You can’t beat a bit of cake!

Cake

Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 – what an amazing night this was. Hundreds of senior Human Resources experts attended the 11th Annual HR Directors Business Summit at the ICC, Birmingham which included guest speakers, presentations and workshops and concluded with a prestigious award ceremony. I took my position on a cosy 3-seater sofa, had the League Cup semi-final between Bradford and Aston Villa on in the background and watched the event unfold from the comfort of my living room courtesy of Twitter!

Bromford were represented at the event by some of my colleagues (so no need for me to FaceTime in my t-shirt and jogging bottoms, thankfully!), as we were shortlisted in the Recruitment and Employee Branding category. Our campaign; #gottalovecake was up against industry giants like McDonalds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Impetus Automotive, tough competition to pitch against but as my colleague Alex Abbotts said:

Alex tweet

Why not?

I know I represent Bromford myself, so some may consider my opinion biased, but our campaign was brilliant! I’m not going to explain all about it here, I’ll leave that to Alex (who heads up our Communications Team) who does it wonderfully in this great post.

Why did it work?

It engaged. It got hold of the end-user in a way like no other campaign before. It didn’t just tell the audience what the job is and how they can apply; it told them why they will want this position with Bromford. It wasn’t all about us, it was about the individual – we just made the right noises to get the campaign out to them – and boy did we make a racket! I watched a really interesting video yesterday from a guy by the name of Simon Sinek (thanks to John & Vicky for sharing this). He talks about ‘The Golden Circle’, something that turns an idea into a social movement – which is what we did thanks to Twitter using a very quirky hashtag, some great advertising and the brains of a very creative team of people.

 Golden Circle

So, for those of you who don’t work at Bromford, who didn’t attend last night’s event or didn’t see the army of tweets that invaded social media late into the evening; I’m pleased to say that Bromford did give me that ‘punch in the air moment’ – the award was ours!

What a magnificent achievement. What a great team. What a great place to work.

Now excuse me whilst I tuck into my slice of award winning cake!

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Think inside the box!

Just recently leadership took on a whole new meaning for me when I realised a certain someone started to watch my every move, they were repeating things I’d say but not always doing as I’d ask of them. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a disruptive colleague – in fact, this person doesn’t even reside in my workplace.

At 08:32 on Monday, 5th July 2010 I became a father to the most beautiful creation on the planet; Jessica Rose. Since taking on this new heir of responsibility I’ve watched with admiration how she has grown and developed over the last couple of years – from drinking that first bottle to taking her first steps; nothing comes close to the sense of pride I get from these milestones – all of which came from the nurturing between my wife Julia and me.

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But, as with all relationships they are a two way thing and I’m learning lots from Jessica as she is from me. There is something we can all learn from the way children think; they know no boundaries. We all share the same stories at Birthdays and at Christmas time when the giving of presents results in a young child being more likely to play with a box than with its contents, but why is this?!?!

Children are not bound to a set of rules that would come with a toy; it goes forward, it goes backwards; this goes here, that goes there; it turns on, it shuts off. A child’s natural inquisitive nature tells them to look at the bigger picture, to take a step back and look at their surroundings. What is it that’s actually before them? That brown cardboard frame that housed the expensive toy you just brought for them is more than just a box; it’s a den, it’s a train; it’s a house; a castle! The toy they have just unwrapped hasn’t gone to waste, they’ve just found a much better way to enjoy it – that we hadn’t thought of!

I recently heard a story how Disney’s Chief Imagineer kept trying to convince a room full of board members how it feels to be close to animals on safari – he was trying to sell an idea to them that would eventually unfold into what we know as Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After a number of failed meetings, unsuccessful presentations and countless heated discussions, he had one final go to convince the jury; he took a tiger into the meeting room!

How could we use this realness principle for our new ideas or service improvements?We all need to get more creative. We need to be radical in our approach. We need to throw out the rulebook. Take down the boundaries. We need to get inside the box!