I very rarely spend any time reflecting on how far our business has come or what we’ve achieved. I am far more focused on what we’re doing next and how we can help New Zealand build the best workplaces in the world. However recently, Humankind turned 5, a milestone that felt so far away in the early days.
It’s fair to say we are out of startup mode. We have a great team of people and our early concerns around ‘will people want to buy what we are selling?’ have been reduced by an amazing group of clients.
Although startup mode is hard, being a ‘stayup’ is just as hard if not harder. I have more responsibility than ever, a bigger team, more clients and each decision has a greater impact.
The only thing that has changed is the growing confidence in my own abilities and willingness to trust my instincts, something I wish I had the confidence to do a few years back.
My key learnings have been
Learning never sleeps
Along this journey I have made many mistakes, I have tried so many things that haven’t worked and I’m the first to admit those faults. As cliche as it sounds, without the journey we would not be where we are today. It’s the learnings I’ve taken from those fails that have helped us to grow and improve.
I am now an avid reader, something I thought I would never say. I love seeking inspiration from blogs, podcasts, interesting people and often have multiple business books on the go. The job of building a business is never done, it evolves and shifts in so many directions. Everyday I am learning more about this business and don’t see that stopping anytime soon.
Hire people better than yourself
From our very first consultant in 2012, to our most recent addition, I have always sought to hire people with more experience and skills than me. This has served me very well and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the incredible team of professionals who support me everyday.
I share everything with my team – the highs and lows. Being transparent is really import to Humankind. It’s the backbone of this business and I’m a huge believer in being an open book to help fuel an engaged team.
We share all of our financial information and business progress at our monthly update (except individual salaries, which I am hoping will only be a matter of time). We have also had our accountant come in and talk our team through the numbers to build commercial acumen to support our team to learn how to read financial statements like a business owner.
The benefit is a highly engaged and motivated team who feel real ownership over the outcomes and have a deeper appreciation around the commercial levers which make a services business successful.
Trust your gut
Trusting my instinct was really hard in the early days as I was still learning how to get a business off the ground. But now as the business is performing well, I know that no one understands the business as well as I do. Often it came down to trusting my own gut and backing my own ability.
Humankind is now a team of 29 people working across the country with hundreds of organisations. I am so proud of Humankind, our brand, our clients, our team and our culture. I am excited about 2017 as we continue to build amazing experiences for both clients and employees.
The best is yet to come.