Expert interviews with high achievers and industry experts with practical tools, tips and resources all tied to my purpose to inspire and inform aspiring leaders to unleash their best selves.
Femi (Host): Welcome to the you on Lee’s podcast at Femia Kimmy, the podcast focused on helping you unleash your best personally and professionally. In these sessions, I sit down with some amazing professionals and high achievers and experts in their various fields. And we’ll try to break down, how do you achieve We got, became successful and in doing so, I help you deconstruct some of these practical tools and tips, and hopefully you can run with them. You know what I usually say, I am a believer that done is better than perfect in whatever it is you do. Just start take some of these tips, apply them long with them, and you’d be amazed. How much of an impact it has on you personally. Now this six week session, I have an amazing, amazing guest.
Femi (Host): It’s no secret. A lot of us are working in jobs that sometimes we don’t necessarily love or passionate about, but it pays the bills. But it also makes sense for some of us that we are currently not working in areas that maximize our strengths. But the reality is when you play to your strengths, you are in flow. And when you are in flow, you are the best version of yourself. And when you are the best version of yourself, you are on leashes. And that those are the moments when you can do absolutely anything. And that brings me to today’s guest. When I cover y’all the first time I heard, when I speak, I must say I was captivated. And I was inspired when a is not just one of the world’s leading executive coaches who just works with some of the top fortune 500 teams.
Femi (Host): But it’s also himself been a chairman, a CEO, and an MD of a blue-chip company. When he specializes in delivering unforgettable and unmissable performances, that show precisely how contemporary inspired leadership can electrify an audience to an authentic and powerful, emotional connection. And he does this by drawing on his own personal experiences. Look, guys, if you’re looking for an academic, a clever one who will read out well-crafted speech on the theory about thought leadership, the St. It, because Renee, you’ve got a down to earth experienced coach who has been there and done that, and he’s got the t-shirt and he’s even written a book called spike. That is all about leading the strength-based revolution. It’s not just a business self-help book, it’s a journey of self-discovery, I’ve read it. And I can testify that. It’s a great book when he’s worked with some of the world’s best leaders, prime ministers, like David Cameron, business leaders, like Richard Branson, and even though some Mandela, and he also shares his spiked philosophy, but it was so great to have any Andy session.
Femi (Host): He shared this personal story as a migrant, coming to this country and make it to the United Kingdom and making his own way all the way from Africa who shared some of his tips for how to become the best you can be. And you’d be amazed at some of the really simple things he shares. I left there feeling empowered, changed, and just a bit more clever about how to implement my strengths and make the most of it. Listen, guys, you really want to grab a notepad and listen, and I must say it’s quite an enjoyable session as well. You’d be amazed where at the time or goes, grab a note, grab a drink and enjoy. And hopefully you leave the session feeling just as changed as I did enjoy it. And Renee, thank you for coming. Welcome.
Rene C: So it’s my pleasure. It’s a privilege to be here for me.
Femi (Host): Thank you so much. one of the things that struck me very quickly was when I was reading spike, and to be honest, for a long time, I thought what is spike And it was on the coverage just there, right underneath spike. And I went, Oh, that’s what it means. So, because I had very quickly was you you’re migrant you, at least you, you came to the shores of Britain a while ago. And one of the things you said very quickly was for a lot of us who are migrants, we have this subservient mentality almost because we grew up in a colonial era. And in a way I agree with you, cause it stifled a lot of us. It’s caused us to not become who we really should be or fulfill our best talents. We’ve ended up putting ourselves in boxes. I mean, speak to that a bit. How do you see this I’m sorry.
Rene C: Phenomenal. Like many, many of the immigrants who came from the British empire, my parents were middle-class in Gambia. They grew up being, they would not have known anything, but middle-class the large house sending their kids to the best school. Having some people working, the housekeepers, working the house, et cetera, et cetera. But my father was well-educated and the expectations of his parents were high, but they had a dream. They were the rebellious, younger generation, which we experienced today. They were the generation Z of their era. And they knew that they had been through primary education. They’ve been through secondary education, but Gavin at the time, a nation of 1.5 million people, there were no universities. There was, there was no further education, none whatsoever. So therefore they decided they’re going to pick up everything they’ve got and they’re going to the mother country. But in those days it was seen as the mother country.
Rene C: Oh yeah. It’s it could do wrong. It’s queue headquarters. It was nearly heaven. And if you could summon the means to get there and partake there, be educated, they get a great job that you’d come back as someone extremely special. And their dream was a DSP spirometry that they were going to get their kids educated. They’re going to get them to university and a British university come back to Gambia and you will be the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. And we all have that dream. And even when you go back, I’ve been privileged enough to work right across Africa. And a lot of it is the former British colonies and the French colonies. They’re identical. You go to Zambia, you’ve been to Zimbabwe or you go to Zimbabwe, you’ve been to Botswana. You go to Botswana, you’ve been to Nigeria, you got to Nigeria, been to Ghana and they all have the similar foundations or similar infrastructure.
Rene C: And let me share this, the similar class structure where people love to look down on someone else. There’s always someone beneath you, a card you’re going to, we’re going to sacrifice everything to get you to the best schools and the best education. And we still see this today across Africa, there is nothing wrong with education, but schools don’t teach you everything. University doesn’t teach you everything. There’s a lot more, we can learn along the way. And I’ve always asked the question and I missed the question for you and for your, your listenership, everyone who’s listening online today. How different would the world be If we developed our youngsters to be leaders from an earlier age, not midway through their careers, which is the British market, which is the Western model. You become a senior manager in your forties. You become an executive in your late forties, early fifties.
