Taking a moment to acknowledge some of the people who have contributed to Let’s Talk Talent’s five-year streak of great projects, great people and great clients
There were times when I didn’t think I would get there, but I’m extremely proud to say that exactly five years ago, I started my dream business.
It’s been so many things wrapped into one; challenging, of course, but also very much fun, joyful, surprising, and filled with so many amazing times. It’s also been the fruit of both a lot of hard work as well as a good amount of luck and serendipity. And whilst most business owners do say this, it’s true that I have learnt a lot. About spreadsheets and profitability models, sure, but really the last five years have taught me to trust my gut and not be afraid to ask for help. And although I have by now become accustomed to the unexpected, the last five years had a definite common thread: great people, kind people, and a lot of good food. Because, looking back, many of the defining moments in Let’s Talk Talent’s history were centered around key connections made during scrummy lunches.
The key thing about defining moments is that we do not know they had such an impact until we think back on them and appreciate the new journey they have launched us on. So I would like to use this opportunity to go through a few of Let’s Talk Talent’s defining moments, and people, because it’s only with hindsight that I can truly understand the importance they had on the growth and development of the business.
When looking back on what helped me get to the five-year mark, I have to start with actually getting the confidence to know I could branch out on my own. My personal coach, Richard Sinclair, played a huge part in helping me believe I could do this and just generally trust my gut. He also helped me formalise the many processes that come with running a business. Years later, Richard is still involved in the company and contributing to many important decisions I have to make on a regular basis. He keeps me grounded, and he is completely different to me in so many ways, which is why it works. I get the benefit of a whole new perspective and a fully transparent business relationship. I trust him entirely and he trusts in me too, personally and in running the business. In short, he tells me the truth, no matter how hard it is. And this has become so important that I made it one of our key values, which I in turn try to apply with every one of our clients.
But once you decide to branch out to follow your own vision and values and bring something different to the world, you have to find people who believe in that vision as much as you do. The first Let’s Talk Talent clients we got helped solidify the business in a financial sense of course. But more than that, they validated that my purpose was shared by others outside the business who cared just as much about people as I do, and thought life is just too short for beige. And it’s always nice to know you’re not crazy right?
I remember this one clear moment where I was sitting on a train going over my presentation for one of my first clients and realised how lucky I was to be doing something I love, that was completely my own doing. And to be able to do that, you need people who buy into what you’re selling. So for their trust and belief in the business and its unique, caring and sometimes unconventional non-beige approach to HR, a huge thank you to Jill Berry, John Athansaiou, Caroline Ross and Andrea Pattico. Many of those great people we still work with today. They have been kind and connected us with new people who have in turn believed in us.
And then once the business got going, it grew. It grew through a weird and wonderful mix of hard work and good luck. This recipe has undoubtedly shaped everything we have done for the last few years. Some good luck just happened, some was generated. Like my encounter with Kursty Groves from Shape Work Life, who I emailed directly after reading a particularly inspiring book she wrote. Press fast-forward and some wonderfully creative work sessions with her have now led to our famous triangle model, which underpins most of our HR strategy work. More than that, she is now a trusted friend.
Whilst that particular collaboration was born out of my efforts to connect with people who inspire me, others were just unexplained good luck that I will always marvel at. Like how a lunch with my friend Tiffany St James reminded me of a common acquaintance of ours. Which led to another business lunch. This time with our now marketing guru Charlie Southwell. This particular defining moment led to another rewarding collaboration, with Charlie now being firmly part of the Let’s Talk Talent family and its growth strategy. The same can be said for finding Claire and Chadi, who deserve a particularly heartfelt thank you for their hard work. Chance encounters at various events, business lunches, amazing connections. And just great people who live and breathe our values and not only get sh*t done but get epic sh*t done.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the past five years and to all those, many of them still working with us today, who believed in Let’s Talk Talent and helped make it something concrete and unique, without compromising my vision. Because to be able to do great work, you need clients who trust you and are open to tearing up the rule book. Two examples of this come to mind: Lorraine Kelly at King’s College London and Kelly Black, who works for City Football Group. They let us come in and challenge them. They were willing to think outside the box and collaborate with us to deliver succession planning and career pathways projects we are still immensely proud of. Those clients and projects have elevated our business and allowed it to become even more creative. They also led to the launch of our first truly virtual services.
If the notions that you should have people around you that are better at certain things than you are, and that we should always be striving to unlock potential in our people are true, then I have certainly succeeded in my business. We can never predict the future but being an eternal optimist I truly believe, as our values say, that the best is yet to come. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter, so thank you again to everyone. I am now signing off from this blog to go to have that long overdue glass of bubbles with my husband. Cheers!
Jo, MD of Let’s Talk Talent