Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 144 – Qualifying That “Idea” To Strategic Bet

Dear leaders, I am often asked
“How do we make our big ideas work?” 

The answer is simple really, it is the refining and qualifying of ideas. 

Or the question should be reframed as: This is where ideas have to be transformed into qualified strategic bets

Think Back & Set Others Up To Succeed: We have all been there, we have a brilliant idea, we set ourselves up to pitch the idea, we may have been invited for a slot in the Management Team Meeting and then you are faced with a barrage of questions, the idea feels like it is dashed in ten minutes. I have sat in the management team meeting and clearly remember a great idea full of potential dashed in under 60 seconds. 

You have two options (1) refine and attempt another slot or (2) re-shape your idea into a qualified strategic bet. 

Option 2 is the only way forward.

A quick note: 

Pitching The Right Bet – this is where the right person and right people are vitally important. The structure and the delivery are essential, not only for the bet to succeed and be championed but for you to know who makes decisions to make and how to approach the conversation. 

The reason why an idea is often counterproductive is it’s sounds half baked, it isn’t validated and qualified in your environment. 

What decision-makers need is two simple things
(1) confidence
(2) strong evidence that is shaped and qualified enough they don’t need to invest hours grooming, modelling the finance and re-shaping and re-prioritising existing work streams or roadmaps. 

Move from idea to bet before attempting to pitch to senior management. 

The Focus Idea To Bet Qualification

The Bet Build – Visalise the bet for all stakeholders.
Use words, use imagery, even create a wireframe or potentially a prototype or provide a live example (in or outside of your market) that could enable visual people to understand it or play with it. 

For those with time constraints or typically biased towards excel – add the table with the growth numbers. 

Untold Truth: The better the storytelling, the better the visuals, and the more exciting it is, the more it builds a connection to the idea. 

The more qualified the tables and financial numbers are, the better the response from finance and core business decision-makers, if you don’t get the green light from the founder/CEO and their yes-no person the CFO the likelihood of this bet getting the leadership team’s full support is minimal.  

Create A Definitive Exec Summary: 

Think of an amended Amazon working backwards: 

  • The bet in one sentence 
  • Who is the customer 
  • The benefits of the bet 
    • to customer  
    • & then to the company 
  • The problem(s) being solving 
  • Time to make an impact? 
  • Measurable goals and metrics (show big number to wow moment)
  • Link to FAQ’s of the bet – think of the big questions ahead of time 

Link to Focus Idea To Bet framework as your own Google Doc

Why We Should Stop X And Run Towards This – the important element that rarely anyone suggests to include is: 

  • Why run towards this bet, and what advantages does it have? 
  • Can it replace something already on the roadmap? (hint at projects struggling to make an impact or are earmarked for the future)
  • Or does it deserve people and money budget allocation? 

If you can’t provide a realistic timeline with resource requests here, it is not qualified enough. 

What Would The 3 Main Tasks Be – these have to be clear, they have to be fully thought through and be able to understood by finance, product and marketing alongside other senior members of the company. 

Key Metrics To Success – what are the leading indicators that prove we are on the right track for this bet? What time frame are you suggesting?

Then clearly call out the 3 core metrics you will be using to understand success of the big bet over the first week, first month, first quarter, first year.
This step in the process often will kill creative people’s idea and qualify them as a strategic bet. 

Revenue Impact With Confidence – this is often the falling down of big bets within companies, being able to get into the excel master sheet, get into the existing budget or financial plan and apply other people’s logic into the idea and show how this will grow revenue (use common internal metrics like downloads, daily usage, churn reduction, number of qualified leads etc) broken down month by month. Unfortunately, this is also the issue most people have it is likely a guess as it might be brand new or it might be unproven in your market, arm yourself with confident data points and make realistic impact numbers. 

The essential point to take away here is, unfortunately, even with the best prep, best financial modelling and brilliant pitch, the odds of an investment into bets can be low. Even as a c-suite leader your strategic bet might not make the cut. 

This week, empower your teams by improving their working practices and creating the ability to pitch the highest qualified strategic bets to the business. A bank of brilliantly qualified bets is better than a recycling bin and miro boards full of post it notes. 

Thanks and have a great week focusing your business,

Danny Denhard

Other Focus Frameworks

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 141 – 5 Questions WIth Jason Allan Scott

Dear leaders, this week I am bringing another brilliant 5 questions leaders letter.

This week’s leader is Jason Allan Scott who is company helps businesses and business leaders with their podcast presence. Jason works with the likes of the space-as-a-service leader and 5 questions leader Caleb Parker and many others in helping to tell better audio stories and help brands stand out in crowded markets.

This is why I wanted to reach out and ask Jason to share his wisdom to help you improve and deliver better messaging in more authentic ways.

