

[00:37:20] So I had pros and cons lists on the spare room wall at home, and everything would just equaled out. And eventually I went, well, this is silly. I’ve just got to make a decision here or otherwise. All I’m going to do is get present from the make lists. So my wife and I sort of chucked it in on the same day and, um, went for it.

[00:37:44] Danny: [00:37:44] I think there’s such an inspiring story because a lot of people just don’t didn’t have that. Don’t do that anymore. I think he has, I know it’s a bit harder to get jobs in wherever else. And I think some people would never even think about it. But in 2021, in that non Jetson world that we live in, it, it should be that you can carve this out.

[00:38:09]The advice I give people is get six months money behind you make sure that you’re active, that you speak to people. You can always take them out for a virtual coffee or coffee in person, et cetera. But I don’t think there’s enough people to really consider it as an option anymore. And they don’t, their confidence has been knocked out of them. So they can’t go and do that. And they’ve been so busy with another workplace. They think it’s going to be as hard or harder for themselves.

[00:38:35] Andy: [00:38:35] I don’t waste a good crisis. I would say to your listeners and you don’t stop here. I am all worthy and higher than thou with all my advice, but I didn’t build a website.

[00:38:48] I didn’t have a website provide 18 months, you know, I didn’t have an email for 18 months, the telephone number and no station rate, but I had a client. I started with a client. I had one like Jerry Maguire moment, you know, when he leaves the office and he’s got a bag of fish, takes his one client, Ron Tidwell and goes through it.

[00:39:10]That was what I had. I went, well, I’ve got this one client that means that this one client’s going to get hundred percent of my time all the time walk, you know, what do you want? How can I , here’s my telephone number. Let’s go. And I’ve built from there. So the proposition and the products and the services, it came from that one client that introduced me to another client, so on and so forth incredibly important parts of that business growing journey.

[00:39:38] And only then when we had a story to tell, do you build a website, my business cards and some stationary, but to this day, One in 11 years, I’ve had one email on the website. Hello, we’ve come across your website. Let we do innovation one in 11 years. Sorry. No, there’s no need to, I don’t lose a lot of sleep about my website presence.

[00:40:02] Danny: [00:40:02] If you don’t get it. Word of mouth referral.

[00:40:04] Yeah. It’s word of mouth.

[00:40:06] Andy: [00:40:06] Just get on the phones, speak to people,

[00:40:09]Danny: [00:40:09] It’s completely related every product that you love, you’ll recommend it. So obviously it’s not going to be recorded everywhere, but you can tell as many people as possible that you’ve had a brilliant experience or you love the product or that you’re wearing a logo on your t-shirt or cap that you wear, or a drink that you drink, that’s yours.

[00:40:28] It’s a part of your identity. And if you don’t refer it, no one else will. So I think word of mouth is such an important part.

[00:40:34] Andy: [00:40:34] It’s a hundred percent to a small audience, I think is surely better than a huge audience where there’s a no, no recommendation. That’s just noise.

[00:40:48] Yeah. If you took me aside and said, Andy, please read this book. It’s amazing. I do. So

[00:40:55]Danny: [00:40:55] I’ve got some quick fire questions. If you don’t mind.

[00:40:57] Andy: [00:40:57] Yes. Let’s go quick fire round. Do I need to rub myself down in deep heat?

[00:41:01] Danny: [00:41:01] Maybe? No one knows what TP is. Do they, these are all the references that we do on workshops. You know, I’ve referenced Phil Collins, graphic, equalizers, and deep heat back to the future.

[00:41:16] Andy: [00:41:16] And that’d be, if I’m stuck in the eighties, I think

[00:41:19] Danny: [00:41:19] at least it’s one of those things that, um, when the podcast comes out and the support in a blog is I can reference them and I have imagery and videos of it. Yeah.

[00:41:29] It’s brand it’s brand. Well, it’s cool again, right? It’s like 34 years ago. Eight years ago.