Rene C: What if we gave the gift of leadership as early as possible in your teens, in your early twenties, what would that do to your career trajectory Well, you know, I’m going to answer the question for you. It changes it from that survey to a high flyer. If you learn how to lead, what’s Africa’s biggest problem today, leadership. And you know, as we sit here today, talking, there is no university on planet earth that provides a degree in leadership. It’s management to go back to your initial question. What got me going I was privileged enough to spend 10 years at marks and Spencer, one of the best of the British firms at the time, they taught me everything about management and nothing about leadership. I then went onto the board of Pepsi and for three years, and they taught me everything about leadership, but nothing about management soft spent my interim life trying to bring those two things together. And I would say, I completely understand the need for management by teaching on the MSC in management at Cass business school, I lecture there on the MSC and management management is where Africans have become obsessed. And it’s not enough on its own. We need leadership. Leadership is something really, really different. And we develop leaders. We train management. Management is IQ. Leadership is EEQ. We think management, we feel leadership.
Rene C: And the bit I’ve been doing for the last 20 years, I’ve been this evangelist for leadership everywhere. I go, especially Africa. And let me be really harsh with clueless, with clueless when it comes to leadership, because we think the answer is in the book. We always choose the cleverest man in the room we do. And one of the leaders now there is, there is good news here. There’s a new generation coming through. Yeah. And this generation, what, what sets them apart is their work. They’ve lived, they’ve studied abroad and they’ve come back home and they’ve come back home with an urgency, with a passion. And they’re seen as quite rebellious. You know, these ones I’m talking about, they’re not going to be denied. They’re going to do things their way, starting businesses. They’re making differences. And you know, what’s really strange. There is to the old traditional practices, the guidance they had from their parents, they’re doing and they’re opportunity seekers. And they’re driving things in a way, and they’re not afraid to grow their own, to employ local people and give them the opportunity. And that interdependency, that trust is the part of leadership I’m talking about.
Femi (Host): It’s interesting. I was on a webinar yesterday for African entrepreneurs, and it was just a big webinar. And they were talking about what the state of the market has to raise funds and FinTech in Africa to about a thousand people. Yes, the day before yesterday, there was a, well, not a webinar by a very senior dignitary from Africa or government, one of Nigeria and States. And he had the, he had the secretary for trade from United Kingdom. he had, secretary for transport. There was only 200 people who joined that webinar. There were both three and the difference was on the one on the one arranged by entrepreneurs. For other people, there was energy. They were very vocal about. We need to solve our own problems. The government can’t do anything for us. You go on the other one, it’s all red tape. And it’s all bullying, bullying processes
Rene C: From a, you make a fantastic point. Now for three, three and a half years, I was a coach to the president of the African development bank out of our big job or the good I can, I can see. He’s brilliant. Brilliant. He used to be the minister for agriculture in Nigeria. Yeah. Yes, he is. What a privilege to work with. One of the best leaders I’ve worked with, I just finished five years coaching the president of the world bank, Jim young, Kim Jim said to me, there’s a brother of mine. You need to go and help London to, traveling from London twice, twice a month to ivory coast to Abidjan is not a bag of laughs. That is not an easy journey. And I was traveling London, Paris, the pleasures of shoulder goal, which is always a nice four or five wait there for five hour.
Rene C: Wait, is that France would then take me into Abidjan. We’d always alive two or three hours late. And I worked there and the intellect in the African development bank is astonishing. The ability to execute is nearly non-existent. That’s your challenge Well, intentioned there to support 55 nations of Africa, they were moving to become increasingly self-funded. So the nations of Africa funding it with some help from some of the Western governments, intellects coming out of every pore of the bank, 200,000 people. And if you can’t get in, unless you’ve got a degree, you can’t be a manager. I’ll let you go to monsters. You can’t be an expert unless you’ve got a PhD. What sort of nonsense is that Does that mean you can build something that’s not mean you can inspire workforce. Does that mean you’re a visionary Does that mean that you can transform the way things are done today No, it does not. And that’s what you saw yesterday. You saw those who were driven by the process and those who just want to make it happen. Yes, yes. And we need to move to the, just want to make it happen.
Speaker 3: Which is interesting because that brings us back to your book, really, which about spike, which is about balancing strengths and weaknesses. It’s knowing who you are, your essence. And I’m interested by spike because I read it and I had to read the stories to understand it. And I’ll make a plug for everyone here now. And we’ll talk about it at the end. The name of the book is spike. What are you great at strengths Positively identified, kickstart excellent. That’s what spike stands for. And I got it off Amazon. It’s not for what you get. It is good value. And I’m reading it. And I thought, I’d just read it for most of my
Rene C: You’re my marketing machine. You’re my agent look.