Today you will learn from some brilliant gems:

  • How to improve your audio presence (whether for yourself or your brand)
  • Where not to go wrong (many are right now)
  • How to get your personality across well (this is what makes you stand out)
  • Why Podcasts are way more than just an audio file now and how you should step up
  • Getting the most out of your podcast experiences

If you’d like to know why I recommend internal podcasts, (re)read this leaders letter on why to roll out an internal podcast.

The 5 Questions —

Q1. You help companies create, produce and land their audio presence (with podcasts), what do you think most companies miss when it comes to podcasting and creating a branded podcast that lands? 

There are several elements to creating a branded podcast that lands for business. You need to focus on the central idea  ( while remembering that people want to be entertained first and educated second) while telling stories. 

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Remember that you have an audience, an audience you can turn into ambassadors and clients for your business, so you need to play to them constantly. For shows to hit home they need to have a “product” a show that is regular, that follows a formula and has a strong structure delivered with Authenticity. 

Q2. Where do leaders go wrong with their podcast appearances and how could they create actual authentic thought leadership with their own podcasts? 

Most leaders go wrong with their podcast appearances due to not listening to the questions asked, not knowing the format of the show and who the show serves. Almost all podcasts have an approximate recording length they are trying to hit. For my shows, it’s 27 minutes. As a podcast guest, you indeed want to tell good stories, but wherever possible keep your answers punchy and tight. This gives the host(s) air time and allows them to ask more questions and get to their standard segments, etc. without running short or having to rush the show. Wanna sound authentic, laugh. Laughter is contagious, even when spread via audio. Lead the laughter and lighten the mood for the listeners.

You don’t need to speak perfectly when in the “spotlight”. If you stumble over your words, feel free to make fun of yourself. Again, speaking like yourself will translate far better than trying to sound like someone else.  Also as a bonus tip use the host’s name when you answer the questions.

Q3. Podcasts can be hard for many inexperienced leaders to put across their personality and importantly the business messages for their companies, is there an ingredient in your secret sauce you could offer that would help founders and c-suite execs really land podcast appearances? 

The podcast is an ingenious digital marketing tool, offering an alternative — and highly effective — means of promoting your brand, demonstrating your authority, and reaching a captive audience. Over the last few years podcast consumption is on the rise with over 57 million active listeners. 

Although your podcast is targeted at a specific audience, you should assume that listeners know very little about the topic you’re covering. Use clear language that they’ll understand and avoid blanket statements at all costs. Many people use podcasts as background noise and mentally tune in and out, so it may be helpful to redefine terms from time to time.

Podcast guests, thought leaders, should listen to at least two podcast episodes of the show they are going on. You want to have a feel of the cadence of the show. Get an understanding of the flow and bits of the show and see how you can authentically be you in those moments. Write down a description of the typical listener and why he/she or they listen. This is as important to the host as it is to the guest but if you understand the audience and their motivations for listening. Take time to write down a persona description of the representative listener, or avatar. Prepare at least 3 stories you can unfurl at any time. The truth is that being a great guest or host is the same, its about telling stories. Always have at least one to three things the listener can use after they stop listening to the show. 

Q4. Podcasts have become way more than just audio, with an explosion across visual and video platforms like TikTok and Instagram, how do you guide busy leaders to get the most out of their appearances on industry podcasts? 

Create, Curate and Repurpose. 

Create the content on a podcast, clip out the magic moments, the parts that you want people to remember and the parts that you know will resonate. Then take those clips and make them into small snippets for the various platforms. Put it on YouTube and take off the transcript and put it into ChatGPT and ask it to summarise into long sentences and 15 points the show. Then make a newsletter and send that over LinkedIn. And then create a twitter thread with the same content you used on the newsletter but add images, memes and gif’s. 

Q5. What three things can you suggest for leaders to land more podcast appearances within their niche? 

Ask, ask and ask. 

If you’re looking to be a guest on a podcast, you have several options:

  • reach out to podcast hosts directly
  • connect via podcast guest placement services
  • market yourself as a podcast guest and wait for creators to reach out

you should first assess whether a podcast is actually worthy of your time. 

Follow the steps below to identify which podcasts are worth pitching to.

  1. Look at the reviews – Looking at the reviews of a podcast should give you an indication of whether listeners are raving – or ranting – about the podcast. While some brands may hold the belief that “Any publicity is good publicity”, it’s worth considering how being on a particular podcast could affect your brand’s reputation.
  2. Google Top Podcasts in Your Industry – The simplest way to find podcasts that are relevant to your industry is to do a quick Google search. You can use key terms like “entrepreneur podcast”, “cooking podcast”, “finance podcast”, and the like to explore podcasts that may be looking for guest speakers like you. Then, shoot the podcaster an email to see if they are open to guest interviews.
  3. Master your messaging – Make sure you have your messaging down, and if you’re trying to sell something, be sure it’s relevant to the podcast’s audience. Consider offering a freebie or discount to that audience, which you can track via a unique URL or affiliate platform, so you can see which podcast appearances are actually driving sales.