[00:41:34] Andy: [00:41:34] So it’s that good? Okay. Well, I’ve still got my cassettes and um, those Dunlop Green Flash you, he, the Jamie Dunlop green flash year, severe ankle injuries, but these things cost like eight pound back in the day. How much is a pair of Dunlop green flash, Natalie? I think I’ll find it. Is it like you remember Gola? Oh yeah.

[00:41:58] Then now I’m like a hundred. And they used to be about 20 credits. Yeah. And you pick out this and you pick out the logo cause you want to look

[00:42:09]that’s leadership for you, where would it? People where yeah, exactly. That’ll get people. Right.  if a content coordinator, as I called it,

[00:42:19] Danny: [00:42:19] is there one book you’d recommend to read and what would it be?

[00:42:24] Andy: [00:42:24] Uh, I’m a huge reader. Where do I start? D I’ll tell you what, just put one down and I’ve made reference to it already in a few , client emails, this, uh, it’s called to nine lies at work and it’s by Marcus Buckingham.

[00:42:44] I nearly said Lindsey Buckingham, but he’s the fleet roadmap, Marcus. He’s an ex Gallup guy and it’s the nine myths of work I think, or the nine lies at work is brilliant. It blows a few myths up about culture and leadership and assessment. It’s really smartly written. It’s got good science and it’s written in a kind of, he’s quite passionate.

[00:43:06] So, um, I’d recommend that that’s a really good book.

[00:43:10] Danny: [00:43:10] Awesome. Is that one cost you’d recommend to listen to?

[00:43:14] Andy: [00:43:14] Uh, other than this. Uh, other than my own, I listen when I go to the gym, cause I can’t run it anymore because my knees hurt. So I listened to each sleep work, repeat by Bruce Daisley there about 30 minutes or 40 minutes, and it’s not necessary, Bruce, that I listened to you, but it’s the people, he interviews some really sharp characters there and then again,. It’s just lots of questions and propagate, always walk away thinking. Um, that was really interesting. I must look that person up. Well, I hadn’t thought about that before. Well, that’s a good podcast. So thank you, Bruce, for making them. Oh yeah.

[00:43:50] Danny: [00:43:50] I advocate for, for Bruce’s podcast and having speak, speak and event, same event a couple of times.

[00:43:57] He’s a very good in person as well. 

[00:43:59] is there one newsletter that you’d recommend subscribing to?

[00:44:03] Andy: [00:44:03] Uh, definitely yours, much.

[00:44:07] Danny: [00:44:07] Is there another one?

[00:44:10] Andy: [00:44:10] Uh, I haven’t subscribed to actually. Um, newsfeed so packed it’s distractions. Isn’t it. I’m gonna start to get distracted, like a butterfly in the, in the wind. But joking aside, yours is very good. It’s anything that’s sort of edited away.

[00:44:25] If I get stuck for inspiration, I’ll, I’ll ping you out to my network and go, what have you read, seen, experienced or watched recently? That’s worth me having a butchers and you’ll get flurry of responses. So I think my, my newsletter subscription is  ask ask the people in the network

[00:44:42] Danny: [00:44:42] That’s exactly what a newsletter basically should be, right?

[00:44:45] Andy: [00:44:45] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:44:46] Danny: [00:44:46] Is there like a video that you’d recommend everyone to watch? So it could be work. It could be fun. Could be, could we match?

[00:44:54] Andy: [00:44:54] That’s it, you’re a family guy. There’s this brilliant sketch. Just if you type in songs beginning with S in YouTube and . He’s writing a song for Susie and Brian, just tramples all over his idea.

[00:45:13] It’s hilarious. It’s just, he’s just, that’s work all over. It’s an insight insight of human life. That’s why family is such a piece of genius, but please look that up.

[00:45:23]Danny: [00:45:23] And last two,  your number one piece of advice for people or businesses?

[00:45:28] uh, if you it’s a mark Twain. And it’s, if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

[00:45:37] That is one of my favorite ones that I like to put on there, but on internal conferences ,

[00:45:42] Andy: [00:45:42] and the reason it, the story behind that was when I was, um, working in a college, the head, the college tutor, who would have all sorts of people coming to his door that, you know, 16, 17, 18, 19 year old.