Speaker 3: I mean, I wouldn’t normally do this, but I read it. And I found it fascinating. I actually found it quite engaged in and the stories because it uses stories. It’s easy to read. And one of the things I should struck by was what you talk about balance, which is we all have our essence, what we’re good at, but what we always don’t is you need to counterbalance it with people. Who’ve got the opposite. Who’ve got the other skill. I mean, tell us a bit more about,
Rene C: This is a great question for him. And he’s going to take us back to where we started. So one of the issues of formal Western education and formal Western businesses is we expect every individual to be good at everything. When you have your school reports from the very early days, every subject, every one you’re marked down on what happens when you get home, you’re going to get blasted. Oh, you got blasted. Yes, you, you, you are. And you’re going to make yourself better at that subject, whether you’re gifted, interested, passionate about it or not geography, chemistry. And that’s how the careers go. You walk into your first big business opportunity. And after a year you get your first formal management appraisal and your appraisal is going to look at all the things you’re good at all the things you’ve done well and all the things you haven’t done so well. And I’ve had them throughout my career. And the obsession is of every business. What You’re not so good at your areas for development. When, when I started my career, they were called weaknesses. Then they became areas for improvement. Then they became errors. But development today, we call them your limitations. What are your limitations Now the obsession of the company. And every appraisal goes, something like this, and you will recognize it readily. You’ve had a really good year. Here are the two or three things you’ve done really well.
Rene C: These are your strengths. Can we park those familiar Can we look at the 123 things You’re not so good at And you haven’t done so well, but when you kind of produce a performance development plan, a personal development plan for the rest of the year where we’re going to focus on the 123 things, you’re not so good at. And we’re going to give you opportunities to improve upon those. You’re going to. So you’re going to come into work everyday and work hard on the things. You’re not so good at everyone. I exaggerate a bit to make the point, but everyone recognizes that conversation is a waste of time, but how different would the world be If it went something like this When I use the two or three things you’re really good at we’re really going to focus on those. But before we do, let’s look at 123 things.
Rene C: You’re not so good at, okay, there are four or five of them that are going to prevent you succeeding in this business. If you don’t pick them up the rest of them, we’re going to work hard to ensure there’s other people within the team who are really good at doing those things. We’re going to give them to them. Now let’s get back to the two or three things that you’re really good at. We want to work with you to make them a limpian standard. We’re going to make them your superpowers because that’s where you’re going to add the most value to the team, to the business. And most of all, to you, and we’ve got something. I call my spike, virtual circle, the things I tend to be good at other things, I tend to enjoy the things I to enjoy other the things I tend to be really good at.
Rene C: So here’s what we do for a career. Go and find your two or three spots. Everyone is brilliant at something. No one is brilliant to everything. It’s not sensible to think you can be good at everything. What is sensible is to have every member of the team being different in each bring different spikes to the team. Sports have sorted this out years ago. There’s a reason as a shooter in netball. There’s a reason why there’s a goalkeeper in football. They don’t play center food. You don’t expect them to score goals. You expect them to save the ball. Why in business then can we not focus on building a team where we expose everyone’s strengths Not their weaknesses. It is complex.
Speaker 3: It’s not, but so now if I come back now, now I’ll say this. We know the board is taking its time, coming around to this way of doing things. So if people like me and everyone else out there, our listeners, how can they identify their gifts And on the phone, start to build on their talent because
Rene C: Ease with consumer ease. And this is where the basis of spike was to explain this, that every single one of us is born with a gift and it’s not applied. It’s not applied learning. It’s not geography. Chemistry. Forget that we learn that I’m going back much younger. Now mums are amazing leaders. Mothers of the lead is the model I’m talking about, where emotional intelligence drives everything. How does mom know that all of her charges are very different How does she know that David’s the one to go and do this activity because he’s really good at it. How does she know that Johnny She’s the one to go and do this other activity Cause she’s really, how does she know How does she know that his spike She knows because she loves you. And she’s taken the time to understand that each one of you are different.
Rene C: You’re just not employee numbers. You’re not job titles. You’re not a rank on the corporate hierarchy. You mean something to her She knows that David has a brilliant memory, forgets nothing. He’s good at following through, he gets the task done. She knows. Johnny is a great starter, upper. She has the big ideas. She can dream she’s has a vision. So she gives her tasks accordingly. I’m not saying anything more different to them. So therefore, step number one for me, you want to know what you’re great at Don’t ask a Cory, go work, go. I’m not someone who has unconditional love for you. Mother, father, sister, brother, aunt niece, nephew, grand, aunt, someone who is invested in wanting to see you succeed. Now they’re not going to use management language. They’re not going to say that you’re a natural born leader. They’re not going to say that you’re really good at doing appraisals.
Rene C: They’re not going to say that. You’re the feedbacking. They’re going to say you’re generous. They’re going to say you’re always there for me. They’re going to say you’re always, you’re the first one to speak up. You’ve always got the big idea. You’ve got eyes in the back of your head. Do you see things happening before anyone’s even anticipated them And it’s your job then is to translate that into what is your spike And the more of those who love you, that you ask, the more you get a cluster of the things you’re good at and believe them. They want the best for you. Don’t deny them because you may not see yourself. You may be the last person to know that you have that gift mirror. Now, now I know what my spikes are. What do I do Identity. I identify opportunities to engage them, to capitalize upon them and to put them on display.
Rene C: Because when people see the things I’m fantastic at what does that do for my career What does that do for my annual appraisal What does that do for my standing, with my team Most of all, what does it do for me I’m doing something I’m competent, confident, and really good at. And if I put myself in a position where I’m doing that every day, guess how I perform at work. Guess what happens to my career aspirations If every day I’m getting up only doing the things I’m brilliant at. You know what we say, do a job that you love. You never work a day in your life. Complex family.