A huge thanks Jason for sharing so much value, reach out and connect with Jason

I’ll be back next week with another must-read leaders letters.

Until next week,

Danny Denhard

PS below is a good vodcast with Jason about how to make money from podcasts if you are looking to create your own.

The 5 Follow Up Must Reads For This Week

Leaders Letter Newsletter Leadership

Leaders Letter 136 – What Are The Factors At Play (With Free Framework)

Dear Leaders, the most under-respected and most under-discussed element within leadership meetings and around the boardroom is “what are the factors at play” and how do we influence and then action them. 

Knowing The Factors At Play: I recently discussed the forces at play with a new business unit with a large organisation’s leadership team and they struggled with being able to know what were their forces at play, how to find them and then understanding which were internal forces and then external forces. 

Forces at play are often out of your control, there are shifts within markets or industries that you can never influence but will greatly impact your business for a number of years ahead. 

Economic Factor: Right now we are all experiencing a tough economic environment and many customers have done the wise thing for them to cut their spending, there is a however, not understanding the nuanced factors at play is almost criminal to how you operate and how you then review teams performance and company performance.

Covid Chaos To Crisis: If you have read or listened to recent quarterly earnings (since Q2 of 2020) they have had to blame external factors, when then pushed many CFOs and CEOs struggle to articulate what the deeper factors were (apart from supply chain issues) and how they could change these and influence positive change without many layoffs or numerous rounds of layoffs. 

Layoffs for big tech have unfortunately been necessary for most, however, addressing the people side of balance sheet management only doesn’t often change the actual performance of a business, often just the spreadsheet view and you will bad practices, poor decision-making and other operating holes too late and then more misses for quarters to come.   

Action: Making Factors Work – Understanding the factors, then categorising them and creating a plan of action (applying to your one company-wide strategy) and then through each departmental plan helps you to reshape and reframe issues. 

Here is how you can categorise factors and work out how to reduce anxiety and friction and those you have to take action on:  

  • We Influence
  • Can Influence 
  • Want To Influence 
  • Don’t And Can’t Influence 

More Than Just Another Unactionable List

Company Factors Template

This framework works on whiteboards, spreadsheets, miro boards and notion boards, you should keep a running weekly to monthly record (often asynchronously works best) and this enables you to make smart decisions and address/readdress issues and lagging indicators more frequently rather than having to jump straight to headcount freezes and layoffs. 

Essential To Truly Know: Dashboards and your internal data often only tell you the surface-level information, the analysis section is imperative and this is where your factors come into their own. Storytelling takes you to the next level.

FYI: Executed right, these factors will appear on your transparent decision document, letting your company know you (and the leadership team have heard and acted upon ideally collaboratively) have made important decisions and then how you got there and why these factors matter, with the actions required to address said issues. 

This week consider how you add this framework and workflow into your management meetings, empower department leads and your business analysis (data insights etc) team to feed in weekly or even ad-hoc and discuss these factors regularly, 

Thanks and I’ll land back in your inbox next week

Danny Denhard 

Want someone to step up as a leader? Let them know to subscribe here 😉 

PS/ It is well worth reading how Charlie Munger refers to the forces at work and how he operates with or against them. 

Company Culture Leadership

The Corporate Buzzword Bingo Card 2023

Each year we adopt new words, new corporate jargon and buzzwords that we end up bringing into the business, not just being used but often many internal jokes made from the words we use and the style we say them in.

The 2023 corporate jargon card includes many that will be used in the boardroom, across multiple slack and team chats and often in leadership meetings, AOP and QBR meetings.

Read more: The Corporate Buzzword Bingo Card 2023

The new words for 2023:

  • Economic headwinds
  • Low performers
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Quiet Quitting
  • Return to the office aka RTO

Have fun and remember to share in your slack or teams (copy and paste –

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 131 – 5 Questions With Tim Grimes

Dear leaders, this week’s 5 questions are with Tim Grimes, Tim is on a mission to improve work, so embracing and pushing flexible work, hybrid work, and helping companies to facilitate 4-day work weeks

An important workstream that Tim and his company offers is their site offers new filter roles with over 20 different flexible working options.  

Tim’s answers are great and super actionable for the new year. If you are struggling with being flexible and moving to more modern ways of working, Tim’s answers will help you rethink your approach or guide your company forward. 

Q1. You are flying the flag of flexible work and making it work, what are the 3 ways leaders can make flexible work, work? 

