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Does your business have a clear purpose? | The Melting Pot Newsletter | #91


Has COVID-19 made you re-think everything about your life? There’s no doubt that the period of lockdown has been a reflective time. This applies equally to businesses who are currently re-thinking the way they work. But there’s a danger that, in reacting to disruption, you might lose your original sense of why your company does what it does.

My tailor in Leeds (Michelsberg Tailoring) wrote a great blog recently which really resonated. He talked about how unscrupulous it felt for some companies to say they would adopt remote working forever. In his view, a company, like a family, needs a home. There is no good technological substitute for face-to-face. He talked about how much he loved people. And the fact that his profession puts him into direct contact with other human beings. I feel the same way. In my view, if your purpose is to create a great working environment and culture, this is much harder when everyone’s at home.

It is still rare to find businesses with a strong sense of purpose. Many of the CEOs that I work with struggle to find something meaningful. It’s just not a muscle that they’ve used before. Because they themselves have little experience of working in purpose-led environments, they haven’t really thought about it. But I can tell you, motivating your staff with purpose can transform your culture. I’ve seen this with my own eyes – it was one of the most powerful factors that helped me scale two tech businesses from zero revenue to £30 million in five years. Here’s why.

Running A Business In A Recession with Shannon Byrne Susko

You’ve probably shifted your thinking from ‘how to survive the pandemic’ to ‘how to survive the upcoming recession’. In which case, you don’t want to miss this episode with Shannon Byrne Susko, CEO of Metronome United, serial entrepreneur, author and speaker. 

You may be familiar with Shannon as this isn’t her first time on The Melting Pot; we’ve had her on the podcast before (you can find a link to her previous episode in the links section). We’ve invited Shannon back to discuss what she’s learned over the last few months, to share with our audience what she thinks the future looks like and to find out what she is currently seeing. And what in particular the businesses she’s working with in the US and Canada are doing to ensure they’re not just surviving, but thriving.

“So the number one thing I learned is that a repeatable growth system works in good times and bad times. The same fundamentals, the same things that we want to put in place to grow a company also works when there’s a huge crisis in the market.” 

And that’s what Dom and Shannon discuss today. The topic of conversation has quickly moved beyond ‘how to run a business during lockdown’ to thinking longer-term. Because running a business in a recession is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before unless of course, you’ve run a business in a recession.  

This is a really great conversation with lots of actionable insight, we hope you enjoy as much as we did. 

News From The Farm

News From the Farm

Scaling Up Workshop – Tuesday 23 June 2020

Sooner or later it’s time to climb out of the trenches. Are you ready to roar out of the recession? Last time around only 9% of firms were bigger and more profitable five years after the dip. I can’t tell you that this will be easy. In the recessions of 2001 and 2009, I took the helm to steer two UK firms to £30m in the subsequent five years. 

The CEOs, MDs and business leaders I’ve spoken to recently have all been reassessing their strategy. “We need a new direction and we need it quickly”, many have said. “We need urgent work on our culture and need to get more from less as the team come back to work”. Others asked, “Have I got the right mechanics in place, organisational structure, leadership and metrics to allow me to execute efficiently?”

The tools I used at Rackspace and Peer 1 have proved themselves effective time and again. This workshop is different and rather than a large group of CEOs (20+) gaining a flavour of the tools, this gathering will be more intimate (6), doing a deep dive to solve the most pressing issues.

I expect demand will be high as the first person I mentioned this to said yes immediately. This event is in-person, not virtual. I can accommodate only 6 attendees to ensure social distancing guidelines can be observed. Even with 21 seats available, we have sold out each previous event.

If any of these describe the situation you’re in it’s important you join me:

– We need a new direction and quickly
– We need a plan
– We have the plan but need to execute

At this stage, I feel it best to not sell tickets but only to ask you to express interest in joining me. I will then follow up with you individually. 

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PEPTalks: Map of the Maze is a podcast all about Private Equity Leadership. Each episode we will explore a theme related specifically to Private Equity backed and entrepreneurial companies with a PE backed CEO or subject matter expert.

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This is a time of hurt, pain and frustration. We want to send a simple message to our friends, colleagues, clients and everyone that we’ve come to love so dearly: we stand with you. There is no place for racism, prejudice or hatred in the world — let alone the business world. It is antithetical to the principles of emotional and mental wellbeing that Friday Pulse seeks to uphold. It’s likely you come to this blog because you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your people and sincerely want to help them. You want to make sure they are safe and well. As leaders, it’s your responsibility to ensure the workplace is a refuge of physical and psychological safety.


In Sydney Finkelstein’s classic study of corporate collapses, Why Smart Executives Fail, the evidence that business leaders would have needed to avoid fiasco was available to them in every one of the cases that the author and his team examined. The book was written in 2004, yet the problem it highlights persists. My colleagues and I have spent almost 20 years examining crises, including Hurricane Katrina and the current coronavirus pandemic. In these situations, too, the cracks in organization, system, and community foundations have often been clear to see, if leadership had been looking. But despite warnings, leaders have been unable, or unwilling, to give credence to the risks. They overlooked or ignored them — and the cost of their inaction has been high.


The recent “Open Letter to Business Leaders,” written by three Harvard Business School students and cosigned by 1200+ MBAs and counting, appears to ask the impossible of the Fortune 500 CEOs to whom it is addressed. “Put your employees first now,” it urges. “Retain them, re-deploy them if needed, and most importantly, pay them.”

Recommended Reads


Calling all CEOs, Founders and Managing Partners! Learn valuable scale-up strategies in a brand new book by the UK’s top tech industry business coach, Dominic Monkhouse. Dom has a track record of scaling-up award-winning technology businesses, including two UK based companies from zero revenue to £30 million within five years. Now he is sharing the secrets behind his success in a new book, FREE to all Melting Pot subscribers. The download will be available very soon.  Watch out for your copy! 


Leadership isn’t easy. It takes grit, courage, and vision, among other things, that can be hard to come by on your toughest days. When leaders and aspiring leaders seek out advice, they’re often told to try harder. Dig deeper. Look in the mirror and own your natural-born strengths and fix any real or perceived career-limiting deficiencies. Frances Frei and Anne Morriss offer a different worldview. They argue that this popular leadership advice glosses over the most important thing you do as a leader: build others up. 


Life can be pretty lonely as a CEO, particularly with the challenges you’re facing at the moment. Consider finding a mentor.  Someone who has experience of the difficult decisions you’re trying to take and the problems you’re trying to solve.  Consider ringing up someone you respect and asking them – many would be happy to give back in this way.  

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