Speaker 3: It’s powerful because I remember my episode, six of my podcast, cause what inspired this for me was I remember it was one of my birthdays and offend from about 20, 30 years ago in boarding school in night. from when I was younger, rang me up and said, Oh, Femi, I saw one of your videos on YouTube. And I’m not surprised because if maybe we’re young, you’ve already got dividedness speaking. So I’m not surprised. And I only just started speaking again after 30 years, about two weeks before. And I went, this is someone who’s known me years ago. And if you mind me of something I’ve loved and what you say, keys into what I tell people is speak to someone who’s known you a long time ago. And they’ll tell you about the things that just came to you naturally, that you used to love to do. And then key into that. I find a way to translate it into the workplace. The challenge is for a lot of us is we do. I know some people who are great party planners at home, but they have no idea how to translate that into a career or how that translate into the workplace.
Rene C: So let me help you. I, this is what I do so simplistically, and please don’t take this as a touch of irony is just a fact. I’ve never looked like I’m the executive coach of the chief executive, but I am. I’ve been privileged enough to do chief executive Barclay’s chief executive ING bank, chief executive Zurich, financial services, chief, you know, you name it, I’ve done them all. I’ve done. The president went back, I’ve done being prime minister of Jamaica. I’ve done the president of Botswana. I’ve earned the spurs, doing the hard yards, all leadership, but there’s one thing I look for and this is what gets me the work. And this is why I stay at the top of my profession. And I’m lucky and I’ll come back to it. Cause I only use my spikes. My team does the rest. I practice what I preach, but I go in and I, so when I worked with Jim young Kim president of the world bank, 16,000 employees around the world, you got to know, you got to have the data.
Rene C: You got to be obsessive about what you’re doing. And I’m going in to look after one of the most powerful men on the planet. Within my first three interactions with him, I’ve worked out what his spikes are and he doesn’t know them. I know he’s a visionary. He can see around corners. He can anticipate events that are coming 10, 15 years time. And he’s usually correct. I know he’s shy. He’s an introvert, but he’s got to engage with world leaders all over the place on a regular basis. He hates it. I can see he doesn’t like confrontation. He likes time on his own to read things through and then prepare himself. And he’s a brilliant orator. He’s an outstanding communicator, but he’s not good at telling people what to do. He lays the vision and wants them to get on with it. He’s a visionary par excellence.
Rene C: He wants to take a bank. The bank into place has never been before. He has one gene in his head that he wants to deliver. He wants to end world poverty. That’s why he wakes up every day. That’s why he breeds, but I’m proud enough to work with him. He’s got 16 direct reports, the illest Fitz you’ve ever seen. Every one of them chosen for their intellect. The team doesn’t work. It’s dysfunctional. They’re siloed. They go off and do what they want. They don’t listen to what he wants to do. It’s my job to change it. And the plan is very simple. I know the two or three things he’s brilliant at. I don’t need to replicate that in the team. It’s all the other things he’s not so good at. I need to get them to do. Now. This is not their subject matter.
Rene C: Expertise stands aside to that. So you will still be the economist. You will still run Africa. You will still run Asia. You will Sue, but now I need some personal attributes from you. The first thing is I need a super manager. I need someone who’s going to get things done. ha you’re chief operating officer and you can’t manage. We need a chief operating officer that can really manage the head of it is a brilliant manager. It took me three months to get her to become the chief operating officer. The CFO is completely dysfunctional. He’s a geek. He’s an expert, works on his own. Doesn’t share information and doesn’t speak in endo meetings and nobody trusts him. We’ve got to make a change. We need someone who’s more gregarious. The numbers are going all over the place. The president is going to be in difficulties. I don’t pull the numbers back in. I don’t just need a numbers person. I need someone who could lead on numbers. Who’s going to communicate numbers. Who’s going to make numbers, the backbone of everything we do without holding people to account without making them feel guilty. So I’m looking for the personality and the capability. Within 14 months, we had six changes and that team went through the roof.
Rene C: The president of the world bank used to walk around the building with three security guards who were armed. That’s how shy he was. That stopped on day three of my engagement. He never used to speak to anyone in the lift. He’s the president of the world bank. He couldn’t do small talk, but he’s two assistants work with the more fantastic a small tool. So they went around with him. So to engage people in the lift and introduce him into the conversation, people have different spikes and you there’s a chapter five in the book is about the most special person. The world called Shalimar Shalimar Ram Jim’s office at the world bank. She’s Puerto Rican. She didn’t believe she was good at anything. She had imposter syndrome. She worked in big organizations ever. And she fixes things. She gets things done. She protected Jim. She was outstanding. But if, when I spoke to her, she thought she was a nobody. She was, she was invisible, but she’d never been included.
Rene C: I got her to write chapter five in the book. It’s an incredible story. At the age of five, she was bilingual. She was speaking Spanish and English and her grandparents of grandmother couldn’t speak English. She used to negotiate the rent, the food. At the age of five, she had a gift. She had spikes. I got her elevated to run the whole office based on a spike. There was nothing she could not get done. And she understood. She knew your intentions. When you opened the door, she was just brilliant. And therefore she was promoted three times within two years to, to wish. Instead of being the most junior in the office, she became the most senior. Why she came in every day, utilizing capitalizing upon the spikes. There are lots of people on this call with hidden gifts and they may not even know them. And they’re trying to live someone else’s dream and their career. Let me liberate. You, find out what your spikes are based your career on that. Nothing will stop you. The only thing that’s going to stop you is you’ve got to identify an environment where your values and the values of the environment have the same, no point doing it after you’ve joined. Oh, they don’t. They don’t include me. They don’t rape me. They don’t involve me to do that homework before, find a position that needs your spikes and you will fly.