  • Transparency: Leadership must be upfront with employees and candidates around flexibility; be it flexi-time, compressed hours, remote working, phased retirement or career breaks. Only once a candidate/employee knows their options, can they make informed choices on whether it’s right for them. It’s also critical that leaders commit to these ways of working; ideally contractually. During the pandemic many organisations bought on new staff under specific flexible circumstances, only to backtrack, which causes retention problems.
  • Individualisation; leaders must remember that flexible work is never one-size-fits-all. Every individual has different circumstances that require someone to work flexibly; for some, it can be a preference; for others, it can be a life circumstance. For myself particularly, it was a life-event that made me realise how important work/life balance is, whereas I’ve haven’t got a requirement such as childcare. Regardless of circumstance, everyone should be treated equally, which creates an inclusive culture, built on trust and autonomy. 
  • Trust & Autonomy: To make flexible policies thrive, leaders must create a culture that’s built on trust and autonomy. Many leaders have a disconnect with their team around productivity, which is primarily due to the lack of trust. 

Q2. Implementing a hybrid working model has been challenging for many businesses; what are your tips for making the most of this model? 

Since pivoting to hybrid working, many companies are still struggling to adapt or have simply failed. And there’s a reason, most organisations have attempted to continue their pre-pandemic 5-day office model into 2-3 days. With teams utilising the office on different days, and workplaces focused on desk space rather than shared space, it’s incredibly difficult to foster a productive and inclusive working culture. However, there’s a way to make it work, something Nick Bloom has built; the seamless hybrid working model: 

  1. Source feedback and data to understand your team’s existing and preferred working patterns (don’t do this company-wide); 
  2. After establishing your team’s working pattern, ensure everyone comes in on the same days; 
  3. Make sure you front-load office days with in-person meetings and events – employees come in for collaboration; 
  4. Promote wider departmental video meetings and ‘deep thinking’ work on remote days; along with building out internal tech resources to bring people together remotely. 
  5. Newer team members should come in an extra day each week / fortnight for mentoring. 

During the limited collaboration days, there’s no point in employees attending the office just to sit on video calls. Companies must focus on collaboration done correctly, and built for the new world of work. 

Q3. What is the one trend you are predicting for 2023 that every leader should be building towards from today? 

In the new world of work, every leader needs to understand the era of adaptable personnel and explore new models of working. 

It’s time to build out nimble and dynamic teams, with individuals working differently; be it part-time, reduced hours or a 4-day week. For example, before hiring, managers need to move beyond the mindset of ‘full-time default’; this allows organisations to access wider and diverse talent pools. 

These different working arrangements provide businesses with lower fixed costs, whilst still giving them the opportunity to grow. Leaders have a duty to become more adaptable & open to new ways of working.
This mentality shift could future-proof many businesses, avoiding layoffs, which ultimately protect the livelihoods of their employees.

Q4. There have been huge numbers of layoffs impacting professionals across the world, what are the most important learnings others can apply to make this period better for both those impacted and those left in their roles? 

Being made redundant can be one of the most challenging periods for anyone, and leadership must treat any period with time and consideration. You can’t and shouldn’t expedite a redundancy process; leadership and management must be given enough time to make educated and informed decisions. 

An example of where this has failed is during the recent Twitter lay-offs; many individuals were laid-off, only to be asked back a few days later.
Once an employee is made redundant, and let-go, loyalty and trust is severed; bringing people back after is incredibly difficult; something that Twitter experienced.  

For those left in their roles, businesses must do more to protect their employees. I personally don’t believe organizations do enough before lay-offs. Businesses and leaders should be continually reviewing their staff to future proof; and before firing, businesses need to give employees the opportunity to work differently before severance. 

Q5. Culture is going to be the most important factor for many looking for a new role or staying in their current role, do you have any advice to make company culture a priority in other businesses?

Many businesses are simply playing the old culture game. Nearly 50% of job seekers cite company culture as their reason for looking for a new role, yet companies are still approaching culture like it’s 2001. Back in 2001, organizations previously focused on soft perks such as gym passes, dog-friendly offices, free lunches, beer Fridays, ping pong tables; the list goes on.

In the new world of work post-pandemic, priorities have shifted and organizations must focus on people, building a culture around principles of flexible working, autonomy, recognition and trust. 

Employee Growth Culture is about a human value proposition; not giving employees things. If businesses invest in culture correctly, they’ll see a happier, more productive workforce.

Want to get in touch with Tim, get in touch below: 

On WorkYourWay site // Email Tim // or Tim shares regularly on LinkedIn and are always insightful and actionable. 

Leaders, go and have a great week and consider how you will roll out Tim’s recommendations for the weeks ahead.  

Thanks and speak next week,

Danny Denhard – On a mission to fix the broken world of work

Struggling to understand some of the core topics, here are some invaluable resources:

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 128 – Leadership Lessons From CEO/COO William Phillipson

Dear Leaders, this week I want to introduce you to Will Phillipson, Will is one of those leaders who you meet and know he is someone you would love to collaborate with and learn a tonne from.

Will has been a CEO and COO of well known companies and is someone you will learn a great deal from his answers and feel inspired to make positive changes for the end of this year and kickstart next year off in the right way.

Leadership Lessons From CEO/COO William Phillipson

Q1. You’ve led and sold your own business and been COO at well-known businesses, what’s the one leadership trait you have to teach each leader?