[00:45:56] Lord knows what’s going on in their world. All sorts of things. The college teachers who would have to deal with and on pizza door was this, was that quote, safe to tell the truth now to remember anything. And I thought if you were 16 or 17 and you’re fessing up stuff that was going on for you, or was it a particular issue at home or whatever.

[00:46:15] And you saw that above, above your college tutor. I think that might’ve been a great help and it just stuck with me and Mike the times in the past. And when I have not paid that. Sorry on that particular mantra. Um, my sins have caught me out, so I think it’s a good, um, it’s a good philosophy for life

[00:46:34]Danny: [00:46:34] is there three things that happen in three common themes that happen in your workshops that you think people should try and proactively work for or against?

[00:46:48] What

[00:46:49] Andy: [00:46:49] are the three things we do that pay people?

[00:46:51] Danny: [00:46:51] Yeah, well, or just free outcomes that happen. That happens almost every time. So is that like a theme?

[00:46:56]Andy: [00:46:56] So you will, you will always get from our workshop projects and programs, you will always learn something new about yourself personally. I can guarantee that cause we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll do things about the heart and the head that you just won’t know.

[00:47:12] So that’s number one, you will. Learn something new about business and that’s not, it won’t come from us. It will come from your colleagues. So you will definitely learn something new and insightful about your business. And the third thing that you will always work, always uncover on a project with us is that you will learn something new about the customers you serve because of the creative process that we’ll go through.

[00:47:37] We’ll uncover something new that you didn’t know about them before I can guarantee those things.

[00:47:44] Danny: [00:47:44] Perfect. And is there one lesson or learning that you’ve taken from the pandemic forward?

[00:47:53] Andy: [00:47:53] Oh, yes. Uh, don’t waste a good crisis. Like get busy, get busy, moving that Shawshank, get busy, moving or get busy dying. I can’t remember another film reference for you. Whole life is for the film nostalgia.

[00:48:07] Danny: [00:48:07] Best movie of all time. In my opinion,

[00:48:09] Andy: [00:48:09] the best movie of all time, I burnt my legs. Yesterday, thinking about that, you know, woman that title in the movie. Yeah, it was a very sunny day yesterday as I was up in my house, painting the painting, one of the walls, white, and I’d spent such a lot of time up in the sun there. I didn’t pay attention to where the sun was, and I burnt  the back of my legs, two lobsters from the waist down.

[00:48:32]Get busy, get busy moving, like just don’t. The pandemic, of course, you know, it’s being good and bad for everyone, but I have, um, I look back on this time and go, I’m really glad we did the things as a family we did during the pandemic. And I’m, um, I’m pleased that we experimented with a few things back in the business during the pandemic.

[00:48:51] Cause I don’t think under ordinary circumstances I would made the time to have done so, so I embraced it as a welcome break to chose to.

[00:49:03] Danny: [00:49:03] That was brilliant. Is there places that people can look you up or connect with you or drop me an email?

[00:49:08]Andy: [00:49:08] Yeah. So I met Oh, well, all of the ones that you talk around, OSHA it’s shit.

[00:49:18] Find, um, find us at the website and you too can be a hallway, another 11 years for someone to hear sort of from your site.


[00:49:25] So LinkedIn’s a good place to find me there. Have a little snooty. The email, if they go into contact with you, and if they, if you ask really nicely, maybe Danny would share my telephone and watch this space. Cause there’ll be, there’s a podcast coming up with my good friend, Dave, over in the USA. 

[00:49:41] Danny: [00:49:41] Awesome. Thanks so much.

[00:49:45] Andy: [00:49:45] Pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed it.

[00:49:46] And it’s nice just shooting the breeze about stuff. I hope this is useful for people, and I wish all of your listeners and all of the leaders to hear you’re setting this the very best, like, we’re not victims of the business circumstances. We lead for it. We can make it happen.

[00:50:03] Let’s go. Yeah.


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