Femi (Host): So here’s where you can help us. Cause that is true. But I find when I speak to people about stuff like this, it always comes down to the dollar. Oh, I need a job that pays me in the job that pays me, helped me.
Rene C: And stop there. Pick a job that pays you. Do not complain to me again. Every mentee I have, I have this, this problem. If all your offer is money, I can’t help you. If you’re not prepared to make some sacrifices for the life you want, then I can’t help you. Someone else needs help. You. We’ve all been in that situation where job X pays twice. What job wipeys I know in job X, they see me as a number. I know they’re going to work me really hard. I know no one’s going to bother to learn my first name. I’m going to get little development, but I’m gonna hit the ground running. So I’ve got the skills they need and they’re going to pay me more. I get that. I get that. And for many of us, that’s where our career starts because we have commitments. We’ve got things that we need to pay. But one, when we’re doing that work, let’s have a dream. The dream is I’m going to find myself the financial space to go where I’m really wanted.
Rene C: And you know, this is a true story. The head of race at Barclays, I won’t name him, but a great guy. He’s got a full-time job. He recognized that race was an issue. He recognized that many of his black colleagues weren’t hitting their potential. So he started doing activities on the edge of his desk, trying to give confidence, to run free seminars, to Frank Weber. And I ended up doing a session for them for free, because I believe in what he’s trying to do. And it goes down really well after a year or so. Barclay’s HR notice he’s making a difference and many would say more than the diversity inclusion team are doing. So they’re smart. If someone’s doing a fantastic job and is helping the business, why wouldn’t you engage with them They gave him even more to do, but it was still edge of the desk.
Rene C: He took it on, it was more successful. He had a network that was vibrant. He had a reputation that worked. People believed in him. People trusted him. The more they gave him, the more he did, the more it worked, the more they gave him. The more he did, the more he worked, people want looking at where they employed him. They didn’t look at his day-to-day job. We cause suffering a bit. Cause he was having to work longer and longer hours on the, in what he believed in and where he was making a difference before long, the word got out and some of the rival banks heard about him. You know where I’m going with this. And before they offer him the amazing job fees day to day. But during the interview process, they say to him, we want to formalize your edge of desk activity.
Rene C: We were having challenges around race. We love the fact that the technical stuff you’re doing, but to be honest, the race stuff is where we really need your help. So the conversation he had and this used to go back to your sacrifice. He said, formalize it. Then make it part of my day-to-day. We measure me on the reward and recognize me on it. And they said, you know what, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. So he resigns the backlash of Barclays because what was misinterpreted was, why did he resign Was it, he doesn’t believe in what they’re doing in race, right That’s what came as the backlash because they hadn’t grasped the nettle, the opportunity they had, he’s playing to his spikes and his spike is that he’s authentic. He has a coaching, demeanor. People trust him. They help them. He works hard. And while he does, he’s got a young family. He needs to do both. He needs to be compensated appropriately because he has commitments, but he wants to make a difference. That’s what he really that’s where his heart is. He’s new employees because maybe his role 50 50. And they’re saying to him, and you know what We don’t know which way your career’s going to go, help us choose. We’ll sponsor you. If you want to do race we’ll sponsor. If you want to stay in the technical function, okay
Rene C: Find your spike, embrace your spike and do not be afraid. There’s sacrifice everywhere, but you know what Never lose your dream. Focus on that dream and make it happen. And look, I’ve had to be in a situation where I was doing to get through university. I had to do three jobs. My parents couldn’t afford to pay me to get to university. I was the first in my family to go first to my extended family to go. And you know, three simultaneous jobs university was fantastic because when I went back into, so I had to leave, they said, what I can’t afford it. You know, I can’t afford a job. My parents had gone back to Gambia. I had two brothers to look after I couldn’t afford it. The university gave me an extra year to go and work my nuts off for a year, earned enough money to come back and finish my degree. There is always a way there’s always a way.
Speaker 3: No, that’s true. And I think what I get from that as well is if you still don’t understand, if you’re still putting money above everything, you haven’t got it yet. You haven’t quite figured out that money is not about the money. And it pays off in the long term to focusing a spike,
Rene C: Send me your rights. But you know, that’s a tough message for some people. So I would say, but would say, look, do you know, some of us come from the most humble of origins and we don’t have. So, you know, I was at a dinner party the other day. I was a dinner party in Chizik and everyone’s talking about working from home. And there was two women who were doing the catering to black women, doing the catering Caribbean women. And then the food was just to die for. It was fantastic service, amazing. They would talk to explaining dishes, but most of the guests at the dinner to most of the guests at dinner, they were invisible to me. They they’re part of who I am then where I come from.
