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Are you open and honest with your teams? | Issue #108


You’re chatting to a member of your team.  During the conversation, you notice they’ve got spinach in their teeth.  What do you do?  Do you mention it immediately?  Or keep quiet?  Seems pretty insignificant but what you decide can tell you a lot about your culture.  If you’ve created an environment where people are open and honest with each other, you won’t hesitate to tell them.  If you haven’t, you need to work on psychological safety.

Why does this matter?  Because it’s the foundation of high-performing teams.  Without psychological safety, there’s no vulnerability.  And without vulnerability, there’s no trust. Numerous studies have demonstrated beyond doubt that psychological safety enables teams to take risks, think creatively and speak up when they don’t agree.  Which are precisely the behaviours you want if you’re looking to scale-up fast and pull ahead of your competition.

How WD40 Company Is Making Life Better with Garry Ridge

Everyone’s heard of WD 40 company – it’s been a dependable staple of every garage and DIYer for over 50 years. The distinctive blue can with its yellow label and red cap has been oiling and lubricating homes across the globe for half a century, creating memories and lasting relationships. 

 But it isn’t the spread of this product that CEO and chair of WD 40 company board, Garry Ridge, is renowned for. Yes, when Garry took over as CEO he transformed the business from an American manufacturer of WD 40, to a global supplier and manufacturer of all things oil and lubricant. But he’s also known for building a workplace that people are queuing up to work for. For bringing out the best in his team. For placing such a high value on core values.  

“I think one of the biggest opportunities we have at the moment is to really get a message across to leaders that it’s all about the people. If we can create environments where people go to work every day, they make a contribution to something bigger than themselves, they learn something new, they feel safe, and they go home happy.”


Dan Harris is a fidgety, skeptical ABC News anchor who had a panic attack live on “Good Morning America,” which led him to try something he always thought was ridiculous: meditation. He went on to write the bestselling book, “10% Happier.” In this podcast, Dan explores happiness (whatever that means) from all angles. Guests include legendary meditation teachers – from the Dalai Lama to Western masters – as well as scientists, and even the odd celebrity. But the show also ventures beyond meditation, bringing on leading researchers in areas such as social anxiety, bias, creativity, productivity, and relationships. The animating insight of this show is that the mind is trainable. This is what science is showing us. Mental traits such as happiness, calm, generosity, compassion, and connection are not hardwired, unalterable factory settings; they are, in fact, skills that can be trained. On this show, you’ll learn how.


The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown performance management systems into chaos – and the reactions have been telling. In March, Facebook announced that it would be giving all 45,000 employees the same “exceeds expectations” performance review rating for the first two quarters. Some companies cancelled their next review cycle altogether. Others are scrambling to explain last-minute changes to their performance measures and reward allocations.


We can’t help ourselves. We all want to know the answers to these two questions: “Are people really working as much at home as they did in the office?” “Can you work from home and be and stay productive?” Despite wanting to give your teams the benefit of the doubt, you’re likely still having trust issues or, perhaps, you’re starting to see mounting evidence of idleness. Whatever the case, right now is the best time to ask these questions. Five in 10 workers say they don’t want to work in an office anymore and your business is likely considering the pros and cons of honoring those wishes. The stigma of remote work is that it inhibits collaboration and productivity, which together may cost companies money.


At home and at work, “busy” culture worsens the problems it promises to solve. It’s natural to assume that the busier we are, the bigger the impact we’ll be able to make — but in reality, studies have shown that busy culture destroys productivity and pulls us away from both our families and deeper relationships with our coworkers.


It’s time to do things differently. Trust your team. Be radically honest. And never, ever try to please your boss. These are some of the ground rules if you work at Netflix. They are part of a unique cultural experiment that explains how the company has transformed itself at lightning speed from a DVD mail order service into a streaming superpower – with 190 million fervent subscribers and a market capitalisation that rivals the likes of Disney. Finally Reed Hastings, Netflix Chairman and CEO, is sharing the secrets that have revolutionised the entertainment and tech industries. With INSEAD business school professor Erin Meyer, he will explore his leadership philosophy – which begins by rejecting the accepted beliefs under which most companies operate – and how it plays out in practice at Netflix. From unlimited holidays to abolishing approvals, Netflix offers a fundamentally different way to run any organisation, one far more in tune with an ever-changing fast-paced world. For anyone interested in creativity, productivity and innovation, the Netflix culture is something close to a holy grail. This book will make it, and its creator, fully accessible for the first time.


The world is awash in bullshit, and we’re drowning in it. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Start-up culture elevates hype to high art. These days, calling bullshit is a noble act. Based on a popular course at the University of Washington, Calling Bullshit gives us the tools to see through the obfuscations, deliberate and careless, that dominate every realm of our lives. In this lively guide, biologist Carl Bergstrom and statistician Jevin West show that calling bullshit is crucial to a properly functioning social group, whether it be a circle of friends, a community of researchers, or the citizens of a nation. Through six rules of thumb, they help us recognize bullshit whenever and wherever we encounter it – even within ourselves – and explain it to a crystal-loving aunt or casually racist grandfather.

News from the farm

Labrador Lying on Floor


We’re delighted to announce that Zara, our chocolate labrador, is pregnant with no fewer than eight pedigree puppies.  They’re due in the next week so we’re preparing for a landslide of cuteness to descend on the Farm.  If you’ve been hankering after a new puppy to keep you company as you work from home, you know who to call!



With Boris’ recent announcement that people should work from home wherever they can, it looks as if remote working is here to stay over the winter.  My experience is that many teams are exhausted. They’re working 12 – 14 hour days with few breaks from the screen. Microsoft have recently added the ability to schedule a ‘virtual commute’ into their Teams software to help maintain some separation between work and home.  Factor this into your diary and use this time to read a book, listen to a podcast or even meditate.  Your well-being is important so make time for it.  It’s too easy to get drawn into the bottomless pit of email or other ‘busy work’. Allowing time for your brain to switch off enables tangential thoughts and creativity. Or just get outside for some fresh air.

Upcoming Events

Megabuyte Virtual CEOSummit 13-15 & 20-22 October 2020

As well as Keynote speeches and panel sessions this CEOSummit also incorporates Q4 Barometer webinars.

Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop, Monkhouse & Company, Salisbury – 3 November 2020

When the going gets tough, attitude trumps everything. Don’t let COVID-19 beat you into the ground and take your business. Treat this pandemic as an accelerator. The “one thing” you’ve been looking for to pivot, re-evaluate or simply get shit done. Join us on our farm in Wiltshire to walk through our Scaling Up growth programme. 

Acetech Summit, Whistler – April 2021 (re-scheduled)

An exclusive annual gathering of high-growth tech CEOs. This powerful three-day summit will transform how you define success and deliver growth in 2020 and beyond.

Quote of the week

‘“Failure of an employee to speak up in a crucial moment cannot be seen. This is true whether that employee is on the front lines of customer service or sitting next to you in the executive board room. And because not offering an idea is an invisible act, it’s hard to engage in real-time course correction. This means that psychologically safe workplaces have a powerful advantage in competitive industries.”

Amy C. Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth.

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