Communication. When you’re in the details day to day – especially when you’re at the center of a business – you understand and feel the business like no one else (or at least very few others.) It’s also easy to assume that everyone has the same level of understanding. That’s not the case. So as a leader, you have to communicate, frequently and repeatedly. Explain to the team – with the right level of nuance and transparency for every level of the team – the vision, what’s going on right now, and how it relates to achieving the vision. People who understand the environment, their part in it, and how everyone is working together to make things happen are more effective.

Q2. One of your best traits is being a translator between management and the different departments – what’s the secret to getting everyone on the same page?

I’ve found the secret to be two-fold – first, taking the time to understand what the department / team / individuals do; and second, communicating and relating the vision and action plan to them in the context of their environment.
Doing this reduces misinterpretation – you “speak” the appropriate language to each team – and also gives each team confidence that you understand the value and contribution they bring to the overall mission.

Q3. Is there one common mistake you see company leads repeat over and over that you can share that you’d warn department leads on what not to repeat?

Accountability is huge, and often not thought about until things go wrong – then the blamestorming begins… Part of the communication – part of the vision – needs to be metrics that can be used to measure whether the vision/mission/project has been achieved. If that is part of the formulation, then those metrics can be used by each team – and the company overall – to ensure that progress is being made. And most of all, failures need to be identified, acknowledged, and particularly where the failures impact other teams, those responsible need to be held accountable.

Nothing demotivates team members more than seeing repeated failures go unpunished – or worse, being rewarded… (We all know of those cases where repeated failure has resulted in people getting promoted…)

Q4. What’s the biggest opportunity for businesses in 2023?

Big Tech is struggling. Thousands of high-quality people are available on the market. Consumers are demanding exceptional online experiences and seamless online and offline integration. This all breeds amazing opportunities for disruption and the birth of the next generation of super businesses. 

The businesses that survive will focus on the customer experience – better online user experience coupled with an offline fulfilment that matches the expectations set by the online experience.

Q5. What do you think every leader needs to teach in 2023?

Humility & patience coupled with purpose and vision. The world is chaotic at present and people are worried and often overwhelmed. Leadership will set the tone for the team – treating people with humility and patience will build a culture of respect; providing – and clearly communicating – a purpose will give team members a reason to show up, be present, and drive towards success.

If you’d like to connect with Will on LinkedIn.

Massive thanks to Will for answering these questions and adding a lot of value and a number of actions to move forward with. I’ll see you again next Monday.

Have a productive week!


Danny Denhard

Company Culture

The Nine Actions To Take Straight After Layoffs And Redundancies 

Layoffs and redundancies are incredibly hard for staff, managers and leadership teams.

Here are nine actions to take to improve company culture, create a new company identity and importantly, reset company performance.


Create new priorities for everyone to follow, and acknowledge that old goals will be hard to hit and old priorities will have to be reshaped. 

Ensure prioritisation is set across the company, rolled over cross-functionally and importantly understood and brought into at department and then down to team level and is essentially easy to understand.  

Recreate Psychological Safety 

When there are layoffs you remove many people’s safety and often you remove their support and professional networks. 

Psychological safety has to be reset and you have to communicate how you will ensure the business is going to look at those who are left and why the future is going to be about collaboration and ensuring the teams are in a good place to support each other and you as the business (and business leader) will support them. 

New Buddy System

Introduce a new buddy system, you will help many people connect to new colleagues and reconnect to those who they may have had small work projects with. 

Help colleagues to connect and support each other. This will take an owner and encouragement from both management and the teams.  

Organise Regular Get-Togethers 

Sounds obvious but often is not easy, humans have survival baked into them and often look for a leader or an organiser to arrange get-togethers. What most companies have lost is the ability to organise and encourage people to eat together. Ensuring colleagues get around the campfire to eat and discuss will help to reconnect and share moments together. 

Remember: Your company culture will need to be rebuilt and new foundations need to be set, this is your opportunity to create a better work environment. 

Re-Onboard To The Team And To The Company

What most companies failed to do in the mass return to the office with hybrid working environments is to build a new onboarding to the company, to the “office” and help people remember what the space is for and how to collaborate. 

It is important to know your company is now different and will operate differently and how you communicate and reinforce this is key to win. 

Ensure you build a new onboarding journey so everyone goes through the same onboarding experience so it is shared and can be discussed as a group, not comparing their onboarding versus someone else.

Acknowledge Who You Were And Who We Are Now And What Identity You Will Be Taking On

There is a new identity you and your business are adopting, this identity is important as your people will need to opt-in and select if they wear the new uniform, adopt the new flag and fight for their refreshed company. 

Celebrate A Small Win Quickly 

The quickest and smartest way to reconnect with your team is to celebrate small wins and celebrate a relatively trivial win as quickly as possible, this can be people based or can be performance-based. 