Rene C: I don’t want to go back to work. I’m quite fine working from home. Thank you very much, indeed. Well, you would be with your four bedroom house, your study with three PCs and an Apple American, and you’ve got broadband to die for. So just want me to leaving. I said to the team, excuse me, that that was the most amazing meal. Tell me about yourselves. Whereabouts do you live And one of them laughed and said, I wish we had the option to work from home. She said, I have four children, two bedrooms, my call, my fellow guests, their heads sunk. We should never forget to walk into the walk in the shoes of those who are less well off than we are. Okay. And they have to make sacrifices every day. Now I know for some people on this call, they’re the breadwinner. They’ve got to pay the electricity bill.
Rene C: They’ve got to pay to get the kids to school. They’ve got to put food on the table and a job that pays X thousand more than a mother is irresistible. But that doesn’t mean if you take that job, you don’t continue the dream. I’m working on my spikes. I know what I’m going to be really good at some stage of the game. I need to make a sacrifice for myself, my family and my future. You come to a fork in the road, correct Earn that fork in the road, earn that fork in the road to the extra hours. What if you wake up every day with a dream, you know, hope is so much harder than despair. It’s easier to wake up with despair. Keep that dream alive. That’ll fuel you. That’ll oxygenate you. This is what our leaders should be doing. Enabling every one of us to have a dream, help them with that dream. And you know, I spent half my time championing, sponsoring, advocating, opening doors for others. I’m of that vintage. Now that I’ve got a network, I’ve got the dream I’ve I’ve I can do do this stuff. And you know, and I suppose my daughter, my daughter did a PR degree at the London university of it.
Rene C: Okay. All through the summer, the last year, the summer, her and her five friends, they used our house cause it was near to the campus. They used our house in the summer to come and work on the terrorists. We’ve got broadband everywhere. There’s and they did all their coursework. Then it got to the stage where they need to get themselves internships. And I watched this six girls, four of them, young women of color, two of them, white, British, or they were really strong molded team. They worked together. They sent off hundreds and hundreds of applications and letters. Try nothing, nothing. I could feel the desperation. Two of them ended up going back to their countries of birth because they just gave up. They were never going to get the chance here. They went and did internships. One went to Turkey, one went to Italy. They went back and did them in there.
Rene C: Anyway, I whispered to my daughter, one day I said, I don’t wanna make a phone call. I’ve been dreaming of making this phone call for my children. My parents couldn’t do it. I’ve got a network. I can get her internship in 32nd phone call my clients, my colleagues, my friends. I’ve got an international network. I know a bunch of, you probably know more chief executive than probably anyone else in London. She said, what do you mean a phone call I said, well, let me talk to one of my colleagues. I know someone who owns the largest technology PR agency in the world. I know the chief executive dad, you know, giving me the opportunity. I’m going to get it on my own. Please don’t do anything. Leave it to me. I choked. This was one of my dreams. This was what As the son of immigrants, this was what I wanted to do.
Rene C: I wanted to level playing field. I want to make well, I’m going to have the network. She sent off center of center of nothing. I called my friend. His wife was chief executive of text 100. They’re the largest technology PR agency in the world. They’re in 22 countries. They look after Apple, Google. They look after Lenovo. They look after Cisco. They’ve got everyone. And I say to him to think your wife could, get muddled for, in terms of, yeah. Which city does she want What does he want to work Who would have thought we could have had these conversations Anyway, I say London a, but do me a favor. My fingerprints can’t be anywhere around here. Wipe everything clean. The following Monday, the phone rings. We’re sitting there having breakfast and the phone rings and the daughter answers. It answers the phone. And this is, she puts funny shit down.
Rene C: I gotta, I gotta fly. Someone’s had an intern dropout in Holborn. They’re called text 100. They want me for an interview. Now, now within the next hour, bang, she’s gone. I’m sitting there biting my lip, sitting on my hands. And so I’ve got to play as though I know nothing about it. She came and said, dad, you’ll never believe it. They, they, they said that I’m on their shortlist. They really liked me. They’ve got another person to see. I’ve got a real chance of getting the on Friday. She gets called for another interview. She goes for the interview. She comes back. She gets the job. She’s an intern. I’m acting like I know nothing. They take her on. They pay her nothing. She works for six weeks, really long hours working weekends. And I’m wondering whether my I’ve messed this all up, but she’s loving it.
Rene C: After six weeks, they say to want to give you an extra six weeks. We’re going to pay. After three months, they ask for her to stay for another six months and pay her. They guarantee her a job after he finishes her last year of university. I say nothing. I am taking the secret to the grave with me. She finished his university. I say to her, so texts 100. She said, no, no, dad, I’ve done that. I’ve had that experience. I want to go and find somewhere else on my own. I said, but they’ve offered you a job. You’re dead. But I’ve had that experience. I want to experience some, something else, something different. I still want to do. I want to do something different. Now the moral of that story, she is the daughter. I want her to be.
Rene C: But where we started this, I have the dreams of the colonialist. It’s up to me to fix what my daughter does. No, it’s not. I’m chief supporting actor. I’ve got to create the environment where she has the confidence to be who she wants to be. I’ve got to provide her with the resources so she can do what she wants to do. The fact that I had to make the initial phone call. She shouldn’t be aware of that because that gives her a culture of entitlement. I’ve got to be careful. We lost our mother many, many years ago. So dad’s bringing up the kids on his own. And I’m having to learn how to do some things that maybe with my wife, it would have done it differently. We his own together. But when I sat back into it, my friends who say to me, don’t be frustrated. You should be proud of her. You’ve given her the conditions for confidence to back herself, to stick to a dream and do what’s right. That’s a long winded story for me, but I hope it makes sense for today.
Speaker 3: It does. You said something, which you said something about change. And I want to come back to this cause we’re in 2021, the world is what it is with the pandemic and everything. And in your book, you talk a lot about change can be hard on hope. Now, a lot of us are hopeful. We came into the year feeling hopeful, but this darn pandemic has still made things really tough. And I’d like you to just give a word of a code. I read to kind of speak to people, help them figure out how to find a way to this pandemic because the change is real. I mean, for some of us, whether we’re home or work from home, you said it, but there’s some people who are genuinely impacted by this. How do people that mentally,
Speaker 4: How do they just work their way through this
Rene C: So look, this is a great question. And let’s get to the map of this. What the pandemic has done. It has looked at the it’s raised the underskirts of our society. And we’re seeing now in sharp relief and very acutely, those who have been marginalized, those who are underprivileged, those who have put a brave face on every day and gone into work and done Watson be needed to done with no recognition and little reward. We know that many key workers, they don’t have the option of working for them. They have to go in every day, no matter what the elements, they don’t massively recognize. They’re not massively rewarded. We saw the clapping for the NHS capping for our heroes. That was a beginning of an understanding, but that doesn’t help them more than recognition. So the bit IC, at least when I go into work, I’ve got some colleagues were in a similar boat and we’re looking out for each other, but sometimes I’m isolated at home.
Rene C: Now I’m not able to mix with anyone, but anyone over the troubles. I see, look at the environment. I’m having to work in to make this work. I’m having to log on to zoom at eight 30 in the morning, but I feel too guilty to even go and have a coffee. I’m stuck on zoom all the way through to sometimes eight 30 at night. I’m not sure this was a life I signed up for. Does anyone know that I’m struggling I’m fighting this. I’m getting anxiety. I’m feeling isolated. I’m feeling depressed. I find it really hard to wake up, to do another full zoom day. So here’s what I’m advising my clients to do. Look out for each other. Look out for each other, look out for each other because each other and that phone call with no agenda, no to-do list, not progress. Chasing of calling out for one of my colleagues of color for one of my friends.
Rene C: I’ve to one of my family just to ensure they’re okay. And I’m just going to have a five minute chat with you about anything and nothing and everything. But I want you to know that I’m there. I want you to know that I care. I want you to know that. Should you get lonely isolated, text me. I’m there for you or call you. We live on a road with several houses on the terrace. And because of where we live, all my neighbors are Jewish. We’re the only non Jewish family. And they have a very, very different strains of, from Orthodox to unorthodox, to fully Orthodox South African Jew, Nigerian Jew, British Jew, Turkish Jews, strangely, none of them speak to each other, but they will speak to me and my kids. So a couple of them have no next of kin, our job has been to ensure that we knock the doors because of social distance in where I have to talk to a couple of them through the door. But I just want to know that I’m there. I just want them to know that someone cares. I just want them to know that should anything happen. I’m just there. It’s not much, but it’s something. If every single one of us took a moment just to look out for someone. Look after someone, we changed the game. So cam
Speaker 3: Care about focusing on others
Rene C: Fairy, you know, where we, where we were born, where we come from. Yeah. It could never be lonely. No, you just couldn’t. You couldn’t define that loneliness in the atmosphere and the environments and the neighborhoods and the culture that we grew up in people in and out of each other’s houses every day, people are talking to each other’s kids everyday. That’s not the culture we have. So we have to go out of our way. And I implore everyone. I bet every look out for someone to look after someone, we change the dynamic and we can do that, but it doesn’t need rocket science. It doesn’t need a grant. It just needs us. Fantastic.
Speaker 3: It’s really around. It’s not about you. It’s about others. Love others. Care about others.
Rene C: My children. Yes. Yes, sir.
Speaker 3: There’s one more thing before I let you go. I was reading through the book and want to think you said was because you work around dignitaries, high achievers. And for a lot of us, we get to come. When that moment, that moment we stand before Kings that moment where we all have a chance to impress, to take the next level in our career, we stand before CEOs or whoever and managing yourself, your demeanor. And it’s very important. One thing you said was you saw them as a person, a compassionate person, and that helps you manage them and you don’t get overlord. I mean, talk to us a bit about how we ourselves, when we get around people who are high achievers and we have a chance to pitch ourselves and just show our spikes and tell them about our spikes, how do we manage that moment
Rene C: Is this a great question and insightful question. I think step number one, know who you are is a bit more than your spikes. It’s not who you are. There was a time when we would be trained to be this particular person in front of leaders, influential people, you would change what you wore. You’d have a different haircut. You’d use different words that you didn’t like. That doesn’t work. You need to be the best you that you can be, the authentic you and no one plays you better than you. So play you. Amen. But put the best you, you can find on display. So for me, I realized that when opportunities present themselves, I’m just going to play to my spikes and look, I’ve had 20 odd performance appraisals in my career. It’s hard to argue when they all say the three spikes I’ve had from day one. They’ve always been the same damn thing, no matter what I try and do. And I’ve got to where I try and shift it over the year, they find the three same things. It’s hard for me to argue at some stage of the game, I better start believing them.