You should create a new standard of wins and know the team should call out these behaviours and feel empowered to call out and celebrate the wins together. If you are in the position to, create a small budget to reward your team, whether that is a Starbucks card to buy hot drinks together, a small lunch together or individual rewards.  

Remove Noise! 

Unfortunately, when there is uncertainty there are rumours and gossip that spreads throughout organisations, this will naturally occur every few days unless you proactively remove the noise and intentionally communicate what is happening, why this is happening and how we are going to win together moving forward. 

Create A Decision Document  

Help everyone understand how decisions are made and why these decisions were made and what success looks like. This is for the d-team (whether this is the executive team, senior leadership team or c-suite or much wider org) to update and share with colleagues each time there is an important decision made. 

Download the decision document template

Run An Ideation Session 

Ideas are often the last thing that department leads think of to reconnect with their team members. New ideas or revisiting old ideas helps to spark new opportunities and provides a framework to move forward collectively. 

The art is to collect the ideas and then actually agree to reprioritise all working campaigns and where applicable to include the new ideas. 

Co-Create The New Identity Of Your Team Group  

Question and create what are three pillars moving forward to help everyone make the right decisions and help to create a high safety, high-performance environment.

Without a new identity for the group to buy into and pillars to guide them you will experience a lot of what it used to be versus what it is now and for the near future.  

Remember the past is always going to be the anchor for the team to work from, it is important to readdress this anchoring bias and create a brand new identity to build around. 

If you have found this post useful, sign up to the weekly leadership letter that lands in your inbox first thing Monday mornings, you will be joining leaders from: Amazon, Apple, Bain & Co, Cisco, EA Sports, Google, Harvard, LinkedIn, Meta, Natwest, Nissan, Penn State, PwC, State Farm The World Bank, Venture Capital & Walmart


Essential Supporting Resources

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Leaders Letter 127 – Mental Health Can No Longer Be A ‘Perk’

Dear leaders, this week I have a special Leaders Letter from Anish Hallan, Anish and I were colleagues, I really enjoyed working with him and sparing in making the best possible product.

Anish is now on a mission to remove burnout from organisations. Having experienced burnout and seen it first-hand at Facebook (and many other large orgs) Anish offers actionable tips to remove the perk approach to mental health and apply real change within your business.

Let’s dive into helping you remove mental health being missold as a perk.

  • Free membership to Headspace
  • Work from home 2 days a week
  • 1 day a year to volunteer at a charity of your choice

The three perks above are a sample of what mental health benefits a company may offer their employees. Whilst this is positive, it still classifies mental health support as a perk, just like a pension or life insurance.

The problem is a pension or life insurance plan are not critical for your employees being productive, healthy and content in the workplace but balanced mental health is.

77% of respondents to a survey said their productivity was negatively impacted by their mental health. — Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report

That statistic alone is harrowing evidence of how much of a mental health crisis is happening in the workplace and ignoring it will only drive your employees to lost productivity, burnout and eventually churn.

Presenteeism is also on the rise, which is showing up to work but not being able to perform to your full capacity.

Deloitte found that presenteeism costs UK employers between £24-28 billion in 2021 alone.

What’s Changed?

Leaders can no longer sweep these issues under a rug and hope they disappear, the old rules don’t work anymore:

  • Older generations are leaving the workplace, ushering in the new generations below and propelling many millennials into leadership positions. They bring a new sense of expectations of what work should be and how people should be treated, but some companies are resistant to making changes from the top down. They’re happy to add more benefits to their HR package, but keep avoiding dealing with the innate cultural issues that perpetuate negative mental health culture at work.
  • The pandemic has accelerated the technological advantages of hybrid and remote working and has given employees a glimpse into healthier more balanced ways of living.
  • Employees care more about how their work brings meaning and purpose to their lives and want to work for a company where they feel part of a community, rather than just a transactional existence.
  • Employees no longer want to ‘leave their issues at the door’. They want to bring their real self to work and that means talking honestly about what they’re experiencing in their lives.

What Do Leaders Need To Do?

  • Start by creating a culture of transparency and openness from the top which demonstrates leaders and managers expressing their challenges and management of mental health.
    This doesn’t necessarily need to be through heartfelt speeches, but more in the day-to-day communication such as:
  • Letting your team know that you’re not working one afternoon because you need to rest and have been feeling a bit drained recently.
  • Promoting a culture of output rather than input. This manifests for example, through allowing people to have focus hours in their calendar where they don’t get disturbed.
  • Having mental health days that an employee can take if they do need extra time out.
  • Ensure employees take their time seriously off by encouraging them to disconnect when off work and take their entire allowance.
  • Through talking openly about some of the challenges they face, this sounds simple but will have huge effects.

It’s important that leaders have (EQ) empathy so they can connect with their employees, if your managers lack this, then some form of training should be undertaken to equip them with the skills to manage the modern workforce.

Why Will This Work?

We act in accordance with our environment and culture. If an employee sees their management team talking openly, then they feel they won’t be ostracised if they go through a mental health challenge at some point. 