Rene C: And the first thing first spike is he couldn’t do the big picture. He’s really good at the visionary piece, the big picture he can communicate the bit. He’s the best communicator on the team. He’s by far the most enthusiastic and passionate on the team. They’re my three spikes. The big picture could communicate and the most passionate and penetrate on the team. So when I left corporate life in 2000, I was on the board of IPC magazines. We did a management buyout, but 10 of us on the board, we bought the business, sold the business three and half years later. And I retired, allegedly, allegedly lost it a week before my wife threw me out to get back to work and I needed to find a role that could capitalize upon those three spikes. The big picture communicate energize as part of my deal to leave IPC magazines.
Rene C: The chairman wanted me to stay for a year to a year, has gardening leave and I wanted six months to leave. So we cut a deal. He said he had a lot of external talks to do if, and I’ve wrote this story in spikes. If I was prepared to do those talks for him, he’d cut my gardening. Leave to six months. I could go and work including the competition. The big thing was if I needed more material for the competition so I could leave in six months. So I started doing the talks. What is it The big talks needed. The big picture, communicate a bit and to be really, really passionate and enthusiastic. I found I could do them without rehearsal. They played to my strengths and it was the platform I’d been looking for. It was just natural and I don’t have to memorize.
Rene C: I just know it. I, it just came to me and I just hit, I didn’t hit the ground running. I was Usain bolt. I, there was nothing I could not do in front of an audience, but I never for once realized you could be paid for doing when I got my first paid gig for doing the three things I do best, I then realized if I want to make this a career, I better put a team around me. They need to do all the things. I’m not so good at all. The things that are painstaking need someone who’s really careful need someone. Who’s great with the numbers. Need someone who’s following through with someone who’s going to do the preparation of someone who’s going to do the digital. So my team do all of that in every single day of my life. I wake up to do the three things on brilliant.
Rene C: I’m useless at so many other things. But when I walk into the executive suite, I’m going to coach a chief executive. There’s three things I better be good at. And I am anything else. I take my team members with me and they do it. Yeah. I’m the living spike am. I remember the last bit of feedback I got from my chief executive at Pepsi. He said, you’re now at the stage where you need to focus on making your spikes spike here. Wow. So take them fine. Tune them. Don’t go and try and fix the things. You’re not go. You’ve got them to a level where they’re okay. Now focus, focus, focus. I don’t take on a job that doesn’t play to my spikes. I just won’t. If it plays to my spice, I don’t. Whenever there’s a tender, I’ve come up against McKinsey. Accenture. I never lose them. I’m never losing because I’m putting my three spikes on display. It feels good to do the things every day. That you’re brilliant, man. It feels good to not have to taste failure. It feels good to be at the top of my profession every day, but I made the sacrifice. I made the choice. You used the word balance. I’d use a different word. I don’t balance my weaknesses with my strengths. My team compensate my weaknesses every single day without fail. I do the three things I know I do brilliantly. My areas of development, my areas for improvement, my limitations, my team to those up every day
Speaker 3: And spike. So you’ve got spikes.
Rene C: You’ve mailed it. They eat those up every day because they’re brilliant at it. Guess how my team operates. And as I say, great players, don’t win trophies, great teams, win trophies, join a team that needs you. Not once needs you move, you need. And then you do the one. So, you know, and I quote Kipling. The date of lone bulls are over. The strength of the pack is the Wolf. And the strength of the Wolf is the pack.
Speaker 3: That’s fantastic. What a way to end this. I was going to ask you one more question. if you were to what book do you give people the most or what book to end on a light note Or what book do you, what’s the one book you would say, guys, go out there other than spike, go out there and read that for you. Depending on jobs helped. What gifts would you give someone
Rene C: Simple, simple, simple. The one minute manager. You’ll read it in 20 minutes, transformational transformation. And it’s just, you’ll pick up every one of you pick up five or six things that would change your life forever. Incredible.
Femi (Host): I recommend that Ken Blanchard, the one minute manager,
Rene C: Kim has been a friend for years and Spencer Johnson’s been a friend for years was the late Spencer, but fabulous. It is the book that made it clear for so many of us set us all on the path.
Femi (Host): Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming over today. any anyway,
Rene C: Pleasure and look to all of your guys. Look, there’s a great Zambian. Quotation. The candle loses nothing when it lights another candle. Okay, good leaders create followers, great leaders create leaders. The role of everyone on this call, you can be a leader today. It’s an attitude. It’s a mindset. It’s a behavior. It’s not a set of skills. It’s a mindset. Your step number one. Think of the model I’ve spoken to you about is mothers at home. They’re the best leaders we’ve ever seen. They have no job title. They have not been to university to learn those skills, but that emotional intelligence that knowing who is good at what, and making everyone feel trusted, everyone feels empowered. Everyone. Part of something special is what we’re talking about. And the final piece of candle lose nothing by lighting another candle, look out for each other because to each other, look out for each other because each other, we change the world to a better place.
Femi (Host): Hey man, thank you so much for any for coming on board. It’s been an absolute, absolute pleasure. I am going to start working hard to get you on here. Again, just to download some more wisdom and greatness, but it’s been such a pleasure to leave everyone with a clear idea of how to unleash your spikes and become your best. You are making a life where you can look back and say, I Mt. Diversal. I was the best I could be. Cause I looked out for others. I knew my strengths and I complimented myself with others who knew their strengths. Get on least, stay on them.