This is tremendously comforting because they feel the workplace reflects their values, and they don’t need to waste precious energy pretending to be ‘great’ all the time. 

People feel like they belong…and that psychological need will help with productivity and cultural cohesion across the team.

Do you need help with burnout or mental health struggles with your business?

Interested in what Anish does? Watch this and find out his why

Get in contact with Anish via his website or on LinkedIn.

Thanks for reading and i’ll land in your inbox again next week,

Danny Denhard


The 8 Different Types Of Company Leaders 

Over the last decade, we have landed in a place where we demand a different type of leader for the distinct phase of the business. 

Some are obvious, some are less so and there are clear categories these leadership types fall into. Here are the eight different types of leaders. 

  1. Founder 
  2. Traditional 
  3. BAU
  4. Turn around
  5. Pivot 
  6. Growth 
  7. Caretaker 
  8. Returning Founder 


The creator or adopted creator of the company, leads from the front and is often the owner or co-owner of the business. Typically runs the company until the maturity of hires smart leaders to complement them. 

Founders are often blinded by their status and can hinder the business without the right support network. 

Founders are often the ‘visionary leader’ and will serve a long term or until a large market shift and confidence is low within the business. 

Business Maturity: Start-Up 


A leader brought in or took over from a founder and helped to mature the business and develop the business operationally. A traditional leader will often long-serving leader who builds their leadership around them. A traditional leader is often brought into startups and scaleups in the maturity phase that requires rebalancing. 

Business Maturity: Maturing  


Brings a level head to the leadership role, often a high-level and extremely experienced leader who is brought in to create a status quo approach to the company and will expect sustainable growth to the business. This is can be a COO or CFO who is promoted or operated in a similar business and won’t rock the boat too much. A BAU leader often serves for three to five years and is considered the safest pair of hands. 

Business Maturity: Scale Up or Mature 

Turn Around 

This is arguably the toughest role when a company has stagnated and is brought in to turn the company around and start operating more positively. Often a turn around leader is brought in to clean ship, revitalise the company, streamline it or refresh the way the company operates from the top down. 

Turn Around leader is typically in the role for under three years and will go onto another business in the same shape. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 


Specialist leader who is brought in to help the company repoint its product or services to survive or thrive. Often a pivot leader is a specialist who understands different landscapes and applies a new way of thinking and operating throughout the business. The Pivot leader often will reduce headcount or repoint headcount far faster than other leaders and the idea is to drive change from the front. The Pivot leader is often a shorter-lived role and can make or break a business, especially if they do not take into consideration existing company culture and how to repoint resources and explain the company strategy clearly. 

Business Maturity: Start Up or Scale Up


A leader who is brought in with a history of driving change within businesses, this leadership type is focused on the hyper-growth of the business they enter into and often has a lens to sell the company or drive an IPO (or in some specific scenarios a SPAC). A Growth Leader often will have to be focused on changing leadership around them and reshaping the middle management tier. 

Growth leadership is often a mid-term leadership role and can be exciting to the team if run correctly. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 


An unofficial title for most, the caretaker leader is a company lead who will come in for a short period of time and re-focus the business. The caretaker is often an experienced operator internally or externally. Internal caretakers will be taking on a difficult job and often will be the final role within that business, an external caretaker coming in is a six to twelve-month role that will have clear goals often around hiring a new leader and helping the next leader imprint their incoming style. The caretaker can be a brilliant role for experienced operators however it can be a kiss of death for internal caretaker leaders whose next step will be to leave the business or be demoted back to where they were. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 

Returning Founder 

When the company is struggling or needs to go back to how it was once operating a founder is brought back and drives focus or simplifies how the business operates. Examples of Returning Founders include Steve Jobs (Apple), Howard Schwartz (Starbucks) and Michael Dell (Dell Computers). They have all been brought back to gain control and push the company forward. 

Howard Schwartz is currently on his third term as CEO and is attempting to stabilise the Starbucks business which is a hybrid business between tech and retail. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated or Declining 

2022 Into 2023

In the near future, there will be a lot of change and demand for leadership change, particularly at the end of 2022 and into H1 of 2023 when many businesses understand the new landscape away from the height of the pandemic and the new way of operating in the hybrid work world.


10 Leadership Lessons To Take From All Or Nothing Arsenal 

Leadership lessons come in all shapes and sizes, we often overlook the parallels in business to many different industries. There are three we look to constantly. 

The first is the armed forces, we look to the army or navy for leadership lessons in the toughest environments. 

The second is often politics, rightly or wrongly we compare situations to previous life events or difficult calls political leaders take to drive countries or states forward. 

The third is sports and despite it not landing with non-sports fans they are many similarities we should take direction from. 

All or Nothing is a behind the scene’s sports documentary series on Amazon Prime Video. 

All or Nothing has gone behind the scenes in soccer (football) Brazil national team, Manchester City, Spurs and most recently Arsenal, other stand up docuseries include the NFL (American Football) with the Arizona Cardinals and LA Rams, in the NCAA (college football) with The Michigan Wolverines, with the most respected rugby team New Zealand and in the ice hockey league (NHL) with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

The behind-the-scenes nature of the series highlights coaching sackings, player and coaches disagreements, players’ connections and the outside-of-the-game issues the clubs face.

It highlights every area of strategy, company performance and company culture.

In the latest series with Arsenal, here are ten lessons you can take with or without watching it. 

Simple Messages Work Best – often goes unseen is how managers motivate their players and prep them before a game, in all or nothing it really shows how Arsenal manager boils his ideas down simply to help reasonable with the team and motivate them for the match ahead. Arsenal coaching staff place posters throughout their dressing room and rival dressing rooms (on away days) with unity and identity commonly appearing and being referenced by the head coach Arteta. These simple gestures often have a larger long-term impact and something many leaders overlook is the power of a poster to influence their business or their teams. 

Game Management and Tactics – Like all great leaders you have to set your team up for success, whether it is a big campaign or a tough quarter ahead. Arteta shows the players what he expects and how it down to them on the pitch throughout the school. He coaches every moment until the game and very often it is down to the team to respond in the match and own the change of the game, this is similar to how large products and projects go. 

Speak In The Language Your Team Knows Best – Arteta speaks six languages and speaks to his players in their native tongue when English isn’t as strong. This is a way many leaders can speak to their team in the most simple language or the words they speak and clearly understand. It is unusual to think you can speak many languages but using the words and sentiments they understand goes a long way and is something many leaders discount as important. Language and sentiment matter. 

Keep Coaching – Arsenal have a young squad, they have an average team under 25 and is a team that needs to grow together and gain more coaching than many others would in their position. A younger squad was a deliberate tactic deployed by the Arsenal management team, coach the players and adapt them to a style of play (tactical choice for department leads) to build into a successful team in two to three years while connecting with the fan base and introducing different players in the squad to the media. 

You Have To Build Personal Connections – Arsenal manager spots one of his players (who was new with the club) left back Nuno Tavares is quiet and doesn’t provide much feedback to the coaching staff. Often the environment might be right or the players might be introverted, Arteta and his staff single him out individually to try and get more from the player and understand his motivations. Nuno is Portuguese and this season has been sent out on loan to grow his confidence and to see how he fares in France.

Unfortunately, the loan system is not available to most companies however this is something we can do to help to develop our team members by offering them a chance to gain experience and get exposure to different maybe more testing environments with other companies or in other departments. 

Passion – There are many passionate personal stories delivered by the Arsenal head coach (Arteta) that brings the group together and Arteta does this through the docuseries with the players and often when answering questions. Passion is one of the leadership qualities many lacks, alongside storytelling. When you can merge the two together, especially with younger players you will shape a special company. 

A Great Story Works – “a great night” is a powerful story of the team coach meeting his wife and attempting to connect with his players with a story before an important game. Arsenal didn’t win the game but you can see how it brings the team closer together and you can feel something developing between the group.

A great story works, you don’t have to deliver this in person as shown when the head coach is working from home with Covid, but it does prove how important a message and a story work.  

No Me Before We – A star player / employee is not worth the disruption (brilliant jerk), the “star player” breaks trust a number of times and is eventually removed from the squad and then the football club. Often as business leaders, we wait too long or allow behaviours like this to continue too long, even at football clubs they need to speak to HR and lawyers. It is part of the modern world and a lesson to take forward. 

Build For The Long Term (Vision) – Mikel Arteta came under fire for poor performance and a large section of the fan base was not impressed calling for him to be sacked. With parallels to how CEOs come under fire publicly, you must stick to your long-term plan, reiterate your strategy and connect with your biggest critics. Arteta is deliberate in trying to connect his players with the fans and take the responsibility for the blip in form. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Experience In Public – A documentary is a scary thought, it is access behind the scenes and closed doors that will expose your biggest weakness and highlight the flaws within your business. The more positive side highlights the journey you are on, the bond between the teams and the importance of all of the staff and the impact they have from the youngest players to the oldest players.

This is not something you do in big organisations but a fly-on-the-wall documentary might be something that enables change within your business and with your leadership. The best way to improve is to watch yourself and learn from your mistakes. With the cost of technology and the ability to do more with less, is this time for you to consider something similar? Maybe. 

The choice now is which of the 10 lessons are you going to take forward and which are going to be in your leadership arsenal in weeks and months to come.

Essential Resources To Improve Your Leadership

12 Lessons From The “Trillion Dollar Coach” Bill Campbell​

Rethink The Leader – Manager – Coach – Mentor – Operator Dynamic

Fewer Managers, More Coaches & Mentors

10 Good 10 Bad Management Traits Exercise & Framework 

Taking Over From A Bad Manager

Manager Coaching Courses